January 30, 2013 00:00 By Watchiranont Thongtep
Leading music and entertainment giant RS is keen on bidding for the media rights to the Thailand Premier League (TPL) for the coming three soccer seasons, and this is expected to result in more intense competition for the broadcast rights.
“The Thailand Premier League is one of top three soccer leagues that the company wishes to secure, behind the English Premier League and Spain’s La Liga,” Surachai Chetchotisak, RS president and chief executive officer, said yesterday.
Currently RS holds audio-visual broadcasting rights to the 20th Fifa World Cup, which is scheduled to take place in Brazil from June 12 to July 13, 2014, and rights to televise three La Liga seasons beginning with 2012-13.
Surachai stressed that RS was financially ready for the TPL bid as its available cash flow amounted to Bt300 million.
Chief operating officer Pornpan Techarungchaikul said: “In fact, under our investment policy, we plan to use cash flow along with bank loans to spread risk.”
Thailand’s primary soccer competition normally runs from March to October, with teams playing 34 games each, totalling 306 matches in the season. Currently TrueVisions, the country’s largest subscription-based television operator, has the broadcasting rights until the 2014 season.
It appears that the competition for the broadcasting rights for coming TPL seasons will be high, as music and entertainment giant GMM Grammy and Cable Thai Holdings also aim to acquire them after TrueVisions’ contract with the Football Association of Thailand under the Patronage of His Majesty the King ends next year.
RS aims to use sports programmes to strengthen its pay-TV service and attract subscribers after the service is officially launched in August.
Pornpan said that by airing the 2013-14 La Liga season on its Sunbox set-top boxes, the company targeted 400,000 subscribers in the season. This new service could generate income of Bt480 million per season.
Chief financial officer Dam Nana said the company targeted 41-per-cent growth in revenue to Bt4 billion from last year, a 30-year high for company, adding that satellite TV would be a key driver for RS thanks to its increasing penetration in the Kingdom.
Surachai forecast that there was more room to grow in the satellite TV business in the next three years. Last year, cable and satellite TV reached 63 per cent of Thailand’s 22 million households, and the penetration rate is expected to hit 78 per cent by the end of this year. Advertising expenditure via satellite TV would also see 50-per-cent growth from last year.
Given these factors, RS expects remarkable growth in its media business. Of its total income this year, about 50 per cent will come from media business, 20 per cent from music, 20 per cent from show business and 10 per cent from other sources.
Early this month, the company raised its average advertising fees by almost 100 per cent on its satellite TV channels, namely Channel 8, Sabaidee TV, You Channel and Star Max. The company also plans to relaunch and rename RS Sport La Liga channel to Sun Channel in March.
Given the changes in free-to-air satellite TV business, the company expects Bt1.33 billion in revenue this year. Channel 8 will contribute at least Bt550 million, followed by Bt460 million from Sabaidee TV, Bt120 million from You Channel, Bt100 million from Star Max and Bt100 million from Sun Channel.
Revenue from music business this year is expected to see stagnant growth with Bt840 million in revenue.
For show business, RS this year plans to hold more than four big concerts with targeted revenue of Bt780 million.