YouTube Thailand was officially launched in May 2014.263 While YouTube users in Thailand have been accessing, viewing, and uploading videos like they used to before YouTube Thailand was launched, this gives content owners, producers, or television broadcasters more business opportunities since they are now able to commercially generate advertising revenue via the Google advertising system.
In 2015, YouTube announced that Thailand was ranked among 10 countries with the highest number of YouTube views and in the same year, YouTube added offline service, in which viewers can download video clips or their favourite shows and store on their device for 48 hours. 264 Apart from this, the company also created a Content Creators community that emphasises collaboration between television programme producers, music programme producers, show producers, and marketers to create their own YouTube.
Data from Socialbaker 265 shows information of YouTube viewing based on subscribers and viewers in Table 6-2 below.
GMM GRAMMY OFFICIAL
GMM GRAMMY GOLD OFFICIAL
Table 6-2: YouTube viewing statistics in Thailand as of August 2016
Telecommunication service providers also place importance on their partnership with YouTube as can be seen in their mobile phone promotion of AIS266 DTAC267 and TRUE268 during 2015 to 2016.
From the above information, we can conclude that during 2015 to 2016, the new OTT TV Providers in Thailand were domestic, regional and international. There are two revenue-generating methods, namely advertisement fee and monthly subscription fee. OTT TV from Content Producers
From studying services of OTT TV from Content Providers, we found that there are still no movie or TV show producers that provide OTT TV service. This is because most television producers have clear contracts in producing contents and programmes for free TV broadcasters, or they are companies within the broadcasting company themselves. For this reason, OTT TV service channel is the same as the free TV service channel, for example Exact Co., Ltd., Sinerio Co., Ltd. and Poly Plus Entertainment Co., Ltd.
OTT TV from Free TV Providers
According to AGB Nielsen’s digital TV ratings from May–July 2016, the top five most popular channels are Channel 7, Channel 3, WORKPOINT, MONO, ONE and Channel 8, respectively.269 These channels provide OTT TV for viewers as well, which gives viewers more choice while also maintaining viewers and creating followers for their channels. After the digital TV auction in 2013, free TV channels increased from 6 to 24 channels and they were sequenced according to National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC)’s announcement. Details of those channels are as follows:
The Royal Thai Army Television Channel 7 was launched in 1967.270 It has 37 substations all over the country271 and with popular programs such as drama, sports and live sports broadcasts. Channel 7 has long been the most popular television channel, and with additional free TV channels, they provide content via OTT TV with the following formats:
Viewing live programmes and aired programmes via the CH.7 website live. Viewers can watch on smartphones or portable devices. Viewing quality is dependent on the Internet connection speed. They started providing this service in 2008.272
Viewing every aired television programme via website and Internet TV programme called Bugaboo. TV, which was developed by Channel 7 themselves. Viewers can download the application and watch on smartphone or portable devices. The channels are categorised as Drama, Series, News, Sports, Variety Show, Music and Entertainment. This service was launched in 2012273 , and since July 2013, viewers can view Bugaboo TV on Smart TV as well.274
Viewing drama and other programmes via Do 7HD application. This application applies Gamification strategy which uses prices and awards as incentives to Chick-in via Channel 7, including answering questions and collecting points to exchange for awards. This service was launched in August 2014.275
Apart from the above, Channel 7 is also present on other online channels such as Facebook and YouTube.
Thailand Color Television Channel 3 is run by BEC World Plc. Co., Ltd. As of 31 December 2015, BEC World group consists of BEC World Plc. Co., Ltd. which operates 24 subsidiary companies and two joint companies. As for terrestrial Digital TV Broadcasting Service Provider business, BEC Multimedia Co., Ltd. (BECM) which is a subsidiary of BEC World, is in charge.
BECM obtained three licences from NBTC, namely 1) General HD Content “CH 3HD Channel33” 2) General SD Content “CH 3SD Channel 28”, and 3) Children, Youth and Family “CH 3Family Channel 13”. All three licences are effective for 15 years starting from 25 April 2015 to 24 April 2029.276 Since Channel 3 was one of the analogue TV broadcasters, they are ranked second in popularity next to Channel 7.
Viewing live and aired television programmes via website and Ch. 3 live application viewable on smartphones or portable devices. Picture quality is dependent on the Internet connection speed.
Viewing certain types of aired programmes online via Internet TV programme called Thai TV3 downloadable on smartphones or portable devices.
Viewing dramas and other programmes via Channel 3’s application. These dramas and television programmes are also presented via other online platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.
