In preparation for expected intense competition in broadband television, True Corp is planning to relaunch its Internet protocol TV (IPTV) service after its rival Advanced Info Service (AIS), which recently secured some HBO premium channels, began eyeing this business.
Meanwhile, a member of the broadcasting committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) said her consumer-rights sub-panel was keeping a close eye on IPTV business after AIS jumped on the bandwagon.
Suphakit Vuntanadit, deputy commercial officer of True Corp, said yesterday that his company was planning to reintroduce the IPTV service called “True TV”, which would be available via an Android smart box connected to the Internet, requiring a minimum speed of 15 megabits per second.
He said True hoped the IPTV service would appeal to younger customers as an alternative to traditional pay-TV offerings via cable and satellite receivers. Using True’s advanced broadband network, True TV would be able to provide a fast and seamless viewing experience.
The relaunched True TV began a trial run a few months ago, offering a variety of content including movies, sport and music programmes.
True Corp originally introduced an IPTV service back in 2008, aiming to become a media-convergence empire operating telecommunication and subscription-based television services. However, because of low Internet penetration at that time, the service was put on hold.
The recent move by True Corp came after AIS announced it would be offering premium content from Singapore-based HBO Asia and other international distributors via its own IPTV and video-on-demand services.
AIS recently secured the broadcasting rights to HBO Asia’s premium movie channels and other top-rated pay-TV channels from Fox Network Group Asia after TrueVisions dropped six HBO movie channels on January 1. TrueVisions is also planning to cancel 11 more channels including National Geographic, BBC Entertainment, Discovery Science and MUTV.
AIS will offer the HBO channels via its AIS Playbox IPTV service, Google Chromecast and AIS Play mobile application. The company targets doubling the number of monthly AIS Play viewers this year from 1.5 million a month last year. It also expects to have a million subscribers to AIS Playbox by the end of this year, up from the current 300,000.
After the cancellation of the six HBO movie channels by TrueVisions early this year, the NBTC reported that hundreds of pay-TV subscribers were affected.
As head of the NBTC’s subcommittee on consumer-rights protection, NBTC member Supinya Klangnarong invited top TrueVisions executives to discuss remedies after a previous plan proposed by the pay-TV giant failed to satisfy her team.
Previously, TrueVisions insisted that under the first remedial package, compensation for its affected customers was already sufficient. But Supinya and some customers wanted TrueVisions to do more, such as fee reductions or refunds.
As for IPTV, Supinya said such services were governed by broadcasting regulations. Therefore, she would keep a close watch on this kind of emerging business.
So far, the NBTC has issued around 10 IPTV licences.