First channels go black Aug 16, get B1.18bn

First channels go black Aug 16, get B1.18bn

Spring News 19 and Spring 26 will be the first batch of digital TV channels going off the air on Aug 16. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Spring News 19 and Spring 26 will be the first batch of digital TV channels going off the air on Aug 16. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Spring News 19 and Spring 26 (formerly Now 26) will be the first batch of digital TV channels going off the air Aug 16, receiving a combined compensation of almost 1.18 billion baht from the telecom regulator 60 days after shutdown.

Channel 19 will get 500.5 million baht and Spring 26 675.7 million, according to yesterday's resolution by a sub-committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said compensation will be based on the stations ceasing their spectrum use for broadcasting before their licences expire in 2029.

However, the net compensation for each TV channel will be different based on the winning price of each licence auction and the exact date they are allowed to switch off.

The NBTC will calculate the net amount of compensation subtracted by the amount of assistance they got from the must-carry rule and broadcasting network rental fee subsidy, as well as their annual net profit from the beginning of the year until their shutdown date.

Mr Takorn said Spring News 19 and Spring 26 were the two first channels which proposed their exit plans last month in compliance with Section 44 invoked in April to assist digital TV operators.

Previously, seven digital TV channels through six operators submitted letters of intent to exit the sector on May 10, the submission deadline date.

These included Spring News 19, Spring 26, MCOT 14, Voice TV 21, Bright TV 20, Channel 3 family 1 and Channel 3 SD 28.

That means the number of existing digital TV channels will decrease from 22 to 15 channels after August.

However, only three of the seven channels have already proposed their financial statements and switch-off plans to the NBTC for approval. Bright TV 20 was the third as it proposed its financial statement and shutdown plan yesterday.

The remaining four channels have yet to propose a statement or plan.

Additionally, Mr Takorn said the sub-committee also approved a principle for employees' benefit compensation proposed by Spring News 19 and Spring 26 as they both agreed to pay compensation to their employees losing their jobs of an additional one month of salary to labour legislation.


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