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Digital technology is drastically reshaping Thai media

Thaiger

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“…journalism has never died despite the disruption. It’s just that media organisations and reporters are unable to survive because they cannot adjust to changes.”

The Thaiger is a news and information portal, just one of a growing number of ‘disruptive media’ replacing traditional media and news outlets. It would be a very brave businessperson (with deep pockets) in the 2019 media landscape to consider starting up a new newspaper, magazine or start a new terrestrial TV station. The Nation, now calling themselves Nation Thailand online, has spoken to some of Thailand’s leading media analysts to delve into what this disruption means to Thailand’s old media guard…

Digital technology is drastically reshaping Thai media | News by Thaiger

Technological disruption is having a major impact on many business sectors, including the mass-media industry, which is forcing most mass-media organisations to make adjustments to cope with the changing landscape and cater for paperless consumers.

Professor Surapongse Sothanasathien, chairman of the university council at Rajamangala University of Technology Phra Nakhon, says media organisations will only survive difficulty by adjusting their content so it is appropriate for new digital media. They also have to move the centre of content from “sender” to “receiver”.

“In my experience, I have learned that journalism has never died despite the disruption. It’s just that media organisations and reporters are unable to survive because they cannot adjust to changes.”

He added that mass-media organisations should stop relying on content raised in social media, but instead follow these stories, add value and create good related reports themselves, noting that social media is not the final answer.

“…digital media has rendered print media obsolete.”

He explained that with the fall of traditional media, mass-media organisations need to gradually move to new media formats. For instance, many European countries no longer have traditional television, but instead consumers rely on podcasts and video streaming to access preferred content when and where they want.

“At present, many mass-media organisations are owned or managed by people who lack the knowledge of journalism and mass communications. Senior journalists, who are also part of the management, do not have good knowledge about business communication and management. This is why, many media organisations are failing,”noting that despite the collapse of many media organisations, the government has not made the issue part of the national problem that requires urgent solution.

Larry Chao, managing director of Chao Group Limited – a consultancy on organisation change – said that last year, for the first time, the daily consumption of digital media accelerated past traditional media with more than 50% of overall time spent. Since then, digital media has supplanted traditional media and now defines the industry. Media agencies that have not come up with clear strategies to harness digital media risk being left behind, he warned.

Chao pointed out that digital media has created at least four major disruptions in the media landscape.

First, digital media is rapidly replacing print, as evidenced by the gradual disappearance of print media, including the print edition of this newspaper (The Nation) earlier this year. With the cost of digital media dropping and digital devices like mobile phones improving access to news and information, digital media has rendered print media obsolete. In fact, in order to compete successfully, media agencies will need to tailor their offerings according to each online distribution channel. For example, how they communicate with the mass market on Facebook is different to how they might engage executives on LinkedIn.

Second, digital technology has spawned the development of digital media entrepreneurs, who have created a proliferation of media content. With low barriers to entry and readily available conduits to distribute their material, it is only a matter of time before they start eating into the market share of traditional media players that have relied on in-house creativity and production. Existing media agencies will need to decide how to compete with this influx of agile competitors, or better yet, how to leverage their capabilities as outsourcing partners.

Third, the digital industry has been a boon for video content and technology. Consumers nowadays have an attention span that lasts a few seconds compared to a few minutes in the past, so media agencies should learn to capture their attention quickly, or they can lose them. This has forced many media agencies to re-think the way they share their clients’ products and services with consumers. Perhaps the answer is a combination of capturing the audience’s attention with snippets of enticing digital media, while continuing to search and innovate other non-media sources of communication.

Fourth, with so much digital media bombarding audiences it is not surprising that people have grown wary of what they see and believe. Clever artificial intelligence had created media content dubbed “deep fake”, which fooled people initially but has now started raising suspicion. To win over consumers, media businesses will need to convince them that what they are portraying is genuine and not just a lot of bells and whistles. The quality, creativity and relevance of media content and the products and services they represent will also be vital.

Punyapon Tepprasit, CEOr of MVP Consultants and post-graduate lecturer on industrial management at Ramkhamhaeng University, said the disruption of media organisations has been continuous, beginning from the advent of and rising access to the internet.

