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Phuket Business: Uncertain future for electronic billboards

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Business: Uncertain future for electronic billboards | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Commuters in Phuket have witnessed a gradual upgrade in roadside scenery over the last few years. Advertising and media communications are steadily evolving, and many will have noticed traditional print billboards gradually being replaced with animated, digital versions at various traffic junctions around the island.

Indeed, the emergence of Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology represents a sign of the times – a flicker of hope that the island may finally be ready to escape from the billboard clutter along roadsides.

While traffic in cities like Las Vegas, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok has been long accustomed to the sight of LED-powered marketing, Phuket’s first roadside-digital billboard was erected only about two years ago, at the Yee Teng Complex intersection in Phuket Town.

This new-media advertising benchmark was the initiative of Chaluckkamol Fuengchan, Managing Director of software development firm Boonsoong Technology Co Ltd.

Miss Chaluckkamol, who also heads media consultancy Phebe5 Co Ltd, talked exclusively with the Phuket Gazette about the various challenges and opportunities she has observed in implementing media innovation in Phuket.

“My primary goal was to bring something new to Phuket that would help push the island forward. As we had experienced much success with LED billboards in Bangkok already, I saw a lot of potential for LED in the Phuket market,” she said.

Miss Chaluckkamol soon learned that Phuket was a world away from Bangkok.

“Since installing that initial LED billboard, several new players have emerged with LED signs in Phuket Town and Patong,” she said.

In spite of the rising trend, she doesn’t think that LED advertising is ready to boom in Phuket.

“Most companies in Phuket are not so open to new technology. Unlike in Bangkok, local companies have limited advertising budgets, some none at all. Since the local economy is dependent on the tourism sector and dictated by seasonal revenue, cash flow is not steady year round.

“This makes it difficult for a media business to prosper, because you have to deal with a lot of short-term contracts. Moreover, this business requires knowhow for installation and maintenance of the technology, in addition to designing and programming the interactive content, which calls for more time and capital than traditional media,” she continues.

“Most companies here still prefer to use traditional print billboards and posters because they are cheaper and easier to put up. Anyone can make a sign and place it along any road here,” she adds.

When asked about the increased risk of traffic accidents posed by animated roadside media, Miss Chaluckkamol pointed out that her LED billboards are placed at traffic junctions, and thus target stopped traffic.

“We’ve not had any reports or complaints of accidents caused as a result of our LED billboards,” she said.

“When stopped at a light for 100 seconds or more, people are more likely to pay attention without causing danger to other drivers. This is not the case with roadside media that targets moving traffic.

“In our initial research at the Yee Teng complex intersection, 59 per cent of drivers that we surveyed had paid attention [to the LED billboard], and were able to retain what they’d seen,” she said.

Miss Chaluckkamol went on to outline various advantages of digital media, such as flexibility and strategic targeting.

“It’s pretty simple to make instant changes to a message remotely from an iPad. Timing and location are other key factors to consider. For example, our LED billboard at the Yee Teng complex junction runs spot loops from 5.30am to 10.30pm and is ideal for targeting commuters heading to the market and work in the morning.

In contrast, loops at the Weerapong–Hongsyok junction run from 6am to midnight. This location is more advantageous for targeting evening commuters such as those heading to Phuket Town’s entertainment zone,” she said.

As for the future of the LED media in Phuket, Miss Chaluckkamol said she has had to adjust her strategy.

“After realizing that selling spot ads on billboards cannot sustain itself as a stand-alone [business], I’ve had to diversify my approach,” she said.

She went on to share details about plans to launch an even newer marketing medium to Phuket’s business-to-consumer markets. Shifting focus from outdoor to indoor markets, she reveals her latest product, soon to be launched in Phuket.

“Interactive media stations can effectively target specific markets. With the latest technology, this device can scan one’s facial shape to determine if a user is male or female, for example, and then display tailored content,” she said.

She explained that she is currently working out contract details with Central Festival and the Phuket International Airport.

“In addition to business-to-consumer functions, this kind of device is also ideal at government and education institutions to perform regular functions such as scanning and printing documents,” she added.

