Nuttachai Arksorndit, chief executive of MSS Cable TV Co, won an election to become the TCTA’s president yesterday, replacing Suraphol Seeprasert.
About 90% of cable TV operators are on the analogue system. If they can transform to the digital system, they will be able to survive and compete with other broadcasters on free, satellite and digital networks.
To upgrade to the digital system, cable operators need to transmit their TV signals via a network of fibre optic lines, which are used for broadband internet.
“After having fibre optic lines, we want member cable TV operators to develop with advanced technology to provide communications services including pay TV and broadband internet. This will help them expand to become telecom operators within the next two years,” Mr Nuttachai said.
Most people aged under 35 do not like to subscribe to pay-TV services as they prefer watching TV on the internet. If cable TV operators want to attract this group, they should provide broadband internet.
The TCTA will advise cable equipment companies to lower their prices but maintain high quality. It will ask financial institutions to provide financial support to small cable TV operators.
Mr Nuttachai said there are about 300 cable TV operators nationwide. The first group are in the system operated by CTH, the largest cable operator, and the TCTA will help them by asking CTH to revise some unfair conditions.
The second group operate in the multi-system network and provide both pay-TV and internet services. The third group have their cable TV signal transmission in the digital system. The last group are small operators who have analogue signal transmissions and lack financial back-up.
The stronger groups will help the last group upgrade their signal technology.
TCTA consultant Kasem Inkaew said about 100 small cable TV operators are expected to go out of business this year if they lack financial support to transform their digital signal systems.
“Small cable TV operators transmit their signals under the analogue system to 3 million households,” he said.
If the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission’s subsidy voucher includes cable and satellite TV operators, the move will help small and medium-sized players.
Cable TV has been hugely affected by the rise of satellite TV and will be hit more by the rise of digital TV. Local content and extra services such as broadband internet will be a solution to help them survive in the competitive market.
Cable TV operators agreed in principle that the digital TV subsidy coupon should cover pay-TV subscriptions and boxes could not be returned.