CTH, a leading pay-TV operator, has entered into a joint venture with two Lao telecom firms in a drive to further sublicense its English Premier League (EPL) football broadcasting rights in the neighbouring country.
CTH paid 10 billion baht in exchange for EPL broadcasting rights in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos for three seasons from 2013-16.
Krissanan Ngampatipong, chief executive of CTH, said CTH SSN Television (Laos) is a three-way joint venture between CTH, TK Group, a Laotian telecom and broadcasting firm, and SSN, a leading pay-TV operator in Laos.
The 60-30-10 venture has 100 million baht in registered capital.
SSN, in collaboration with more than 50 local cable operators, provides pay-TV services to some 100,000 subscribers in four major provinces _ Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Sawannakhet and Pak Se.
"As we see huge room to grow in Laos's pay-TV service, we chose a joint-venture option to expand our business operation there," Mr Krissanan said.
Laos has a population of 6.5 million with 300,000 households. Some 70% of the population owns a TV set.
Mr Krissanan said the country's pay-TV service has grown around 7.5% in the past three years. Watching TV is the most popular activity of Laotians.Mr Krissanan said operation of the pay-TV service in Laos would begin next month. Monthly service package rates would be around 600 baht, equal to existing offerings there.
The company will broadcast EPL matches through five channels on standard-definition (SD) quality given the constraints of limited cable lines in the analogue system. It also plans to add some Thai channels.
Mr Krissanan said the company aims to sign up 20,000 subscribers in Laos by December, surging to 200,000 by 2016.
He said the venture firm has also set aside 1 billion baht under a three-year investment budget to upgrade cable lines from analogue to digital. The company plans to rent fibre optic cable lines from the government.
"We aim to break even within three years for the Laos operation," Mr Krissanan said, adding that CTH is also in talks with a Cambodian free TV station operator to sublease EPL rights there.
About the author
- Writer: Saengwit Kewaleewongsatorn
Position: Business Reporter