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The arrival of digital TV spurs comment on social media

Yesterday was the first day digital TV officially went to air, after a test run since the beginning of this month.

The newness of digital TV, the excitement of the audience and the desire to promote the new TV channels has contributed to its liveliness and moves on social media.

As media academic Mana Treelayapewat (@Dr_Mana on Twitter), points out, the Digital TV "war" is not limited to competition in terms of the format and content of the media - but being waged on a "second screen" that tries to draw audience participation.

"Thai Rath TV's strategy is Connected TV while Nation [Multimedia] Group uses Social TV," he wrote.

"Although the wording is different, the meaning is similar. That is connecting TV and other media platforms."

Another academic, Sakulsri Srisaracam (aka @iamsakulsri on Twitter), talked about the new trend that is trans-media story-telling, not just multi-platform.

She explained that the content of the latter in different media was different and complements each other.

She said following different forms of media then gave the audience different information and if the audience followed all forms of media, they would see the big picture. Meanwhile, multi-platform was only a redistribution of the same content via different media.

@LekAsina said that social media users were not only provided breaking news but more live tweets and live broadcasts, which they might follow through smart phones or tablet PCs.

Veteran journalist Pattanadesh Asasappakij queried whether more TV channels and the new technology would bring more choices as well as anything new for the audience.

@9tana posted that no matter how good the programmes on digital TV are, people will finally turn to watch them retroactively on YouTube as they don't have time to sit in front of TV.

That might be why Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva (@Abhisit_DP), who announced on Wednesday he would propose a solution for the political impasse, and chose to do this as a video on YouTube.

United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship secretary-general Nuttawut Saikuar reacted by launching a video clip also. The idea led to a contest suggested by Panthongtae "Oak" Shinawatra, who invited people on Facebook to dress up and send videos proposing solutions to the political crisis, just as Abhisit did.

Competitiveness following digital TV will surely benefit the audience. However, media professionals must keep in mind that what was discussed and what happened in social media this week reflects the nature of media consumers nowadays - come fast, go fast.

All the media - professional, conventional and social media users - have to find ways to attract an audience whose attention on a topic lasts only a short time.

On Monday and Tuesday, Thai and foreign social media users' timelines were flooded with comments, pictures and stories of Manchester United manager David Moyes being sacked. However, the topic died very fast.

But many people are still thinking of the victims and their families linked to the missing Malaysia Airlines flights MH370 flight and the South Korean Sewol ferry disaster.

For the latter, many social media users are still inviting others to change their profile picture to a yellow ribbon as a sign of support.

During this time, many television channels promote their work spectacularly.

Nation Multimedia Group chairman Suthichai Yoon told the staff of Nation TV and NOW, the group's two digital TV channels, to keep in mind they must attract an audience with a content-led approach and professionalism.

Many of the players in this "digital TV war" would agree with this comment.

"This is not a sprint, but it's a marathon," Suthichai said.


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