Despite the increase in competition among television service providers, the BEC World Group is, nevertheless, interested in providing subscription service and also looking for other broadcasting channels to domestic and international viewers. So far, the group has tried broadcasting to Japan and the US already, and now they are in the process of finding additional co-hosts in other countries. Apart from this, the BEC World Group is also interested in new media business, which is now being run by its subsidiary to explore satellite TV business as well.277
WORKPOINT is one of the Digital Television Broadcasting Network Providers in the general category at SD quality under Thai Broadcasting Co., Ltd. The company started broadcasting officially in the second quarter of 2014, producing television content as well as purchasing television content licence for broadcasting on their own channel. WORKPOINT generates revenue by selling advertising airtime and product promotions during their broadcast. Prior to obtaining digital TV licence, WORKPOINT Channel used to hold a satellite TV licence since 2012, so they have been continuously broadcasting ever since.
According to the information we have collected, WORKPOINT’s OTT TV’s service can be concluded as follows:
In the second quarter of 2015,278WORKPOINT launched an application called WorkpointTV, which enables users to view live broadcasts as well as aired programmes via smartphones or portable devices (both iOS and Android). No fee is charged, and picture quality depends on Internet speed.
Live broadcasts and aired programmes can be viewed on WORKPOINT LIVE TV ONLINE website.
Apart from this, WORKPOINT is also present on other online channels such as Facebook and YouTube.
MONO is one of the Digital Television Broadcasting Network Providers. The company is part of Mono Technology Plc. Co., Ltd. group, and they launched their digital television service in April 2014279, featuring news and entertainment such as movies and series from overseas.
According to the data we have collected, MONO’s OTT TV service can be concluded as follows:
24-hour live broadcasts and aired programmes via MONO29 application, dual soundtrack for selected items, able to manually adjust picture quality. The company features interactions with viewers via Facebook and Twitter applications for them to express their opinions or participate in certain contents. MONO29 also provides notification service when the viewer’s favourite programme is about to be broadcasted as well as sends news and updates.
Mono provides live broadcasts and all kinds of aired programmes via their website called Mthai, which was developed from their existing website.
ONE is one of the HD Digital Television Broadcasting Network Providers. The company is part of GMM Grammy Plc. Co., Ltd. group, and they launched their digital television service in April 2014, featuring their previously existing programmes and also started developing new content since around the end of 2014.
According to the data we have collected, ONE’s OTT TV service can be concluded as follows:
Live TV broadcasting and 24 hours of playback via ONE application and updates on changes in broadcasting schedule. This service was launched in 2014.280
ONE provides live broadcasts and playback of every programme via their website as well as social networks such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.281
Channel 8 is a Digital Television Broadcasting Network Provider in the variety category. The company is under RS Plc. Co., Ltd., and it features new dramas and a variety of programmes. CH8 first went on air in 2014.
According to the data we have collected, CH8’s OTT TV service can be concluded as follows:
24-hour live broadcasts and aired programmes via CH.8 application and updates on changes in broadcasting schedule. This service was launched in 2011. 282
CH.8 channel provides live broadcasts and all kinds of aired programmes via www.thaich8.com and social networks such as Facebook, 283YouTube and Instagram. They started their service in May 2010.284
OTT TV from Pay TV Providers
TrueVisions is the leader of Pay TV in Thailand. Its main source of income are the monthly subscription fees, and it provides both local and overseas contents via satellite, optical cable and coaxial cable. TrueVisions was created by the merging of IBC and YouTV back in 1998.
In 2015, TrueVisions enjoyed high growth in income from both “True4U” digital TV and True Digital HD receiver. There were approximately 600,000 net new subscribers, and the average revenue per subscriber was 523 THB. Music entertainment, advertisement,
and subscription – especially from higher number of subscribers since the second quarter of 2015 due to higher demand in convergent packages285.
