January 30, 2014 00:00 By WATCHIRANONT THONGTHEP
AHEAD OF THE onslaught of digital free TV, Nation Multimedia Group has devised a strategy to ensure its success as one of the country's foremost broadcasters.
“This is a big change in the media landscape. We have been waiting for this media liberalisation for more than a decade. We are also ready for this challenge,” Thepchai Yong, editor-in-chief of NMG, said yesterday.
Despite fierce competition both direct and indirect, transitioning to the era of digital terrestrial television was a very meaningful development for the group amid the recession in the publishing and printed-media market, he said.
Two NMG subsidiaries were successful in the recent spectrum auction of 24 commercial digital terrestrial-TV licences. NBC Next Vision landed a 15-year licence for a news channel and Bangkok Business Broadcasting bagged a 15-year licence for a variety channel.
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.
Bangkok Business Broadcasting will operate the NOW channel under the “Biz Life Variety” concept. The channel will be aimed at the urban mass audience.
To ensure that those digital TV channels respond to viewers’ needs and advertisers’ demands, the company had to prepare news talent, great content, an international network and a new media strategy thoroughly.
Long experience in news industry
Established in 1972, NMG has built its media empire with newspapers, radio stations, online information services, and satellite TV and broadcasting.
NMG was the country’s first newspaper operator to diversify into the broadcasting business as a co-founder of iTV (Independent Television) in 1996. After that, the company decided to create its own 24-hour news station, called Nation TV, as a subscription-based service. Once satellite TV reached a wider audience, Nation TV was renamed to Nation Channel, which is available for both cable and satellite TV viewers. With a strong content base in the news industry driven by three flagship newspapers, NMG can utilise its huge news library for its media channels and platforms.
The Nation is an English-language daily newspaper, Krungthep Turakij is a top Thai-language daily business newspaper, and Kom Chad Luek is a leading Thai-language daily general newspaper.
Nation Convergence newsroom
To prepare for the sweeping change in the media landscape, the establishment of the Nation Convergence Newsroom last year was key.
The Nation Convergence Newsroom is meant to be a platform to reduce the burden in working on and managing daily news content across platforms. Editorial teams from the newspaper, radio and television units share and brainstorm ideas and content in this newsroom every day. This also helps NMG create comprehensive news reports and in-depth analysis.
International media links
“Our flagship The Nation newspaper is a member of Asia News Network, so we have friends across Asia in order to enhance and improve news coverage of Asian affairs, to provide reliable access to news sources and to help promote professional development,” Thepchai said.
Reporting and covering national current affairs is not enough for today’s news consumers. Gaining a better understanding of economic, political, social and cultural stories from Asia is very important, too, particularly stories in Asean countries once the Asean Economic Community goes into full effect next year.
With these international media links, both Nation TV and NOW expect to serve their viewers in different meaningful ways.
Most comprehensive media
The two new digital-TV channels will complete NMG’s mission as 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.
This will encourage existing clients to continue advertising on the new channels while attracting new small and medium-sized customers.