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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Marriage could end conflict; True, CTH battle for TV top spot; Haircut changes raise eyebrows

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Will this marriage end conflicts?
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Chayapa Wongsawat and Lynal Nam, an official attached to the Office of the Cambodian Cabinet, will be tying the knot at Plaza Athenee in Bangkok tomorrow.

Lynal is the son of Uan Wanlee and tycoon Seang Nam, who is also a key member of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), a Siem Reap MP and Hun Sen’s close aide.

The love story began when Chayapa’s mum, Yaowapa, met and became close friends with Lynal’s mother Uan.

“One day, when my wife was in Cambodia for business, she spoke to Chayapa on Skype. This was when Madam Uan saw our daughter and introduced her to her son. Since then the two began speaking to each other regularly,” Somchai recounted.

The bond became even stronger when, on a visit to Thailand with his mother, Lynal decided to take a side trip to Chiang Mai to meet Chayapa in person.

After that, Lynal started visiting Thailand frequently, especially since many of his relatives have been seeking medical treatment in Thai hospitals. He also met Chayapa’s family when they visited Cambodia for business.

After two years of friendship, Lynal’s parents decided to ask Somchai if their son could marry Chayapa.

Somchai said that initially he rejected the marriage proposal because his daughter was preparing to sit for an exam to become a public prosecutor. However, he conceded when asked again because his would-be son-in-law was a decent man from a good family and his daughter was confident in their love.

Thaksin will not be attending the wedding or wishing the bride and groom well over Skype, Somchai said, adding that the ousted former PM had already blessed the couple in person earlier.

True, CTH battle for TV top spot
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The battle for the 5-billion-baht pay-TV market is heating up with the two major operators, TrueVisions and CTH, launching new strategies to woo more subscribers.

About 4.1 million households subscribed to cable TV services last year, making up 20 per cent of the 22 million total households in Thailand, according to market research company Nielsen (Thailand).

TrueVisions, the current market leader, is turning its focus to the mass market, offering new affordable packages as a part of its key strategy to retain existing customers after losing the rights to broadcast English Premier League (EPL) football for the next three seasons.

CTH, formerly known as Cable Thai Holdings PLC, is spending over Bt200 million to introduce its new logo and brand image and a series of marketing campaigns throughout this year to build consumer confidence. CTH, the new national player, recently beat TrueVisions by snapping up the broadcasting rights of the EPL over the next three seasons.

The two major players held separate press events yesterday at Bangkok venues close to each other.

Apart from CTH, newcomers are eyeing a bigger share of this business, namely GMM Z and RS. This will intensify the fierce competition in the more-than Bt5.24-billion pay-TV market this year, according to the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA).

CASBAA is an industry-based advocacy group dedicated to the promotion of multi-channel TV via cable, satellite, broadband and wireless video networks across the Asia-Pacific region.

To emphasise this point, TrueVisions yesterday staged a mega-event, “Visions Ahead Magenta Night Party”, to thank more than 1,000 business partners and other associates from around the world.

At the 20-million-baht event, the company also launched two new packages: Super Knowledge, with 116 channels at Bt590 per month, and Super Sport with 95 channels at Bt495 per month.

Anat Mekpaiboonvatana, managing director of TrueVisions, said both packages would be gap-fillers, placed between the premium Platinum and Gold packages and the low-end Knowledge package. The Premium package price starts at Bt1,568 per month while the Knowledge package goes for Bt299 per month.

TrueVisions expected to lure a total of more than 100,000 new subscribers to each of the new packages.

“TrueVisions is always the king of content, namely movies, sports, knowledge and variety entertainment,” Anat said.

Apart from quality contents, True Visions says that its competitive strength also comes from package, high-definition (HD) technology, service and special privileges.

Ong-ard Prapakamol, chief commercial officer of TrueVisions, said that in the second half of this year, the company allocated an extra marketing budget of Bt200 million on top of the regular marketing budget of Bt400 million. This extra budget will be used for marketing activities and promotions to attract new customers and to retain existing subscribers after the current season of the EPL comes to an end this month.

