NBTC developing nationwide streaming platform for digital TV by 2025

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The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is set to develop a nationwide streaming platform, aiming to streamline all real-time streaming content from existing digital TV channels. The platform is anticipated to be fully operational by 2025, aligning with the NBTC’s online migration plan and catering to the increasing number of online content consumers.

This initiative is also expected to provide a cushion against uncertainties surrounding the digital TV sector, especially post-2029 when current digital TV licenses are set to expire. NBTC commissioner Pirongrong Ramasoota, overseeing the TV sector, revealed that the platform will act as an efficient tool to gauge digital TV programme ratings, a feature that will prove beneficial for future digital TV operators.

Pirongrong further explained that all relevant stakeholders, including those in digital TV, TV-on-demand, and advertising sectors will be engaged in the creation of the platform. However, she assured that the existing content streaming on platforms run by digital TV operators will remain unaffected.

As part of this initiative, all existing TV operators will be required to link their streaming programmes with the new platform, providing a more accurate reflection of their business activities and viewer engagement. The NBTC’s engineering and broadcasting technology division aims to have a platform prototype ready by the end of 2023, with full development expected by June 2024.

Pirongrong stated that the NBTC has actively engaged with all relevant parties, including the Association of Digital Television Broadcasting (Thailand), the Advertising Association of Thailand, and smart TV producers, to ensure the new platform is equipped with suitable features.

The shifting dynamics within the digital TV business ecosystem, driven by changes in consumer behaviour, the rise of social platforms, and the progression of over-the-top platforms, have significantly impacted TV channels. They are not only struggling with declining ad spend but also grappling with the accuracy of viewer figures.

Moreover, the digital TV sector faces technical challenges due to frequency allocation for broadcasting under international practice and evolving technologies like 4K high-definition and the 5G wireless broadband system. From the 24 digital TV channels that secured licenses in the NBTC’s 2013 auction, only 15 remain operational today, largely due to financial constraints.

Pirongrong disclosed that digital TV channels initially operated services on the spectrum range between 470-694 megahertz. Currently, they utilise the 470-614MHz range, as part of the spectrum was reallocated for telecom services as per the International Telecommunication Union’s standard. The adoption of 4K technology might further affect the current spectrum range usage.

Predicting the future, Pirongrong envisages only 3-5 digital TV channels in operation post-2029, potentially broadcasting programmes on high-definition and 4K platforms. However, she believes it is premature to predict whether digital TV operators will continue content provision via a TV screen after 2029.

She also highlighted Thailand’s unique transition from an analogue TV broadcasting system to a digital ecosystem, which started with 24 digital TV channels and five broadcasting networks operated by three providers. This contrasts with the Malaysian transition to a digital TV system, which was accomplished through a single broadcasting network, MYTV Broadcasting, appointed to develop and operate infrastructure and network facilities for the digital TV system in the country.

Pirongrong concluded by stating that the NBTC must develop the streaming platform and keep pace with the changing TV broadcasting businesses. Despite the digital shift, she noted that television remains a primary source of information and entertainment for many, particularly those residing in provinces, reports Bangkok Post.

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Alex Morgan

Alex is a 42-year-old former corporate executive and business consultant with a degree in business administration. Boasting over 15 years of experience working in various industries, including technology, finance, and marketing, Alex has acquired in-depth knowledge about business strategies, management principles, and market trends. In recent years, Alex has transitioned into writing business articles and providing expert commentary on business-related issues. Fluent in English and proficient in data analysis, Alex strives to deliver well-researched and insightful content to readers, combining practical experience with a keen analytical eye to offer valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape.

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