TrueVisions provides various packages with different pricing based on number of channels and contents. As of 2016, there are five packages as follows:286
- Happy Family HD 299 THB/month
- Smart Family HD 343 THB/month
- Sport Family HD 413 THB/month
- Super Family HD 629 THB/month
- Gold HD 1,568 THB/month
- Platinum HD 2,155 THB/month
In 2013, TrueVisions started to provide online viewing via portable devices and smartphones for TrueVisions and TruemoveH subscribers. This application is called TrueAnywhere, and it runs on both iOS and Android operating systems. It offers various channels, and viewers can check the TV Guide seven days ahead as well as mark their favourite channels. The application also provides two-hour time-shift and two-day catch-up as well as Video on Demand.287
PSI is a large satellite Pay TV provider in Thailand based on the number of receiver boxes as of 2015. PSI has been producing and selling satellite TV equipment for more than 20 years. Thanks to the increase in television broadcasters via digital television auction, other means of content consumption such as YouTube, and the widespread use of smartphones and smart devices, PSI launched their free live broadcast in 2013 on their application using IP streaming technology (Internet Protocol Streaming), which is a technology used to transfer visual and audio data to web browsers via Internet. Viewers can watch on a real-time basis, and viewing continuity depends on Internet connection speed.288
Service fee depends on type of subscription, size of satellite receiver and receiver box as well as number of receivers. Based on the data we have collected,289 we found that the one-time charge inclusive of installation charge is in the range of 1,000–15,000 THB. PSI also started selling their new PSI O5 hybrid net Android box in the second quarter of 2016. This box allows TV viewing via Internet, provides programme categories, supports air-playing from smartphone to TV screen, and can also boost Wi-Fi signal.290
OTT TV from Telco Providers
Telecommunication usage habits have been shifting from voice to non-voice usage between 2014 and 2016. 291 Non-voice usage became twice as popular as voice usage and therefore, telecommunication service providers in each market also have been adjusting their services in accordance with changing habits. Large telecommunication service providers started to add IPTV as their additional or tie service, for example;
TOT had the highest market share in both retail and wholesale markets of landline phones in 2015.292 TOT started providing Internet TV (TOT IPTV) in 2013 in cooperation with Me Television Co., Ltd. to provide tie-in package with Internet TV receiver box through TOT’s high-speed Internet or any other Internet service provider.293TOT IPTV has two ways of generating revenue, namely 1) No monthly fee and 2) Charging monthly fee, depending on the preferred number of channels of the viewers294.
AIS is the first mobile phone service provider in Thailand and has the biggest market share as of 2015.295 The company started providing high-speed fixed-line Internet, called AIS Fibre, in September 2015.296 The highest speed AIS Fibre can provide is up to 1 gbps and, therefore, AIS offers AIS Playbox as a tie-in service for AIS Fibre users to enjoy Ultra-HD 4K quality. As of August 2016, AIE Fibre service covers 24 provinces including Bangkok and Greater Bangkok.297298 Monthly fee for household use depends on Internet speed and type of customers, but it is in the range of 530–888 THB/month. 298 Viewers can enjoy more than 100 channels of free TV, digital TV, and premium channels as well as buy additional movies and series packages for 119–159 THB/month.299
3BB is a high-speed landline Internet provider with the second-largest market share after TRUE in 2015. The company has been enjoying constant increase in market share since 2012.300 3BB launched 3BB IPTV for 3BB Internet users with 3BB Cloud IPTV in 2015. This service is free of charge for their existing customers, and it also supports smartphones and smart devices for viewing online TV, cable/Internet TV and movies. General users can view only three channels with lower picture quality than 3BB customers.301
It can be seen that all three IPTV providers provide up to 72 hours of time-shifted service as well as video on demand service. All of them support TVs, smartphones, tablets, and computers. However, due to somewhat low revenue growth, these services are mostly tie-in service to maintain customer base and are limited to the same Internet provider. For this reason, it can be said that these services are not fully OTT TV.
In the first quarter of 2016, AIS launched AIS Play application, which was developed from the merging of AIS Movie Store and AIS Live TV application302 (AIE Live TV was launched in 2012). Viewers can watch digital TV, satellite TV, every aired programme within the last seven days, as well as online movies on demand.303 There are four categories, namely News, Entertainment, International, Education and Sports. In the movie category, there are three sub-categories, namely Series, Movie and Cartoons. Most free movies are from GTH studio.
AIS Play supports both iOS and Android, and their customers can automatically log in using AIS’s 3G/4G network. Users can also log in using other providers’ Wi-Fi, but they need to log in using the One-Time Password (OTP) system.304
OTT TV from Collaborated Providers
In our studies, we found out that OTT TV in Thailand is still in the initial stages and, therefore, OTT TV from the collaboration of existing providers is still not clearly established. Overall view of OTT TV Providers in Thailand can be concluded in Figure 6-2.
Figure 6-2: Overall OTT TV Providers in Thailand
From the information above, we can see that there are two main revenue-generating schemes, which are monthly (SVoD) or timely (TVoD) and advertisement (AVod) as shown in Table 6-3.
Type of Service
Starting Monthly Fee (if any)
New OTT TV Service Providers
Good content categorisation
More Thai movies than international
Monthly Fee (SVoD) and Pay-per-View (TVoD)
Emphasis on new Hollywood movies released in theatres in the last 2–3 months and international series