The company estimates its churn rate – a measure of subscriber loss – will see just a single-digit drop after the loss of the EPL. Currently, TrueVisions has about 2 million viewers. Of those, 800,000 are pay-subscribers and the remainder are free viewers.

CTH yesterday unveiled its new logo as part of its plan to create digital broadband services and related services such as home-shopping, market research and data services via its platform within the next two years. After that, the company plans to expanding its fibre-optic infrastructure network across the country, a project that should be completed in three years.

The advanced fibre-optic cable network will allow cable-TV operators to offer a wide range of services through cable lines, including Web-based services such as Internet protocol television (iPTV) on top of improved-definition programmes.

Under this development, the company aimed to generate Bt100 billion in revenue within the next two years, Kittsanan Ngampathipong, CTH chief executive officer, said yesterday

On June 21, CTH will launch its full service, providing 140 channels including 34 high-definition (HD) channels, to allow customers to watch 380 live EPL soccer matches during the new season.

“I believe that the content that CTH has on hand is the best choice for our target audience,” the CEO said.

The services will be available via its 170 local cable-TV operators. In three years, the company expects to have 7 million subscribers, compared to 2.5 million this year.

Kittsanan added that his company would spend more than Bt200 million on marketing campaigns to promote its brand and packages.

The company is also investing more than Bt300 million in five studios for in-house TV production and broadcasting.

CTH became one of the country’s major cable-TV operators after Wichai Thongtang, a former lawyer of ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, acquired a stake in the company in partnership with a Thai Rath executive.

Of CTH’s shares, 30 per cent are owned by local cable TV operators, 25 per cent are Wichai’s and 25 per cent are held by Vachara Vacharaphol, CEO of Trend VG3, a subsidiary of the company that publishes the Thai Rath daily newspaper. CTH said it welcomes new investors to hold the remaining stakes.

CTH secured audio and visual broadcasting rights of the EPL for territory in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos for three seasons from this year. This is considered “killer” sports content.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai government expects to open vaccine registration to foreigners by August

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz on Unsplash

A Health Ministry spokesperson has confirmed that foreigners living in Thailand should be able to register for Covid-19 vaccination by August. Ratchada Thanadirek says the government is working on a dedicated registration platform for foreign nationals living in the Kingdom, which it’s hoped will be ready in 3 months’ time.

Meanwhile, Thai Visa News reports that vaccine registration for Thais has been extended to those aged between 18 and 59 years old, who can now sign up from May 31. Registration had initially been limited to Thai nationals over the age of 60, as well as those with underlying health conditions. However, the third wave of the virus means registration for younger Thais has been brought forward from July.

Thai nationals can register for vaccination through the Mor Prom platform or the Mor Prom Line account. They can also register at government hospitals. According to Ratchada, the vaccines that will be used in the government rollout will primarily be AstraZeneca, manufactured in-country by Siam Bioscience.

However, she points out that there are 3 other vaccines that have been approved by the Thai Food and Drug Administration. They are the Chinese-made Sinovac, the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and the vaccine from US manufacturer, Moderna. The latter is expected to be available for purchase at private hospitals, although there has been no confirmation of when supplies might arrive.

SOURCE: Thai Visa News

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Some Covid-19 restrictions relaxed across Thailand, fewer “dark red” provinces

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Facebook/PR Thai Government

The Thai government has relaxed some Covid-19 restrictions across the country, while downgrading the risk level of a number of provinces. The number of provinces designated as “strictly controlled” areas, or “dark red” zones, has been reduced from 6 to 4. They are Bangkok and the central provinces of Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, and Samut Prakan.

So, what, if anything, has changed where you are? Below is a summary of the situation across the country, courtesy of TAT News.

The “red zone” or “maximum control” areas now consist of the following 17 provinces:

Central Thailand: Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ratchaburi, and Samut Sakhon

Eastern Thailand: Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, and Rayong

Northern Thailand: Tak

Southern Thailand: Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Ranong, Songkhla, Surat Thani, and Yala.

