TrueVisions, the country's largest pay-TV operator, is extending its cable service to the mass market with a price cut of 40% for its low-end package.
Nisachon ‘Nest AF9’ Siewthaisong greets fans at the briefing for TrueVisions’ new low-end package at CentralWorld yesterday. NATTHITI AMPRIWAN
The strategic move is aimed at boosting the subscriber base of its cheapest True Knowledge package by 30% to 100,000 by the end of this year, said managing director Anat Mekpaiboonvatana.
He admitted that after losing the English Premier League football broadcasting rights for 2013-16, TrueVisions needs to create some innovative strategies to retain customers.
The company has previously partnered with more than 150 cable operators nationwide to expand audiences for 30 exclusive channels on the TrueVisions platform.
The price of its True Knowledge package is being slashed from 495 to 299 baht a month for customers signing up for the company's service for the first time. The rate includes VAT and installation costs.
With the new offerings, Mr Anat said customers can view 78 channels. In April, the figure will rise to 90 channels including high-definition channels.
Viewers can add more viewing choices by paying an additional 155 baht a month for another set-top box.
Mr Anat said the new package targets people who have never signed up for TrueVisions' services and those households that still use antennas to receive broadcasting signals.
Mr Anat said TrueVisions will automatically upgrade its existing True Knowledge subscribers to its Super Sports package by offering 83 channels, three of which will have high definition.
The high-definition channels will be TNN24, True Sport HD2 and a golf channel.
Mr Anat said TrueVisions plans to spend 500 million baht this year to upgrade its high-definition set-top box technology.
High-definition channels will be the company's strategic move to match increasing demand and the global industry trend.
"We aim to significantly increase the number of our high-definition channels from the existing 17," Mr Anat said.
TrueVisions has been in talks with Thaicom Plc, the country's sole satellite service provider, to acquire more transponders to increase broadcasting capacity.
Even though the situation is not favourable, TrueVisions must provide its best service to audiences with a planned budget of 5 billion baht this year as it is a crucial factor in the business surviving, Mr Anat said.
TrueVisions has been facing tough time convincing investors how it could sustain future revenue from high-end subscribers after losing the EPL right to the newcomer Cable Thai Holding Plc.
The EPL has long been TrueVision's edge over other cable TV operators, enabling it to maintain the number of regular subscribers even though its membership fees are far higher than those of other pay-TV operators.
TrueVisions still has the broadcasting right for the Uefa Champions League until 2015.
RS Plc, its competitor, has the broadcasting right for the Spanish La Liga while GMM Grammy holds the rights for major soccer matches such as Germany's Bundesliga, the English League Cup and the French League. Channel 7 holds the right for the FA Cup.
True Corp, its parent firm, reported to the Stock Exchange of Thailand that TrueVisions' third quarter revenue last year rose by 6.4% compared to the same period of 2011 to 2.6 billion baht.
The rise in revenue was due to its reality show Academy Fantasia Season 9 as well as the new hit programme Voice Thailand and growing advertising revenue. TrueVisions has around 2 million subscribers at present.
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Writer: Saengwit Kewaleewongsatorn