By WATCHIRANONT THONGTEP
THE MEDIA industry should enjoy a period of recovery this year, mainly fuelled by digital TV and out-of-home media, after financial results in the final quarter of last year appeared weak as a result of the economic slowdown, analysts have suggested.
Analysts from Bualuang Securities, Maybank Kim Eng and Country Group Securities witnessed the same fourth-quarter trend in ad-media business. They said such companies listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand posted business performance slightly below the securities houses’ expectations for the period.
This is largely put down to the sluggish economy and slow advertising spending last year. However, recovery signs are expected to be seen this year, particularly in digital TV.
Bualuang Securities’ analyst suggested that leading digital-TV players like Workpoint Entertainment, RS, Mono Technology and GMM Grammy would gain benefits and more audience share this year.
For example, the Mono 29 digital channel, which is run by a subsidiary of Mono Technology, anticipates an improved audience ranking, rising from 0.28 per cent last May to 3.3 per cent in January.
After being ranked third in the broadcasting market, behind Channel 7 and Channel 3, Workpoint Entertainment has seized the opportunity to raise its advertising rate from Bt25,000 to Bt35,000 per minute.
RS’s Channel 8 also anticipates good feedback in terms of TV audience size and advertising revenue. Darm Nana, chief financial officer at RS, said yesterday that the company generated revenue of Bt4.3 billion last year, a rise of 24 per cent from the previous year, with its digital Channel 8 a major growth engine.
Media business generated 78.7 per cent of company revenue, contributing Bt3.356 billion, followed by music business with Bt457.8 million (10.6 per cent) and event business with Bt234 million (10.7 per cent).
RS’s net profit came in at Bt371 million.
To cash in on this trend, Siriporn Poncheewin, chief executive officer of RLG Group – a publishing business – said her company was eyeing the production of two TV programmes targeting senior audiences for digital channels this year.
However, it appears to be a different story in the analog free-TV sector – for example, at BEC World, the operator of Channel 3. Bualuang Securities’ analyst expects Channel 3’s audience share to continue to be eaten into by new digital-TV players. Last month, the channel’s audience accounted for 26.5 per cent of the market, dropping from 27.5 per cent in December.
The securities house estimates BEC World generated a profit of Bt950 million in the fourth quarter, down 32 per cent from the same period in 2013.
Apart from terrestrial-based digital TV, out-of-home media business is expected to continue to rise this year.
An analyst at Maybank Kim Eng forecast that Master Ad would bring in more income after appointing VGI Global Media, a leading transit-media specialist, to manage its small outdoor media.
Meanwhile, Plan B Media is expected to witness growth from new projects along the MRT’s new lines and new concessions in Bangkok, according to Bualuang Securities’ forecast.