There are now 56 provinces designated as “orange” or “controlled areas”, up from 26. They are as follows:

Central Thailand: Ang Thong, Chai Nat, Lop Buri, Nakhon Nayok, Samut Songkhram, Saraburi, Sing Buri, and Suphan Buri

Eastern Thailand: Chanthaburi, Prachin Buri, Sa Kaeo, and Trat

Northern Thailand: Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Nakhon Sawan, Phayao, Phetchabun, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phrae, Sukhothai, Uthai Thani, and Uttaradit

North-Eastern Thailand: Amnat Charoen, Bueng Kan, Buri Ram, Chaiyaphum, Kalasin, Khon Kaen, Loei, Maha Sarakham, Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Nong Khai, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, Si Sa Ket, Surin, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, and Yasothon

Southern Thailand: Chumphon, Krabi, Pattani, Phang Nga, Phatthalung, Phuket, Satun, and Trang.

Restaurants across the country can now resume in-house dining, with various restrictions based on their risk status. In the dark red zones, dining in is permitted until 9pm, with take away service allowed until 11pm. In red zones, dining in has been extended to 11pm. In orange zones, dining-in hours can return to normal. Of note, however, is that the ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol in restaurants remains in force across the country.

All other disease prevention measures remain in place, including mandatory mask-wearing outside of the home and the closure of “high risk” venues such as nightclubs, bars, karaoke bars, and massage parlours. Department stores, shopping malls and community malls must close by 9pm and refrain from holding promotional activities.

In dark red zones, there is a ban on gatherings of more than 20 people, with this number extended to 50 people in red and orange zones. In Phuket, an orange zone, officials have stipulated a ban on people visiting each other’s homes, with only those residing at a property permitted to be there.

In dark red and red provinces, convenience stores and markets can only open between 4am and 11pm, while they can return to normal operating hours in orange zones. In addition, people in dark red zones are urged to cancel interprovincial travel or to submit to strict health screening. Businesses in the private sector are asked to allow employees work from home if possible.

SOURCE: TAT News

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE Wednesday: 3,394 new infections and 29 deaths

Tim Newton

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Today the public health department has reported 3,394 new cases and 29 new Covid-related deaths. 1,498 of today’s cases come from Thailand’s prisons (more below). Taking the shameful inmate toll out of the equation and the trend is still steady with around 2,000 – 2,500 new cases each day over the past 3 weeks across Thailand.

Around the world the trends for new infections and deaths are starting to fall quite quickly.

Covid UPDATE Wednesday: 3,394 new infections and 29 deaths | News by Thaiger

• Roll up, roll up your sleeves. But the Thai PM says… hold on! PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has poured cold water on walk-in vaccination centres for Covid vaccinations. In the past week the public health department has been rushing to set up private vaccination locations around the country to hasten the roll out of vaccines for the first public vaccine category next month.

PM Prayut told a cabinet meeting yesterday he didn’t prefer the idea of the walk-in centres (Central Lad Phrao was already to open as yesterday) because “people would turn up in droves causing chaos”. He was particularly worried about centre around Bangkok where there is a population of 8 million+

The PM has asked that the Mor Prom app is working properly with registrations preferred so the Government can monitor the demand and act accordingly. The government says they’re working on an English, and other languages, version of Mor Prom to open registration for non-Thais soon.

• The Department of Corrections reports that there are now 11,670 prisoners infected with Covid in 13 prisons across Thailand.

• A major Japanese medical association is calling on Tokyo and the International Olympic Committee to cancel the 2020 Tokyo Games. The Games are set to start on July 23.

The appeal, made in a letter to Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga and comes amid concerns that the health-care system in Asia’s second-largest economy cannot accommodate both the potential medical needs of thousands of international athletes, coaches and media while fighting yet another spike in coronavirus infections.

• The Chon Buri (including Pattaya) public health officials announced 39 new and confirmed cases of Covid and 1 more death today. According to The Pattaya News, “officials are asking for the public to remain working from home if possible and especially to avoid small social gatherings with people who are not members of your own household until the situation improves”.

As usual we will have an update of all the provincial totals this afternoon.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | FRB

 

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