Bugaboo TV was developed by a free TV provider, the Bangkok Broadcasting & TV Co., Ltd. (Channel 7), with the business purpose of providing access to viewers on the internet. Viewers can download a Bugaboo TV application and watch entertainment shows, news, as well as aired programmes, on smartphones and other portable devices. The channels of Bugaboo are categorised into drama, news, sports, variety shows, music and entertainment.
Since its launch in 2012, Bugaboo developed without collecting fees from viewers. However, even though it has long been a popular free TV channel, Bugaboo was not well received. It has only 31,341 viewers per day and an advertising revenue of 11,220 THB per day337337in comparison with their official YouTube channel, CH7, which has up to 1.1 million subscribers. This is because the viewers live upcountry from Bangkok, and have limited access to high-speed internet or other means of accessing information. Moreover, CH7 already provides viewing access via other social networks.
Figure 6-14: SWOT analysis of Bugaboo TV
Looking at OTT TV providers who generate revenue from advertising, it can be concluded that these players have somewhat limited funds to provide content. This is because they tend to form alliances with content owners or their contents come from the viewers themselves but the contents are still rich in variety. Investment funds and online video viewing technology vary amongst the providers, and depends on their business models. The largest and most popular provider in 2015 was YouTube. There are new providers, such as LINE TV, that take advantage of their existing communication channels to provide OTT TV providers with advertising fees. Such players need to be careful because their commercial videos may negatively affect the viewing experience and result in lower popularity.
Non-revenue-generating OTT TV providers
This section discusses OTT TV providers who do not generate revenue from OTT TV, but offer services as add-on features for telecommunication service providers, such as Pay TV providers and mobile telephone service providers, in order to differentiate themselves from competitors and to maintain their market share. These providers are TrueVisions Anywhere of TrueVision and AIS Play of AIS.
TrueVision Anywhere is an OTT TV provider developed and marketed by TrueVisions, a large Pay TV provider who aims to be the best provider in Thailand by providing the greatest variety of content.338This service was developed in response to the change in viewing behaviour from single screen to multi-screen. The company has invested 460 million THB to develop TrueVisions Anywhere and to support cloud services in the future. TrueVision expects approximately 350,000 users in the initial stage.339
TrueVisions Anyway offers up to 50 channels of free TV in various categories, and up to 120 channels of variety shows, sports, cartoons and series. Thai soundtracks and subtitles, as well as HD visual quality, are available. A two-hour time-shift is provided for live broadcasts and a two-day time-shift for other aired videos. The number of available channels depends on subscription packages and the viewer can choose to add more channels by paying additional fees. TrueVision Anywhere's subscription fee is somewhat higher than those of other OTT TV providers due to the higher costs of the contents, which may negatively affect existing customers, as well as potentially new customers who are considering signing up. In addition, piracy and the emergence of new OTT TV providers are still challenging TrueVisions' revenue and customer base.
Figure 6-15: Business model and SWOT analysis of TrueVisions Anywhere
AIS Play is an OTT TV application further developed from AIS’s live and movie broadcasts. The application was officially launched in early 2016 for AIS mobile telephone users. The company takes advantage of their huge mobile customer base and their alliance with HOOQ to create more content and better viewing experiences in line with the business goal of being the leader in digital life services.340 AIS Play offers more Thai and international series and movies, as well as sports, concerts, karaoke and educational programmes than do other providers. Viewers can watch live TV programmes for up to seven days. The picture quality depends on the internet connection speed. AIS Play provides both free and paid TV (dependingon the content producer). Since AIS is the largest mobile telephone service provider in the increasingly competitive OTT TV market, customers expect a good viewing experience from AIS Play.
Thai TV3 is an application from the free TV provider, Thai Colour Television Channel 3 under the BEC World Group, whose business vision is to be a market leader and the best provider of TV productions and presentations of the highest quality news, information and entertainment programmes. 341
Thai TV3 provides free TV channels, which are available on Channel 3, and has many content producers in various categories. Viewers can download and watch for free, but on average, there are only 17,426 viewers per day, which is very small in comparison to their Ch.3 Official YouTube channel, which has more than 16.9 million subscribers. This is because most viewers are in the Greater Bangkok area, and therefore, have many choices, such as YouTube and Facebook, for accessing content.
