CTH adds capacity for digital
Cable group to invest B8bn in two years
Cable Thai Holding (CTH), a joint venture of local cable television operators, will invest 8 billion baht over the next two years to bolster its broadcasting network capacity ahead of the upcoming transition to digital TV.
The investment budget also includes its agreement with TOT Plc signed yesterday. Under the non-exclusive contract, CTH will rent the state telecom enterprise's optic fibre as its core network to serve the group's 345 cable TV operator members nationwide.
CTH was set up in 2009 by about 100 cable TV operators to act as the supplier of content and programmes for its cable-TV operator members.
The synergy between the broadcasters and the telecom service provider provides opportunities for the government's Smart Thailand scheme.
Wichai Thongtang, a major shareholder of CTH, said the company will increase its bandwidth-hungry high definition programmes from the current 16 to 120 channels.
Mr Wichai, an investor and former lawyer of ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, in partnership with Vachara Vacharapol, the chief executive of Trend VG3, a subsidiary of Vacharapol that publishes Thai Rath daily, took over CTH in April.
Mr Wichai acquired a 25% stake in CTH for 250 million baht. Mr Vachara acquired another 25% on his own behalf. Another 30% is held by 250 CTH members.
Mr Wichai said he was in talks with GMM Grammy to hold the remaining 20% stake in CTH for 230 million baht. "We expect to conclude the deal by September," he said, adding that Grammy expressed strong interest in taking part as it wants CTH to support its future cable-TV and TV-content businesses.
GMM Z, the satellite TV arm of GMM Grammy, says it will launch its new TV channel called "Hit Channel" on July 19. The free TV-like channel will feature news programmes, soap operas and a variety of entertainment.
Mr Wichai added CTH plans to list on the Stock Exchange of Thailand market in the near future.
CTH has registered capital of 1 billion baht, but paid up capital was 800 million baht.
CTH's members have more than 3.5 million household customers. "We expect to have 10 million households within the next five years," said Mr Wichai.
Mr Wichai said CTH chose TOT's network as the state's bandwidth capacity covered the group member's facilities.
After the company completes its nationwide cable network installation, he said CTH could earn revenue from network rental services and advertising from members, instead of only cable TV programmes. TOT has a network capacity of 320 gigabytes.
By Komsan Tortermvasana
12 July 2012