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Phuket set to benefit from national boom in cable and satellite TV

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket set to benefit from national boom in cable and satellite TV | Thaiger

PHUKET: Improved technology and higher quality shows could mean a wider variety of content and lower subscription prices for Phuket’s television viewers.

Nationally, cable and satellite television appears to be on a roll, with market penetration expected to reach 80% of the households in the Kingdom this year, up from an earlier projection of 50%. Industry leaders define the market universe at 20 million homes, with Phuket having a far higher percentage of Satellite subscribers than most provinces outside of Bangkok.

Niphon Naksompop, Chairman of the Satellite Television Association of Thailand, said last week that the boom is fueled by a trend which sees many traditional content producers moving into broadcasting itself.

The content providers are also seen to be upgrading programming quality, acquiring transmission technology, and going overseas where necessary for satellite coverage.

Additionally, cable TV operators in Bangkok and throughout the country have banned together to form Cable Television Holdings (CTH) to build public awareness of their services and to raise funds from their more than 100 members to import foreign content on a cost-sharing basis.

GMM Grammy, the nation’s largest music and entertainment company, is now focusing on its satellite-broadcasting initiative in addition to its traditional role as a content provider. Next month, the company will introduce its 1 Sky set-top boxes with an ambitious target of 2.5 billion baht in revenue for the first year.

Another positive factor driving the growth of satellite and cable TV at a rate faster than free-to-air TV is the growth in consumer purchasing power experienced in the first nine months of this year.

According to Thanawat Surachetkomsan of Phuket Cable, operator of one of the two largest networks in Phuket, technology has been a major driver.

“Thailand’s Thaicom satellite is now operating at full capacity, with all of its transponders sold out. But this has not stopped the growth of satellite television in the Kingdom because internet technology and greater bandwidth now enable Thailand’s content producers to send their shows overseas for distribution.

“Some go to Singapore for the satellite service, but the big players in the region are Hong Kong and Taiwan, with the former operating AsiaSat and the latter providing capacity aboard its NS6,” he says.

According to Mr Thanawat, Phuket now has about ten cable companies, with his company and KPP Cable being the largest. What drives their growth, which he describes as “moderate”, is competitive pricing. Phuket Cable, for example, now offers its subscribers 80 channels for just 350 baht a month, he notes.

Among the English-language programs offered by Phuket’s cable networks and their affiliates is the weekly show of the Phuket Gazette‘s PGTV, aired daily on Phuket Cable.

As reported earlier, PGTV, using the same game-changing technology cited by Mr Thanawat, will launch two ‘made-in-Phuket’ shows, Phuket Lifestyle and Phuket Talk, on UBC/True visions early next month. The weekly show files will be sent to True through the internet for uplink to their satellite.

Though cable and satellite TV is growing by leaps and bounds, advertising spending remains limited among the handful of big-name content providers such as Grammy, RS and JSL Global Media, as well as Work Point Entertainment who will launch their own satellite TV later this year.

— Phuket Gazette / Nation reporters

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

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Field hospitals being established in Covid hot zones around Thailand

Tim Newton

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Field hospitals being established in Covid hot zones around Thailand | Thaiger

Despite the confident posture and Songkran going ahead, amid restrictions, there is a lot of background activity which suggest the authorities are getting ready for a surge of new infections at the end of the Songkran break, officially this Thursday (but in reality, next Sunday at the end of the weekend when most people who travelled home will return for a resumption of work).

The Thai lunar new year celebrations – Songkran – are the largest mass movement of Thais each year, a source for a huge leap in road deaths and accidents. And, this year, a potential super-spreader event.

Quietly, at least 3,000 extra beds have been prepared in 10 field hospitals around Bangkok. The government has also confirmed that additional field hospitals are being set up in other potential ‘hot zones’, including Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chonburi and Hua Hin. Some of them were set up last year, and since closed, and now being prepared for new positive infections.

One Thai person who had been in one of the field hospitals put together a check-list of things to take IF you end up as an invited ‘guest’ HERE.

The CCSA say they are looking for additional beds in hotels and previous state quarantine facilities (where repatriating Thais were housed for their free quarantine) to be used if needed.

This year’s Songkran had bad timing, coming just a week after a number of major clusters were identified around some of Bangkok’s popular nightlife areas in 3 key inner city districts. Even before Songkran these isolated clusters had already spread into the provinces. In the weekend before Songkran the government had already listed 37 provinces which had instigated some form of paperwork or restrictions for people who had been in any of the 3 Bangkok districts.

