Digital TV mock auction attracts wide range of parties

Digital TV mock auction attracts wide range of parties

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) successfully organised the first mock auction for digital TV yesterday to ensure that the method will prevent collusion.

"The auction has its objective to create competition, prevent price collusion and avoid overpriced licences," said Col Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the NBTC's broadcasting committee.

Moreover, digital TV is intended to promote content development and offer more choices for viewers.

Bidders must offer their prices within the first five minutes of the auction's start, otherwise they will be disqualified.

The auction will last one hour for each category. The bidding time will extend an additional five minutes if there is an equal offer from different bidders.

The bidding for high-definition (HD) channels will rise in increments of 10 million baht per bid, while bidding for standard-definition (SD) channels will rise by 5 million baht per bid, news channels by 2 million baht and children's channels by 1 million baht.

During the bidding, the monitor will display the bidder's position, possessory right of bidding, current offering price and the lowest price for the licence.

The information memorandum for commercial digital TV will be issued to the public around August after the draft regulations of the method for digital TV auctions are announced in the Royal Gazette.

More than 30 interested groups attended the mock auction, including existing free TV operators such as BBTV's Channel 7 and MCOT's Channel 9.

Leading newspaper companies showing an interest in digital TV were Post Publishing; VVV Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Thai Rath newspaper; Daily News TV; Nation Broadcasting Corporation; and Amarin Printing and Publishing.

Also seen at the mock auction were giant content providers and pay-TV operators GMM Grammy, RS, TrueVisions, Mono Group, People Media Group, Voice TV, Workpoint Entertainment and Media Now (a satellite subsidiary of BBTV).

Newcomers to broadcasting included telecom companies such as InTouch Group, Jasmine Telecom Systems, True Corporation and Hi-sport Co (a joint venture of Samart Corporation and Siam Sport Syndicate).

Interestingly, Bangkok Airways is also keen on bidding for an HD channel by forming a venture with Bangkok Media and Broadcasting.

Col Natee said two or three more mock auctions will be held before the real auction takes place in September or October.

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