Frost & Sullivan: Thailand to enter digital TV Era

Frost & Sullivan
2013-10-22 20:58 821

BANGKOK, Thailand, Oct. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Thailand certainly has been one of the busier broadcast markets in the region in 2013. The market has seen more competitors recently enter to challenge TRUEs dominance, and a fierce battle over football content has given consumers more choices in from providers such as Cable Thai Holdings (CTH), GMM Z and RS. As such, the pay TV industry is experiencing double digit growth which is even outpacing the mobile service market and household penetration including pirated connections is hovering at 50% household adoption.

Marc Einstein, Industry Principal for Digital Media and Telecoms, Frost & Sullivan
Marc Einstein, Industry Principal for Digital Media and Telecoms, Frost & Sullivan

Marc Einstein, Industry Principal for Digital Media and Telecoms, Frost & Sullivan says, "More recently the kingdom is preparing for the transition from analogue to digital TV which will ultimately bring more choices and services to Thai consumers although the transition itself will not be without difficulties. Bidding for the licenses has already seen a significant amount of interest with 49 companies registering for 24 licenses, leading to some speculation that Thai news coverage in particular will become more diverse and more international."

"Overall digital television is a much more efficient technology which will offer a better viewing experience in terms of resolution to consumers, but the transition may have some problems in the market. It is important to note that two-thirds of the Thai populations reside in rural areas, and therefore coverage will be an issue as digital TV coverage is more or a yes or no experience as opposed to analogue which is more of a continuum."

He also adds that, "When the US undertook the transition in 2009, the issue of disconnecting households during the transition became a very politically charged issue, and while only about 3% of households were unprepared at the point of the switch, the US government spent over US$1bn in educating the public. On the same note the US government also set aside US$890m in vouchers for people to obtain analogue-to-digital converters. As such, the NTBC should clarify its policies on subsidies and consumer education in order to avoid issues going forward."

One of the greatest benefits of the transition might in fact not even have to do with the TV market at all. Transitioning from analogue to digital TV will free a significant amount of radio spectrum which can be refarmed for mobile purposes, which might go a long way in alleviating the country's 3G/4G woes.

Source: Frost & Sullivan