By THE NATION
He added that most of the programme content partnership contracts between MCOT's Family Channel 14 and its partners had already expired on June 30 this year.
After the closure of the Family channel, MCOT would still run one channel, the high-definition Channel 30.
In May this year, six broadcasters informed the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) of their intention to hand back the seven licences they had secured from the NBTC. May 10 was the deadline for broadcasters to declare their intention.
The six broadcasters are: Spring News Television Co Ltd (for Spring News Channel 19) and Nation Multimedia Group (for Spring 26, formerly NOW26). The others are Bright TV (Channel 20), Voice TV (Channel 21), MCOT (Family Channel 14) and BEC Multimedia (Family Channel 13 and 3SD Channel 28).
Spring 26, Spring News and Bright TV shut down their channels at midnight on August 15. Voice TV was switched off at midnight on August 31.
BEC Channel 28 and Channel 13 leave the airwaves at midnight on September 30.
All these channels get compensation from the NBTC after they are shut down.
After their exits, there will be 15 channels left in the crowded market.
The NBTC awarded 24 commercial digital TV licences via auction in December 2013, raising around Bt50.862 billion in bid payments. Their 15-year licences were good from April 25, 2014. However, the broadcasters found it difficult to survive due to unfavourable market conditions, coupled with brutal competition from formidable online media channels.