Changing channels, Amarin eyes TV

Satellite, digital plans signal shift from print

Amarin Printing and Publishing Plc (APRINT) is shifting its focus to broadcasting by launching a satellite TV station and eyeing a bid for a digital TV licence.

The company yesterday officially launched Amarin Activ TV, based on a lifestyle and entertainment concept leveraging content from Amarin's portfolio of magazines.

Programming will be based around four categories: home and decoration, women's lifestyle, health and special interest.

Amarin has set a 200-million-baht budget this year for its satellite TV operation including content and marketing costs with an aim to recoup its investment and break even this year.

Average ad rates for the channel have been set at 25,000 baht a minute.

Rarin Utakapan Punjarungroj, Amarin's managing director, said the media landscape in Thailand is changing to one dominated by television, with satellite TV reaching 64% of Thai households.

"This is a big opportunity for content providers to strengthen their businesses and generate more revenue from advertising," she said.

Last year, media spending on TV was 7 billion baht, representing 60% of the total in all media outlets.

The channel will reorganise the Noom Sao Praew model contest, which was popular among university students some 20 years ago, and broadcast it.

"That's the way to find new, talented people to play in our series and attract more viewers," said Mrs Rarin.

Amarin will also join the bidding for a digital TV licence, with plans to launch a general content channel.

The company has set a budget of 1 billion baht for digital TV, funded by cash flow and bank loans. The digital TV investment will be the biggest since Amarin was founded in 1976.

Mrs Rarin said Amarin is positioning itself as a full content provider for all platforms including print media, online, events and TV.

In addition, Amarin has set aside 150 million baht to buy a new printing machine to increase efficiency and competitiveness.

The printing business is competitive now but still has room to grow for quality print service, she said.

Mrs Rarin plans to drive the company's non-print revenue to 25% of the total in the next three years from 15% now, but the magazine, print and publishing unit remains a key revenue generator.

The firm expects to increase revenue by 10% to 2.3 billion baht this year.

Last year, Amarin posted a nine-month net profit of 192 million baht on revenue of 1.4 billion.

Full-year 2011 profit was 235 million baht on revenue of 1.9 billion.

The Amarin board last September approved the launch of a new subsidiary, Amarin Television, with 10 million baht in registered capital to handle the broadcasting business.

Shares of Amarin Printing (APRINT) closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 27.25 baht, up 1.50 baht, in trade worth 7.9 million baht.

The trading symbol will change to AMARIN on Feb 27.

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Writer: Saengwit Kewaleewongsatorn