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'TV5 and TGN Stations to focus on national security issues'

Feb 13. 2012
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By Watchiranont Thongtep
The na

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Lt-General Chatchai Sarikulya, president of Royal Thai Army Radio and Television Station, talks about the TV station's transformation into a broadcaster to serve the public with a focus on national security issues. The move was planned to mark its 55th a

There are many new challenges lying ahead when the spectrum management master plan and the telecom and broadcasting master plans go into effect. What needs to be done for this transformation?

Last year we started the construction of a Bt1.6-billion, 22-storey building on the same grounds as the TV5 and Thai Global Network (TGN) stations. The project is expected to be completed and begin operating by late 2013. This new tower will house 12 new studios equipped with digital broadcasting technology, up from the existing four operating studios. So we will be ready to produce our own TV programmes, particularly live shows, and transmit them in digital format through various digital channels in two years.

In this regard, will TV5 and TGN underline their own produced programmes in the near future?

Yes, they will be on that track. This year, we have just finished restructuring our organisation to transform the stations into public broadcasting services for national security issues. We created new departments on the station’s operation side, namely TV production and revenue development.

What are the key responsibilities for those new units?

The department of TV production will be responsible for programmes produced in-house, both aired locally on TV5 and to 177 countries across the globe on the TGN network. Within three years, this unit will supply all contents to those stations. Currently, joint production of entertainment programmes with independent production houses fills about 30 per cent of all time slots.

With such a move, TV5 and TGN will likely lose some advertising revenue from our joint-programme developers, so we have the department of revenue development to seek new business opportunities and income to offset some possible losses. This unit will be also in charge of marketing and sales for the station’s sustainability, but not for commercial purposes.

After the restructuring to become a public broadcasting station for state security issues, what about TV5’s policy for information and entertainment programmes this year?

We still focus on 70 per cent information programmes, including news and documentaries on economic, social, culture, tourism and special issues in times of crisis while the rest will be for entertainment. The station will increase news programming to 32 per cent of information contents, from 29 per cent last year. Though TV5 has no plan to raise advertising rates this year, it will continue to invest about 5 per cent of total revenue in new technology, equipment and new media.

As we know, the Royal Thai Army’s concession with Bangkok Broadcasting Television to operate Channel 7 will expire in 10 years. What is your strategic plan to handle this change?

I would say that it is too early to talk about this plan. Although the NBTC is implementing the spectrum management master plan and broadcasting master plan, the operation under this contract will be protected by law until the termination date.

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