“Humans have always wanted to keep up-to-date, and now they want to do that quickly. Traditional media formats cannot satisfy this need like online media can, with the latest news just a click away. Also news can be accessed conveniently and at a lower cost than other platforms. This disruption caused by changing consumer behaviour and the advent of many new technologies has become a big problem for media organisations,” he said.

Read the rest of the story from Nation Thailand about disruptive media HERE.

Digital technology is drastically reshaping Thai media | News by Thaiger

 

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Tourism

‘One Night In Bangkok’, an unlikely hit about a bygone era in Thailand

Tim Newton

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“One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free”

When ‘One Night In Bangkok’ was released in 1984 it was an unlikely hit. It was the opening song from a (at the time) little-known stage pop-opera called ‘Chess’. The song made Number 1 in South Africa, West Germany, Switzerland and Australia, and Number 3 in Canada and the US. It has remained a staple of Classic 80s Hit radio ever since. Have a listen (below).

The musical was the first outing for the two ‘Bs’ in ABBA – Benny Andersson and Bjoern Ulvaeus. Their pop grooves had made ABBA one of the most famous music groups in the world between 1973 and 1982 with a string of hits including 20 singles in the Billboard Top 100 from 8 albums, etc, etc. The lyrics of the song were penned by Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Joseph and his amazing technicolour dreamcoat, Aladdin, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast).

In the opening song of ‘Chess’, the American chess champion Freddie Trumper gets ready for a chess game with his Russian counterpart. He ridicules Bangkok’s ‘pleasures’ and tourist attractions – the Chao Phraya River (“muddy old river”), Wat Pho (“reclining Buddha”), and the red-light distractions. The choruses are more complimentary about Bangkok’s well-documented excesses.

Thailand’s ladyboys feature too… “You’ll find a god in every golden cloister, And if you’re lucky then the god’s a she“. And the famous Oriental Hotel (these days a little less ‘oriental’) is mentioned where girls are “set up in the Somerset Maugham suite“. But the singer says he isn’t interested… “I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine.

At the time the sarcasm of the song didn’t go down well with the Thai Mass Communications Organisation (now the NBTC) issuing a ban on the song in 1985, saying its lyrics “cause misunderstanding about Thai society and show disrespect towards Buddhism”, a line still trotted out when Instagrammers and vloggers shoot in front of Thai temples dressed in a flimsy singlets and short shorts.

37 years later the song still paints a picture of a contrasting ‘oriental’ city alive with lights (including red lights), colour, pungent smells, culture and a vivid history.

We’re not sure if the ban was ever lifted but I hear the song played on Thai stations from time to time. At the time, when Bangkok was less on the tourist map than now, the song was a lone reference point for westerners.

How does it stand up 37 years after becoming a world-wide hit? Leave your comments below..

One Night In Bangkok

Bangkok, Oriental setting
And the city don’t know that the city is getting
The creme de la creme of the chess world
In a show with everything but Yul Brynner (referring to the actor’s starring role as the King of Siam in ‘The King and I’)

Time flies, doesn’t seem a minute
Since the Tirolean spa had the chess boys in it
All change don’t you know that when you
Play at this level there’s no ordinary venue
It’s Iceland or the Philippines or Hastings or,
Or this place!

One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free
You’ll find a god in every golden cloister
And if you’re lucky then the god’s a she
I can feel an angel sliding up to me

One town’s very like another
When your head’s down over your pieces, brother
It’s a drag, it’s a bore, it’s really such a pity
To be looking at the board, not looking at the city
Whaddya mean?
Ya seen one crowded, polluted, stinking town
Tea, girls, warm, sweet
Some are set up in the Somerset Maugham suite
Get thai’d, you’re talking to a tourist
Whose every move’s among the purest
I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can’t be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me

Siam’s gonna be the witness
To the ultimate test of cerebral fitness
This grips me more than would a
Muddy old river or reclining Buddha
And thank God I’m only watching the game… controlling it

I don’t see you guys rating
The kind of mate I’m contemplating
I’d let you watch, I would invite you
But the queens we use would not excite you
So you better go back to your bars, your temples
Your massage parlours

One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free
You’ll find a god in every golden cloister
A little flesh, a little history
I can feel an angel sliding up to me

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can’t be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me

Songwriters: Tim Rice / Benny Goran Bror Andersson / Bjoern K. Ulvaeus

 

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Entertainment

Sex toys popular in Thailand despite conservative laws

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: In Thailand, sex toys are very popular and very illegal.