— Steven Layne

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Thailand

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military

Maya Taylor

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Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook

Facebook has confirmed the removal of 185 accounts run by the Thai military and allegedly involved in information-influencing. The social media giant says the accounts were deleted for engaging in what it calls, “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. In total, 77 accounts, 72 pages, and 18 groups have been removed from the platform, in addition to 18 Instagram accounts. It’s the first time Facebook has taken such action against accounts linked to the Thai government.

The accounts were associated with the Thai military and were targeting people in the southern provinces, Facebook said its regular report on coordinated inauthentic behavior. The south of the country has been the scene of decades-long conflict, with insurgent groups in the majority-Muslim, Malay-speaking region calling for independence. To date, around 7,000 people have died in the ongoing struggle.

Facebook says the deleted accounts were most active last year and used both fake and real accounts to manage pages and groups, both openly military pages and pages that hid their links to the military. Some of the fake profiles pretended to be people from the southern provinces.

The report mentioned a post by the now-removed account named “comprehending the operation” in Thai. The page posted the logo for Amnesty International Thailand and wrote “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role in society. Normal people are not famous. Any case is not big news. They are not worth the investment of foreigners so they will not do anything to help. This is why we don’t see anything from the NGO.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role nor money.”

On another now-removed account, named “truth about my home Pattani” in Thai, a post said “Muslim leader declares southern border is a peace zone. The southern separatists started a movement by spreading the idea that Thailand is under control by different believers so that people would come and fight for their religion. This was declared that the action clearly violates Islam faith.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “Southern border is not Jihad zone.”

When contacted by Reuters, the military had no comment on the removal of the Facebook accounts, with a spokesman saying the organisation does not comment outside of official press conferences.

The head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, has confirmed the reasons behind the platform’s decision.

“This is the first time that we’ve attributed one of our takedowns to links to the Thai military. We found clear links between this operation and the Internal Security Operations Command. We can see that all of these accounts and groups are tied together as part of this operation.”

He adds that the accounts had spent around US$350 on advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. One or more of the pages had about 700,000 followers and at least one of the groups had 100,000 members. Gleicher says the accounts were removed because of their misleading behaviour and not because of the content being posted. The content included support for the military and the monarchy, with allegations of violence and criticism of insurgent groups in the south.

It’s not the first time accounts linked to the Thai military have been removed by a social media platform. In October, Twitter removed 926 accounts it says had links to the army and posted pro-military and pro-government content. The Thai army has denied any involvement with the accounts in question. In November, Twitter also suspended an account posting pro-monarchy content that was found to have links to the palace and to thousands of other accounts posting similar content.

To read the February 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report, click HERE.

SOURCES: Reuters| Facebook

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Central Thailand

Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers

Maya Taylor

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Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

An airline executive has been arrested in the central province of Samut Songkhram, after complaints from150 employees that they had not been paid. Chawengsak Noiprasan, who had a court warrant issued against him in October, was taken to Don Muang police station from a property in the Bang Khan Take sub-district. He is a board member of Siam Air Transport.

The airline began operations in October 2014 with services out of Don Mueang to Hong Kong, using 2 Boeing 737-300s. 2 Boeing 737-800s were added to its fleet in late 2015. It expanded by adding Zhengzhou and Guangzhou in China to its network in early 2015. In late 2015, the airline launched flights to Macau and Singapore. In 2017, the airline ceased all operations.

But according to an article in the Bangkok Post, the carrier operates a number of scheduled and charter flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport. The Post reports that, as Chawengsak signs the company’s legal paperwork, all legal matters concerning the airline fall to him.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau says the executive has admitted to ignoring a 30 day notice issued by the labour inspector and ordering the payment of wages to 150 workers. It’s understood he is also wanted in relation to 7 other cases.

The authorities sought Chawengsak’s arrest following complaints from employees who say they haven’t received their wages for 2 months. It’s understood the airline had previously deferred salary payments for over 8 months. 150 workers filed an official complaint with Don Mueang police and also approached media outlets, asking them to pressure the airline into paying the money owed.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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