Satellite firms get bad reception

Non-frequency network providers disagree with a draft regulation on channel arrangement for satellite and cable TVs, saying the new rule will affect their operations.

Yesterday the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) held a public hearing to gather opinions from broadcasters on the draft regulation for channel arrangement standards.

The draft states network providers cannot make a profit from channel arrangement. This restriction will hurt network providers as their revenues will drop, said a source at PSI Holding Co, the largest satellite dish provider.

Some network providers and satellite dish providers now charge higher fees if satellite and cable TV operators want to see their channels in the first 10 listings. Normally, channels on a satellite TV platform are arranged by software, namely over-the-air programming (OTA), which belongs to each satellite provider.

The source at PSI said the company can protect its intellectual property according to the Constitution's Sections 41 and 43, meaning it can charge extra fees for channels that want to be listed near the front. The NBTC also imposed standards for non-frequency channels, which are divided into six categories: must-carry content, news channels, family and children's channels, education channels, sports channels and entertainment channels.

Niphon Naksompob, chairman of the Satellite Television Association of Thailand, said a clearer definition is needed for each category to help network providers manage their channels easier. The entertainment channel should be divided into sub-categories, such as music channels, series channels, and movie channels, he said.

Niran Tangpiroontham, managing director of Infosat and president of the Satellite Dish Club, agreed the regulator should clarify the definition for each category, and perhaps add more categories such as content about Southeast Asia. It should also have a definition for radio stations that broadcast via satellite, as Infosat just expanded its business to Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam.

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Writer: Saengwit Kewaleewongsatorn