Siam Sport Syndicate Plc, the country's sports media giant, is shifting its business interest from print to new media with an aim to double its revenue to 4 billion baht within five years.
NO MORE MR NICE GUY
A number of illegal signal-converting set-top boxes seized by the Department of Special Investigation were displayed at a press conference on Thursday. CTH has sought help from the agency to suppress cable TV piracy, particularly as the English Premier League is screened on premium channels. DSI chief Tharit Pengdit (middle) is gesturing while CTH chief financial officer Wanchai Srisuchon (left) looks on. TAWATCHAI KHEMGUMNERD
"Next year is our big step as we go for digital TV and online media. It's a business shift from print, which we have operated for 20 years," said CEO Pongsakdi Polanant.
Siam Sport formed I-sport Media, a joint venture with Samart Corporation, to join the digital TV auctions in December. I-sport Media has 100 million baht in registered capital.
For the first year, I-sport Media will invest about 100 million baht on broadcasting facilities such as production devices and studios.
It aims to share 10% of the total ad spending on TV worth 70 billion baht last year, thanks to the increase in sports marketing and sponsorship. If it reaches this goal, its digital TV unit will break even in three years.
Sports marketing is increasing in popularity with both mass audiences and niche customer groups. That popularity is reflected in increased bids for the broadcast rights of the Toyota Thai Premier League (TPL) to 1.8 billion baht for 2014-16, 10 times higher than the previous three seasons.
The TPL is also drawing more Thai soccer fans, up to 1.5 million last year, an increase of 87% from 800,000 in 2009.
Siam Sport, the operator of TPL broadcast rights, will organise broadcast rights bidding for the TPL in other Asean countries.
Mr Pongsakdi said the Incheon Asian Games and Fifa World Cup next year will lead to greater marketing expenditure through sports media.
Sports is a growing industry in Thailand, with more professional athletes in volleyball, football, boxing and badminton, he added.
Siam Sport has a head start as the only player in sports content, particularly news, said Mr Pongsakdi. There's room to grow for media and content providers to deliver content via every communication platform, like in other developed countries such as the US, Japan and South Korea.
Siam Sport holds the global broadcast rights for many sports news programmes and the South American soccer league. It also provides TV programmes to CTH, TrueVisions and MCOT's Channel 9.
Recently it began cooperating with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to organise Thai boxing competitions for the heavyweight division, which it will promote worldwide.
The company plans to acquire the broadcast rights for two more international sport competitions, but cannot disclose any details.