Voice TV, the satellite television business owned by the Shinawatra family, has earmarked 1 billion baht for bidding for digital TV and radio licences as it aims to produce content across all media channels.
Managing director Songsak Premsuk said Voice TV aims to expand its content to all screen-based media encompassing satellite TV, cable TV, websites, mobile phones and tablets.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is moving forward aggressively on its digital broadcasting policy.
"We are aiming to shift to become a free-TV operator," Mr Songsak said.
Digital TV will provide a huge opportunity for Voice TV to expand to mass audiences, he said.
Voice TV has not yet decided which category of licences it will bid for, noting it depends on the competition situation and starting prices.
But Mr Songsak said 60% of Voice TV's content will be designated for informative news, with the remainder comprising entertainment and lifestyle programmes.
The company plans to spend 1 billion baht on the licences, using shareholders' money.
Mr Songsak believes advertising rates on its satellite TV channel will surge to 50,000 baht a minute from an average of 15,000 baht when its channel has a digital broadcasting system.
He said the price gap between free TV and satellite TV is too high. The maximum advertising rate on prime slots via satellite channels is 30,000 baht a minute, compared with 500,000 baht on free TV.
Mr Songsak urged the NBTC to review the ratings system when digital TV is launched, noting ratings will be a key factor to drive media business.
Voice TV expects to break even within five years if it wins a licence to operate digital TV, he said.
Voice TV also plans to bid for a digital radio licence to expand its audience base, as digital technology allows broadcasters to offer wider coverage.
Mr Songsak said Voice TV expects revenue of 300 million baht this year, double last year's figure.
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Writer: Saengwit Kewaleewongsatorn