The government also leapt on the source of the new outbreaks – bars, clubs and entertainment venues – and promptly shut them down for at least 2 weeks. At this stage it looks likely that that ban will be extended beyond the 2 weeks and, depending on the extent of new infections following the Songkran holiday, additional restrictions will also be added.

Even today the Civil Aviation Authority published a number of new in-flight restrictions for passengers – another blow to the hard-hit domestic aviation sector.

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Chiang Mai

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half

Tim Newton

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Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | Thaiger

The TAT, ever the optimists regarding anything tourism related, even domestic tourism, predict that the Bangkok clusters that have emerged in the week before the Songkran break could reduce traffic and spending by up to half.

Today the CCSA is reporting 789 new infections and one additional death. 522 were local infections, mostly walk-ins to Bangkok hospitals, 259 were discovered through track and tracing. The remaining 8 were found in quarantine from overseas arrivals. In Phuket, another 17 cases have been reported today, taking the island’s week total to 43.

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | News by ThaigerGRAPH: Worldometer figures for Thailand, up to April 9

A 68 year old man from Nakhon Pathom province died on April 4 but wasn’t reported until today. The CCSA report that he died from Covid and “complications”. 33 other former patients have recovered and been discharged.

Last week the TAT estimated 3.2 million domestic trips would circulate 12 billion baht for the Thai economy. But the Tourism Authority has now slashed their estimates by half after hotels, airlines and bus companies reported mass cancellations in the last few days. Other provinces are reporting less than 20% cancellations. Although this weekend will see a lot of travel, Songkran doesn’t formally start until next Tuesday and the TAT expect there could be additional fallout as travellers decide to have a staycation for Songkran instead heading home.

Bangkok Post reports that 70% of travellers to Prachuap Khiri Khan and Hua Hin have already cancelled hotel bookings. Similar cancellations have been reported in Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Many other provinces, particularly in the north east and north, are also enforcing quarantine on arrivals or additional paperwork to try and protect their provinces from any of the Bangkok clusters.

8 north eastern provinces rare now requiring 10 or 14 day quarantine periods for anyone arriving from areas where new clusters have been reported. Chiang Mai provincial officials say that tourists from Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi – basically Bangkok and surrounding provinces – must complete a 14 day mandatory quarantine or conduct a test for Covid when they arrive.

The reality is that the travel and quarantine changes are outstripping the ability to communicate them all. Anyone crossing into other provinces in the next few day, especially if you’re travelling from Bangkok and surrounding provincial ‘red zones’ can expect some additional paperwork or a Covid test. Or even quarantine.

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Education

Phuket student protests and is flunked as “not loyal to the nation”

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Phuket student protests and is flunked as “not loyal to the nation” | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Student protests led to one student not graduating due to being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”

After participating in protests for student’s rights, a Phuket student was barred from graduating 9th grade, moving from middle school to high school, charged with being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”. The student had advocated against mandatory uniforms and for student’s liberties. He told reporters that the school started paying attention to his actions last year when he participated in rallies in solidarity with students across Thailand. The school’s student affairs office received a copy of posts he made on social media encouraging others to join the cause. The school ordered a stop to his political actions, but he and his friends disregarded warnings and violated school rules when they handed out white ribbons to classmates. They received a warning from the student affairs office.

Student protests have increased after pro-democracy demonstrations surged in July last year, empowering many Thai people to speak out against injustices, including students’ rights and liberties. People from schools across the nation have been banding together in solidarity to bring their issues to public light.

On graduation day, all the students were promoted into high school, except for the one student protestor, says the Bad Student protest group. The theme of the day focused on dedication to the monarchy, country and religion, and specifically how students should be obedient. The student said he has received support from friends, but his parents remain neutral and his teachers have been completely silent on the matter. He is frustrated that he was punished for his right to express himself. He plans on testing with incoming students to re-enrol in the same school, and if he is not accepted because of the disloyalty charge, he will pursue legal ramifications, suing the school for blocking his right to an education over the student’s protests.

The student believes he needs to speak out to prevent school administrators from imposing on more students’ rights. He advocates for diversity in schools and ending prejudices, with increased liberties and freedoms for students.

“Schools must teach children to be able to think by themselves, not force children to think like them. Schools should create opportunities for students to express their ideas more freely.”

SOURCE: Prachatai

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