THE COMBINED audience of the new digital-television channels exceeded the total viewer base of incumbent free TV stations last month, according to the latest data from Nielsen Thailand.
Analog-based free-to-air TV stations including Channel 3, TV5, Channel 7, Modernine TV, NBT and Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) lost some of their audience base to new players in the digital terrestrial TV business.
As of last month, the audience share of analog TV stations slid below 50 per cent, from more than half in June. Meanwhile, the audience share of the 19 new digital TV channels rose to more than half of total households.
Those figures were based on nationwide TV ratings among viewers over 15 years of age.
This marked a significant development in the TV industry after digital broadcasting was introduced in the country three years ago.
Nielsen said Channel 7, which is run by Bangkok Broadcasting and Television, remained the largest player in terms of audience share with 26.51 per cent, followed by Channel 3 operated by Bangkok Entertainment Co with 19.03 per cent.
Workpoint TV, which is under the new terrestrial-based digital system, was ranked No 3 with a 10.38-per-cent share, followed by Mono 29 with 7.99 per cent, One31 with 6.45 per cent and Channel 8 with 6.08 per cent.
This reflected intense competition in the Bt80-billion TV broadcasting industry while some major advertisers were allocating their budgets to new outlets such as social and online media.
In this tough situation, in the first eight months, Channel 3’s ratings fell by 23 per cent from the same period last year, while Channel 7 dropped by 9 per cent.
In the meantime, some of the new digital channels were enjoying healthy growth. For example, the ratings of One31, run by music and entertainment giant GMM Grammy, soared by almost 100 per cent, while Mono 29 enjoyed 39-per-cent growth and Workpoint TV 25 per cent.
However, digital Channel 8, operated by entertainment company RS, saw its rating go up by just 1 per cent in the first eight months. RS chief operating officer Pornpan Techarungchaikul said yesterday that her strategy for the remaining months would be to put more emphasis on news programmes.
Under this strategy, more news personalities will be invited to join the Channel 8 team to expand its economic news, hot entertainment news, general news and its already strong sports news throughout the day.
“Khao Den Thiang” will run daily from noon to 1pm, “Khui Khao Yen” on weekdays from 4.30pm-6pm and weekends from 5pm-6pm, and “Khao Den Rob Wan” on Monday to Thursday from 9.09pm-9.45pm and on Fridays from 10.45pm-11.15pm.
A new variety programme has been introduced, “Sadud Khao Ded”, which is a light-hearted show covering local and international politics, sports, and regional news.