NBTC finalises competition regulation drafts

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) finished drafting three new regulations yesterday related to competition in the Thai broadcasting industry.

Col Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the NBTC's broadcasting committee, said the first regulation defines different markets based on broadcasting services such as frequency broadcasts, non-frequency broadcasts, satellite TV, cable TV and terrestrial TV.

The rule also defines each broadcasting service operator with at least a 25% market share (based on viewership) in each market is a significant market power (SMP) that will be closely regulated.

SMPs in the pay-TV business may be more regulated than those for free TV services, as the switching cost is higher. SMPs must report their viewership every six months.

The second draft is on defensive measures to protect broadcasting monopolies that may cause unfair competition.

The last draft is related to media cross-ownership and broadcasting monopolies.

Studies by Detecon Asia Pacific and Thammasat University's Economic Research and Training Center were used to craft the regulations.

The broadcasting committee only accepted the three drafts in principle because they still have many unclear points.

"We may revise the three draft regulations to make them clearer. For example, will we measure the market domination on viewership or advertising market share?" he said.

Another issue is whether media cross-ownership will include newspapers as they are not under the NBTC's auspices.

The three drafts will be discussed this month by focus groups of related parties, such as pay-TV and digital TV bidders.

Col Natee said the commission also passed a regulation on content that amended Section 37 of the Broadcasting Act.

About the author

Writer: Saengwit Kewaleewongsatorn
Position: Business Reporter