Advertising faces tough restrictions
Jan 04, 2013 (Bangkok Post - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Broadcasting content on satellite and cable television channels, particularly of pharmaceutical products, will be strictly controlled by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to govern misleading advertising.
The content restriction measures came after almost all satellite and cable TV operators applied for non-frequency broadcasting licences by the Dec 16 deadline as ordered by the NBTC.
The licences are aimed at reorganising non-frequency broadcasting services into a standard system.
Non-frequency broadcasting licences will be divided into three types: facility provider, infrastructure and channel operator. The licences will be offered for 14-15 years.
Companies receiving licences are strictly required to comply with NBTC broadcasting requirements or the licences will be revoked.
There are some 500 satellite TV channels operating on 20 satellite networks across the country. Col Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the NBTC's broadcasting committee, said the regulator will focus mainly on satellite and cable TV programming.
Even though satellite and cable TV broadcasters have complained the licence fees are too high, they have no choice but to enter the system or may be forced to abandon their business in the future.
The Satellite Television Association, representing some 200 small satellite TV operators, recently criticised the NBTC's licence fee, saying the charge could be considered as duplication of fees.
The association asked the NBTC to reconsider the fee rate, arguing the fee percentage should based on the number of subscribers each operator has, not on gross revenue.
The licences do not cover existing free-TV operators including Thai PBS and pay-TV operator TrueVisions, which broadcast on frequency under a concession system.
Thai PBS operates under a special law and started broadcasting before the NBTC was set up.
Col Natee said the NBTC expects to grant licences for infrastructure and network providers in March and operating licences for digital TV for both public and commercial purposes by June.
The licence for infrastructure providers will cover installing 41 broadcasting towers for digital terrestrial TV service.
The switchover of all households to digital TV is expected to take 10 years.
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