InTouch, the parent firm of mobile leader AIS, outlined its plan to expand its digital television business by positioning itself as a "TV channel manager" rather than a "broadcaster".
The country's leading telecoms firm bought two sets of bidding documents for digital TV auctions: a standard definition (SD) variety channel and an SD children's channel.
The company's board will decide whether to join one or both bids and submit respective documents to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) next week.
InTouch executive chairman Somprasong Boonyachai said the company is in talks with a few prospective firms about strategic partnership. A conclusion is expected this year.
Potential strategic partners would be existing TV operators, content providers or production houses.
Mr Somprasong said the company will choose strategic partners with strong business contributions, robust financial health and a similar organisational culture.
"We need no more than two strategic partners for our digital TV," he said. He declined to identify the number of shares a partner would be allowed to hold in InTouch, nor did he comment when asked whether VoiceTV and Kantana Group were expected to become its prospective partners.
Mr Somprasong said InTouch wants to position itself as the Terminal 21 mall for digital TV, where a variety of boutique shops or content are featured using state-of-the-art facilities.
He admitted a strategic partnership is needed because InTouch lacks experience in the digital TV business, including content. But he expressed confidence the company could acquire the content needed for digital TV.
Mr Somprasong also expects the synergy from the group's satellite and mobile businesses will provide great potential for InTouch's new digital TV service.
The NBTC is scheduled to auction four licence categories with 24 licences in December. They are seven HD variety channel licences with a starting price of 1.51 billion baht per licence; seven SD variety channel licences with a starting price of 380 million baht; seven SD news channel licences with a starting price of 220 million; and three SD children's channel licences with a starting price of 140 million.
The NBTC is set to award licences by March 2014. All bid winners have to launch their digital TV services within 30 days after receiving licences.
About the author
- Writer: Komsan Tortermvasana
Position: Senior Business Reporter