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Hundreds of satellite and cable channels bite the dust

Nov 22. 2015
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MORE THAN 400 cable and satellite TV channels have been scrapped this year mainly due to the fast-changing media landscape with the addition of dozens of new digital TV channels and the poor economic conditions.

The latest data from the Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) reveals that 40 per cent of the 1,092 broadcasting licences that were registered last year are no longer in operation. This accounts for 258 satellite TV channels, 158 cable TV channels and 15 Internet Protocol TV (iPTV) channels.

Among those out-of-service channels, GMM Broadcasting has stopped its Z Pay TV34, Z1 and GTH On Air channel; CTH Cable TV has ended its Wisdom, Asian Food Channel, Australian Network, Max Sports and Kon Dontree; and True Visions Group has discontinued its RAMA Channel, Star World, Channel V Thailand, HD Showcase, Activ TV, BBC Earth, MTV HD, WE TV and True Information Channel.

However, 661 cable/satellite TV and iPTV channels are still operational. Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the NBTC’s Broadcasting Committee, explained that this was the result of the launch of 24 digital terrestrial TV channels.

“I witnessed some of those digital TV operators continue to gain market share because of their quality content. Following this change, not only are analog TV channels like Channel 7, Channel 3 and MCOT losing their audience share, but also cable and satellite TV channels,” Natee said.

Nielsen Thailand showed that the audience share of 21 digital terrestrial TV channels continues to rise.

As of last month, digital TV’s audience share increased to 39.2 per cent of 22.3 million households, up from 15.96 per cent in the same period last year, while the share of six analog TV channels fell to 60.8 per cent from last year’s 84.6 per cent. Despite the downward trend of the cable and satellite TV business, consumer complaints about services from those TV operators were on the rise.

Supinya Klangnarong, chair of the NBTC’s subcommittee on consumer rights protection, said last week that 189 complaint cases related to radio and television broadcasting services last year. The majority of those (92.59 per cent) involved TV broadcasting service, particularly cable and satellite TV channels such as GMM Z, CTH, IPM TV and True Visions.

Of the complaints, 35.65 per cent were for violations, 18.52 per cent involved unfair terms and conditions from subscription contracts, and 12.96 per cent related to poor quality of service.

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