GMM Grammy will have full programming for its two digital television channels in place by the fourth quarter.
Its high-definition channel One HD was kicked off last month, while its standard-definition variety channel BIG will debut on May 23. Both target a mass audience and urban people.
GMM secured a licence for the HD channel for Bt3.32 billion and the SD channel licence for Bt2.29 billion at the auction of 24 commercial terrestrial digital TV channel licences last December.
GMM chairman Paiboon Damrongchaitham said the company’s planned investment in the HD channel was Bt2 billion per year, including fixed costs, broadcasting network rental, annual licence fee, and production expenses. The investment in the SD channel will be Bt1 billion a year. The company will keep adding new programmes to both channels throughout this year.
He believes that the competition in the digital TV business will become fierce early next year.
He said GMM’s launch of the two digital TV channels was a milestone for the company, which marked its 30th anniversary this year. The revenue contribution from media business including digital and satellite TV and radio this year is expected to increase to 60-70 per cent, while that from music would decline accordingly. At present the revenue contribution from the two sources is about even.
Paiboon said the digital TV business would experience losses in the initial phase, but the company would try to eliminate losses from this business next year. The chance of starting to make money is high as the TV sector sees advertising revenue of Bt70 billion per year.
Last year, GMM’s operating revenue was Bt11.004 billion, down 6 per cent from 2012, and net loss for the period was Bt1.283 billion, due partially to the investment in the GMM Z satellite TV broadcasting platform and the purchase of broadcasting rights for pay-TV content. Paiboon said the company would try to reduce the losses of GMM Z next year.