Thursday, October 17, 2019

New TrueVisions app a hit despite EPL uncertainty

Oct 28. 2018
Lucky winners of TrueVisions' promotion campaign to watch the Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge Stadium earlier this month.
Lucky winners of TrueVisions' promotion campaign to watch the Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge Stadium earlier this month.
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WATCHING their favourite programmes anytime, anywhere is fast trending among Pay-TV subscribers in view of the growth in downloads of the TrueID TV application, says Kittima Ratanasangsathien, assistant director/marketing communication of TrueVisions, Thailand’s largest pay-TV operator.

Launched in December last year as replacement for the free TrueVisions Anywhere app, TrueID app has recorded at least 5 million downloads from Android among TrueVisions’ 4 million subscribers.

The shift in lifestyles of TV viewers has meant they want to catch the shows regardless of when and where they are at the time.

However, watching TV at home with families is still preferred, she said. 

TrueVisions supplies content to subscribers through several devices and platforms, thus customers will not miss anything they want to |watch anytime, anywhere, Kittima said.

However, competition in the pay-TV sector is growing with the emergence of subscription-based streaming media services such as Netflix, but Kittima says TrueVisions has a lot more to offer. 

TrueVisions , a subsidiary of True Corporation whose services range from Internet to mobile communication, allows subscribers to stream content on TrueVisions to a smart phone or tablet through the TrueID app which also features music and games, she said. 

True Corporation is the parent company of the country’s largest cable-TV provider TrueVisions; Thailand’s largest Internet service provider True Internet; as well as TrueMove H, one of the top three mobile phone operators.

Kittima said TrueVisions recently became the first TV operator in Thailand to beam and stream with a 4K Ultra HD system to viewers. 

Beginning with the broadcasting of World Cup matches from Russia, the new system is four times clearer than HD and 20 times clearer than the old system.

“Our strategy is to keep up with our viewers’ lifestyle. We will deliver what interests our customers,” she said.

Now, there is little difference or none in the release dates of foreign TV series in Thailand and abroad. Some foreign series and entertainment programmes were released here at almost the same time as that in the countries where they were produced, Kittima added.

“There is no boundary in the timely supply of content. If a series or movie is released late in Thailand, most viewers would have watched it on other platforms,” she said. 

The next three years could pose a challenge for TrueVisions, as it may lose the rights to broadcast the world’s most-watched football league on its channels.

TrueVisions acquired the sub-licensing rights to the English Premier League [EPL] for the 2016-18 seasons from Qatar-based BeIN Sports but the Qatari sport channel has failed to extend the rights for the next three years.

Instead, Facebook has clinched the exclusive broadcast rights of the EPL in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos for the 2019-21 seasons in a 200-million pound (Bt8.5 billion) battle.

This means the social media giant will livestream all EPL matches, after outbidding traditional television networks such as BeIN Sports and Fox Sports Asia in an auction.

Kittima said TrueVisions is ready to discuss with the new rights holder on the possibility of sub-licensing, adding that she has no idea as to the regulations and conditions. 

“We cannot guarantee anything but will try our best to keep the matches on our sports channels,” she said.

In her view, football fans in Thailand will be able to watch EPL matches on one of the three platforms: television, online, or live streaming.

Football fans were left bitterly disappointed last month after staying up for the opening match of the Champions League, but were met with a blank screen instead. 

In previous seasons, TrueVisions’ subscribers watched the matches on beIN Sports, the rights holder of the Champions League and Europa League, but it failed to retain these rights in addition to the EPL for the next three seasons.

European football’s ruling body, UEFA, said Thai fans could watch the games live on of the new rights holder, after it was awarded to beIN’s parent company, DAZN. But as of now, Thai fans are still denied access to the stream from the website. 

As for the continuous broadcasting of the Champions League and Europa league to Thai viewers, Kittima said it now depends on the new rights holder.


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