Update ข่าวทีวีดิจิตอล

BEC WORLD aiming for 1-2 variety licences: Pravit

Usanee Mongkolporn
The Nation July 8, 2013 1:00 am

If BEC World wins commercial terrestrial digital TV licences in the upcoming auction, it could broaden its mass audience and show programmes that varied from its analogue Channel 3.

“We plan to run pure entertainment shows on the HD channel and a mixture of entertainment and news on the SD channel,” executive director Pravit Maleenont said last week.

BEC World plans to establish a separate company for the bidding to avoid legal conflicts under the concession from MCOT to its subsidiary Bangkok Entertainment Co for Channel 3. It plans to continue operating Channel 3 until its concession expires in March 2020.

BEC World is aiming at one high definition (HD) variety licence and one standard definition (SD) variety licence, but if the bidding competition is too fierce, it might go for only one of them.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is expected to hold the auction of 24 commercial digital TV licences late this year, but on separate days for each of the four categories – HD variety (seven licences), SD variety (seven licences), SD news (seven licences) and SD children’s (three licences).

News takes up half of Channel 3′s airtime.

“The contents on our digital channels and on Channel 3 will be completely different and our digital channels and Channel 3 will compete with each other. The rivals of our digital channels are not only those that will be able to win digital TV licences but also our own Channel 3. We’ve already prepared professional management to run the digital channels,” Pravit said.

BEC World wants to expand its viewership from its stronghold in major cities.

The NBTC requires digital TV network providers, which will serve terrestrial digital broadcasters, to extend their network to 50 per cent of the population in the first year, 80 per cent in the second year, 90 per cent in the third and 95 per cent in the fourth year. This will enable the digital TV stations to give service with equal network coverage.

The Broadcasting Committee of the NBTC has yet to finalise which licence categories will be put to bid first but its chairman Natee Sukonrat said that in principle the most desired licences will be auctioned off on the last day. Maybank Kim Eng says BEC World is well set to bid for digital TV licences because it has Bt4.87 billion in cash on hand as of the first quarter 2013, strong programmes and experienced TV teams.