Digital TV channels down to 15 on Oct 1

Digital TV channels down to 15 on Oct 1

The number of digital TV channels will decline from 22 to 15 on Oct 1.
The number of digital TV channels will decline from 22 to 15 on Oct 1.

The number of digital TV channels will decline from 22 to 15 on Oct 1, with the seven exiting channels receiving government compensation approved on Thursday by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

The seven channels planning to shut down will receive net compensation worth a combined 2.93 billion baht. After filling out a document for the NBTC, they will receive compensation from the regulator one day after shutdown.

The latest development was Channel 3 Family 13 and Channel 3 SD 28 submitting their plans yesterday to go off the air, receiving compensation details from the NBTC subcommittee. The two channels will go dark on Oct 1 and receive net compensation worth 162.5 million and 680 million baht.

NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said his agency has finished considering remedy conditions and net compensation for all seven channels after the process began last month.

Seven digital TV channels through six operators had submitted letters of intent to exit the sector on May 10, the submission deadline, in accordance with government assistance under Section 44.

The channels going off the air are Spring News 19, MCOT 14, Spring 26, Voice TV 21, Bright TV 20, Channel 3 Family 13 and Channel 3 SD 28.

Spring 26, Spring News 19 and Bright TV 20 are the first batch, going off-air after midnight Aug 15.

Voice TV will go off the air after midnight Aug 31 and MCOT on Sept 15, while Channel 3 Family 13 and Channel 3 SD 28 will be the last channels to shut down on Oct 1.

Mr Takorn said the NBTC will give compensation to the seven channels as soon as it can in order to pass on assistance to employees affected by the exit, which is different from the NBTC's original plan to give compensation within 60 days of the shutdown date.

Net compensation for each TV channel will depend on the winning price of each licence auction and the exact date when they are allowed to go off-air.

The compensation will mainly be in exchange for the spectrum the channels will return to the NBTC, as they have already paid licensing fees up to 2029.

The NBTC calculated the net amount of compensation by subtracting the assistance received from the must-carry rule and broadcasting network rental fee subsidy, as well as the annual net profit of their business until the date of shutdown, from the value of the spectrum licence.

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