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Telly just like back home

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Telly just like back home | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: As expats, we all have things that we miss about our home countries. For me, I have to say what I miss the most is American television. I miss having hundreds of channels (all in English) that I can watch whenever I want. There’s nothing quite like ESPN, HBO, Showtime, Starz(NASDAQ:STRZA) and AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX)with their hit programs like Breaking Bad and Mad Men.

The first thing I did when I knew that I was moving to Thailand was sign up for NetflixNASDAQ:NFLX) thinking I could watch shows online. After all, Netflix is one of my favorite stocks and has been a huge winner for me. The stock is up about 375% in the past year! Unfortunately, when I got to Thailand I discovered that Netflix doesn’t work here. I assumed that Netflix worked everywhere. Boy was I wrong!

Then I decided to get Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)TV. It works, but I have had to purchase each show individually through iTunes and, as I soon discovered, that can get expensive… fast! I then went the route many of us go and surfed the web looking for clips on YouTube. It’s still not what I wanted though because I want to watch complete shows.

I was explaining my situation to a regular attendee of my seminars for the Chiang Mai Money Club and he told me that he has a Slingbox. He explained that a Slingbox is hooked up to your cable box so you can then watch your cable TV subscription wherever you have an Internet connection. The problem I have is with this possibility, is that I have canceled my cable service back home, since I’m gone for so long at a time.

I started thinking that one of the cable or satellite providers must offer the type of service I’m looking for. As a shareholder in Sprint (NYSE:S), I soon realized that the CEO of DISH Network (NASDAQ:DISH) has the same vision as I do. DISH CEO Charlie Ergen believes in cutting the cord and that TV should be viewed on mobile devices anywhere at anytime. Checking out DISH’s website, I soon discovered that they offer what I’m looking for with “DISH Anywhere”.

This is the future of television. That’s why DISH wanted to buy Sprint. DISH wants to bundle its satellite television service with your mobile plan and connect all facets of your life. Even though DISH lost the bidding war over Sprint, the firm has been buying wireless spectrum to fulfill Ergen’s vision. Even here in Thailand, the government has been selling spectrum licenses worth billions of dollars. Spectrum is extremely valuable.

While I have not signed up for the “DISH Anywhere” package yet, I have purchased shares in DISH. DISH Network has a market cap of US$20 billion and is the second largest satellite cable provider in the US after DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV). There is some speculation that the two satellite providers could merge, but that remains to be seen because the FCC blocked a potential merger between the two over 10 years ago. A merger would be great for both companies and reduce their overheads by billions of dollars. I like Direct TV stock too, as its price has moved up 200% since March 2009. It has emerged as a strong leadership stock out of the banking financial crisis.

Shares of DISH Network have risen 44% in the past year. The company is sitting on almost $10 billion in cash for acquisitions and the forward price to earnings ratio (P/E) is a reasonable 22. But what I like most about DISH Network is the vision of CEO and founder Charlie Ergen. He knows the business and has amassed a fortune of over US$10 billion for himself in building the company. It’s safe to say he has a vested interest in this new model of TV distribution and has the most to gain going forward.

Shares of Netflix are getting a little pricey. The company’s P/E is an astronomical 353. However, the company’s growth potential is enormous just by looking at the map of countries where Netflix is unavailable. As we know here in Thailand, the demand for all things American is huge, and there’s a growing middle class that is becoming more sophisticated with computers and mobile devices. Just take a look at how many Thais are using Facebook (NASDAQ:FB),Google and Skype thesedays.

I just returned from the US and am considering signing up for the “DISH Anywhere” package. I’m looking forward to being able to access my favorite shows and watch what I want, when I want. As I’m able to do more things here that I was able to do in the US, I find the desire to go back less and less and I’m able to make my home in Thailand the ultimate paradise!

Don Freeman is president of Freeman Capital Management, a Registered Investment Advisor with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), based in Phuket, Thailand. He has over 15 years experience and provides personal financial planning and wealth management to expatriates. Specializing in UK and US pension transfers. Call 089-970-5795 or email: freemancapital@gmail.com. Call to discuss ways to reduce portfolio fees and get your account growing efficiently.

Keep checking our online Phuket Businesspages, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter @PhuketGazette for local and national business news.

— Don Freeman

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

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

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.

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 companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

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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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January

Maya Taylor

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Vietjet

Passenger numbers on domestic flights within Thailand have doubled within a month, rising from 4,000 in January to over 10,000 this month. Having nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels, domestic travel plummeted once more when Covid-19 resurfaced late last year.

Apirat Chaiwongnoi from the Department of Airports says 15 of Thailand’s 29 airports are now operating domestic flights, with more expected to follow. He believes the aviation sector will continue to recover further in the coming 6 months, bolstered by the national vaccine rollout.

Around 120 domestic flights a day are now operating, which is twice the number that were operating at the lowest point in the crisis. Prior to the resurgence of the virus in December, domestic passenger numbers had recovered to 30,000 – 40,000 a day, around 80% of pre-pandemic numbers.

The DoA says airports must continue to adhere to the Covid-19 hygiene measures put in place by the Health Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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