By Watchiranont Thongtep
The satellite broadcasting industry is set for a shake-up now that GMM Grammy's broadcasting subsidiary has joined forces with five local dish manufacturers and traders to sell its 1-Sky platform for satellite channels.
GMM Broadcasting will offer channel grouping to content producers free of charge to broadcast their programmes to about half of the viewers with access to satellite-TV content via C-Band.
GMM Broadcasting managing director Dew Waratangtagoon yesterday said the company expected that 3 million 1-Sky set-top boxes would be sold this year and 5 million by the end of next year, including other set-top boxes upgraded via its over-the-air software.
The 1-Sky set-top boxes are slated to launch next week at a cost of Bt800.
Under the deal for 1-Sky to offer channel grouping for content producers at no charge, channels 1 to 10 will be prepared for free TV, 11 to 29 for movie channels, 30 to 49 for variety shows, 80 to 99 for news and updates, and the remainder for special-interest content.
Dew said the company and its partners were aiming for changes in the industry, especially for content producers that want to broadcast their programmes on satellite channels but who must pay additional costs to a satellite broadcasting platform provider to lock the best-ranked channels that are easy to recognise among target audiences.
It is understood that each content producer currently has to pay more than Bt1 million a month for the privilege.
"This is an unfair trade condition for content producers, especially major players," he said.
Meanwhile, Niran Tangpiroontham, managing director of Infosat and president of the Satellite Dish Club, said 1-Sky set-top boxes could be plugged into the C-Band satellite sets of Infosat, iDeaSat, DynaSat, Thai Sat and Leo Sat, which account for almost 50 per cent of the dishes in the country.
The rest of the market has been dominated by PSI Holdings for more than two decades, Niran said.
Dew said that with the 1-Sky platform, GMM Broadcasting expected to achieve overall revenue of Bt700 million this year. It generated Bt350 million last year.