January 16, 2014 00:00 By WATCHIRANONT THONGTEP
NATION MULTIMEDIA GROUP (NMG) has earmarked more than Bt4.18 billion for its two new digital television channels, for licensing and operational costs, forecasting that Nation TV will see a profit in the first year of operation while Now Channel will do so
Two NMG subsidiaries were successful in the recent spectrum auction of 24 commercial digital terrestrial-TV licences. NBC Next Vision grabbed a 15-year licence for a news channel, and Bangkok Business Broadcasting won another 15-year licence for a variety channel.
Of the total investment, Bt2.35 billion will be allocated for Now, a digital variety channel in standard definition. The company will use Bt2.2 billion of this to pay the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) for the licence, while the rest will go for purchasing new equipment and studios.
Bangkok Business Broadcasting will operate Now Channel under the “Biz Life Variety” concept. The channel will be aimed at an urban mass audience. Under the company’s digital-TV strategic plan, NBC Next Vision is transforming Nation Channel –currently run on the satellite platform – into Nation TV, with the aim of providing the best in news reporting and in-depth analysis. NMG has budgeted Bt1.538 billion for this news channel, including Bt1.338 billion for the NBTC licence.
Though the prices bid for the two channels appear high, the company will be able to pay under a six-year instalment plan. Now Channel will pay only Bt372 million in the first year, Bt296 in the second, Bt402 million in the third and fourth years and Bt364 million for the fifth and sixth years.
NMG president Duangkamol Chotana, who is responsible for Now Channel, said yesterday that the company expected to see profits on Bt904-million revenue in the third year of operation.
Adisak Limprungpatanakij, president of Nation Broadcasting Corporation, said Nation TV would see profits in the first operational year on a conservative revenue target of Bt729 million.
Vice chairman Sermsin Samalapa said the investment in the two digital channels would be worth the cost, as the TV industry was expected to remain prosperous for the next decade.
Though Nation Kids failed to win a licence at the auction, the company will produce children’s and family programmes for both Nation TV and Now Channel under its recently raised capital of Bt300 million. It is also looking at supplying content to other TV broadcasters that will run family and children’s channels on the new digital terrestrial platform.
With its new digital-TV licences, NMG has set its sights on becoming the country’s most comprehensive media powerhouse.
“Having Nation TV as a news channel and Now TV as a variety channel, NMG will reach at least 16 million viewers along with its 7.5 million newspaper and magazine readers, 1.3 million Facebook fans, 4 million YouTube subscribers and 800,000 mobile-application users,” chairman Suthichai Yoon said.
This will encourage existing clients to continue advertising on the new channels while attracting new small and medium-sized customers, he added.