While Thailand is a conservative country with conservative laws, the underground sex trade and sex toy economy is a thriving not-so-well-kept secret. Thailand is famous for its LGBTQ acceptance and red-light districts, but many don’t realise that most drugs, gambling, soliciting for prostitution, sex toys, and even vaping are against Thai law.

The customs department confiscated more than 4000 sex toys just last year, and owning or selling these toys carries a 60,000 baht fine or up to 3 years in jail. The strict laws are in place to align with the traditional Buddhist Thai society but seem very contrary to the underground sex industry Thailand is known for.

The need for sexual privacy rights and relaxed laws governing sex has been gaining popularity for years with the juxtaposition of strict laws and hedonism creating a very profitable black market. Bangkok’s red-light district is estimated to be worth US $6.4 billion, and in districts like Soi Cowboy, Nana, Patpong and Silom, sex trade and sex toys are sold openly even though it violates the law. The sex industry is thought to comprise up to 10% of Thailand’s gross domestic product. Then there’s Walking Street in Pattaya, Bangla Road in Phuket, etc, etc.

Still, Thailand is a Buddhist country with traditionally conservative values so laws are unlikely to change anytime soon. Even sex education in Thailand is geared towards the negative consequences of sex and not open to sexual rights or embracing sexuality, according to a UNICEF report in 2016. Those who oppose decriminalising sex toys and the sex industry believe that embracing it legally would lead to a rash of sex-related crimes.

Others argue that decriminalisation would be liberating and empower women by reducing the stigma of being sexually free. It would allow a modernized view on sexual well-being. It would also likely reduce teen pregnancy rates, by removing the negativity towards those who need or use contraceptive.

Nisarat Jongwisan has been fighting for the destigmatisation and legalisation of sex toys since 2018 when she appeared on a TV program speaking out against the Ministry of Culture. She now intends to use the Thai parliamentary mechanism for creating a petition and gathering 50,000 signatures, which would allow her to submit a bill to the parliament for a vote.

With strict laws, the black market will continue to grow. While sex toys and the sex trade can be criminalized, sexual desires are not easily quashed, and people will find ways to satisfy them. Without any regulation, black markets can profit freely, selling sex toys with no concern over fair pricing or quality control. The global sex toy industry sold nearly US $34 billion dollars last year, and with continued lockdown and the closures of entertainment venues, these sales are set to only increase, even in the face of Thailand’s conservative laws.

SOURCE: Vice

 

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World

Is this the next big change in pop music? The winners of the IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year Award, BTS

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2020 IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year Award. In the past 8 years the IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year Award has been given to Ed Sheeran, Adele, One Direction, and Taylor Swift and Drake. BTS are backed up by ARMY, their huge fanbase.

The power of ARMY. The IFPI represents the recorded music industry worldwide. It’s not a Grammy or a popularity vote. The award is calculated according to an artist’s or group’s worldwide performance across digital and physical music formats during the past year. Everything from streams to vinyl, CDs and downloads…. and covers their entire body of work. The award was announced last week at the culmination of the IFPI Global Artist Chart, which counted down the top 10 best-selling artists of the past year.

And it’s certainly been a great year for music… not so much for going to live concerts but we’ve certainly had a lot more time to listen to our favourite artists and stream their clips on YouTube.

The group that won this year, based on their pure sales, actually came second in 2018 and 7th in 2019, so it isn’t some statistical blip on the music radar.

The win also represents somewhat of a quantum shift in world music… the sort of thing that only happens once in a generation. Rather than the popular cross-over style shift represented by the George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue in 1924, the brith of rock with Bill Haley in 1955 or the rise of British pop in the 1960s, personified by The Beatles, this year’s IFPI signals another generational milestone in tastes, method, world reach and engagement with fans.

In all the right-hand turns of the popular music genre, there has usually been a technological breakthrough that has accompanied them, or at least been a key aspect of their success.

In the case of the the Great American Songbook, the foundations of the pop music genre, it was the recorded record and the start of radio-as-entertainment in the 1920s that provided a method to reach a huge audience with the new sounds and tunes for the first time.

Then it was the 7” single that made music cheaper and easier to play, that revolutionised the radio music formats of the 1960s and provided the perfect vehicle of the British pop revolution to spread around the world.

 

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