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3 digital TV channels all set to go off air

Aug 15. 2019
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By The Nation

Digital TV channels Spring 26 (Channel 26), Spring News (Channel 19) and Bright TV (Channel 20) are counting down to midnight on August 15, when they will go off air.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will pay the three channels more than Bt1.020 billion on the morning of August 16 for the return of their licences. 

These three are among the six commercial TV broadcasters who announced on May 10 that they were returning the seven licences they had secured from NBTC. May 10 was the deadline for all broadcasters to declare their decision. The other channels returning their licences are Voice TV (Channel 21), MCOT Family (Channel 14) and BEC Multimedia Family (Channel 13 and SD Channel 28). 

The NBTC awarded 24 commercial digital TV licences via auction in December 2013, amassing 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. 

The government has stepped in from time to time to launch measures to ease the broadcasters’ financial burden. In April this year, the government finally introduced a measure allowing the ailing broadcasters to return their licences to NBTC and get compensation. 

The government also instructed NBTC to waive the payment of the fifth and sixth instalments and cover the network rental fees for all licence holders for the next nine and half years, which is remaining in their contracts.

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