The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is considering to propose the prime minister to use Section 44 of the interim Constitution to allow digital TV operators to return their TV licences to ease their financial burden after suffering heavy loss.
This was disclosed today by NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith following complaints that the digital TV industry is hard hit by operation costs due to competition and the high number of digital TV channels of up to 24 currently.
He admitted that the 24 digital channels are too much, saying the appropriate number for the country should be 15-16 channels.
But in addition to the excessive number of up to 24 channels, their market was also shared by other social media, prompting them to adapt to cope with the competition which now is gaining increasing influence on audience.
Mr Takorn said digital TV operators earlier sought to return their licences without having to pay the remaining licence fees.
But it was not possible under the present law, he said.
However an option remains if the NBTC proposed the prime minister to use Section 44 to issue order to allow digital TV operators to return their licences without having to pay the remaining licence fees, he said.
But for the time being, he said the NBCT might allow them to extend the payment of licence fee by another eight months as a remedy for the industry which now faces rife competition from social media amid shrinking revenues from advertisements but high operation costs.
He said the NBTC will host an Asean level meeting on September 11-12 to work out guidelines for supervision of the over-the-top (OTT) television
OTT is the delivery of film and TV content via the internet, without requiring users to subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite pay-TV service.
Commenting on the takeover of two digital channels, Amarin and GMM25, by Thai Beverage or known as Chang Beer Group owned by billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, Mr Takorn made clear that it is legal and not a market manipulation as it just is a stakeholding while there is no management change.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)