Figure 6-17: Business model and SWOT analysis of ThaiTV3
To clearly present an overall view of business models, as well as the advantages of and challenges faced by Thai OTT TV providers, we have scored these providers according to the following seven criteria:
Each aspect is scored between 1 and 5. A score of 1 means that there is a chance that the OTT TV provider would lose its competitive advantage or not survive in the long run, whilst a score of 5 means that there is a chance that the OTT TV provider would gain a competitive advantage or survive in the long run, as shown in Figure 6-18.
Figure 6-18: Criteria in competitive analysis of OTT TV providers
From the data and criteria above, our study found that in term of competitive advantage, the top three OTT TV providers are YouTube, LINE TV, and TrueVisions Anywhere. The main components of their competitive advantage are the number of viewers, interesting content and variety, financial situation, and efficiency of the platform for a good viewing experience, as shown in Figure 6-19.
Figure 6-19: Competitive scoring results of OTT TV providers.
Analysis ofRelevant Laws and Regulations
At present, there are five Acts relevant to OTT TV providers in Thailand:
Cyber Crime Act B.E. 2550 (2007) – Computer Act
Copyright Act B.E. 2537 (1994) as Amended by Patent Act (No. 2) B.E. 2558 (2015) – Patent Act
Consumer Protection Act B.E. 2522 (1979) as Amended by Consumer Protection Act (No. 2) B.E. 2541 (1998) – Consumer Protection Act
Organisation to Assign Radio Frequencies and to Regulate Broadcasting and Telecommunications Services Act B.E. 2553 (2010) – Spectrum Allocation Act
Broadcasting Business Act B.E. 2551 (2008) – Business Act
The laws and regulations relevant to OTT TV services in Thailand can be categorised into two groups. The first group is related to OTT TV service platforms (Computer Act, Spectrum Allocation Act, and Business Act). The second group is related to contents provided on the service platform (Computer Act, Patent Act, Consumer Protection Act, and Business Act).
Figure 6-20: Laws and regulations relevant to OTT TV services
Cyber Crime Act B.E. 2550
Cyber Crime Act's policy is to prevent and suppress cyber crimes committed on computer networks, including the internet. Since OTT TV is considered to be the viewing of content on the internet via a website or application, it is relevant to the Cyber Act in the following two ways:
OTT TV platform
According to Section 3 of the Cyber Act, a computer system is any device, or a group of interconnected or related devices, one or more of which is pursuant to a programme, an instruction or anything else that performs the automatic processing of data. Thus, according to Section 3, OTT TV is regarded as a kind of computer system, and is, therefore, protected by the Cyber Act.
Section 5 of the Cyber Act states that whoever accesses a computer without permission, for example, hacking or intruding, shall be liable to punishment by law. Such action usually comes with accessing computer data without permission, which shall be liable to punishment by law. Hence, the same person who is punishable under Section 5 is also usually punishable under Section 7. For this reason, hacking into an OTT TV system to view content without permission is punishable by law. Likewise, if an OTT TV subscriber discloses their password to a non-subscribing person, who consequently access OTT TV content without paying any fees, that OTT TV subscriber shall be punishable by law under Section 6 of the Cyber Act.
As for computer data interception, Section 8 of Cyber Act states that whoever illegally intercepts by any electronic means the computer data of another person that is being transmitted in a computer system, and if such computer data is not for the benefit of the public or is not available for other persons to utilise shall be punishable by law. In the case of OTT TV, the interception of data transmitted to an OTT TV platform is, therefore, punishable under Section 8 of the Cyber Act. For example: (1) an outside person who intercepts an OTT TV data transmission from an OTT TV provider to an OTT TV user to view content is regarded as illegally intercepting data, and is, therefore, punishable under Section 8 of the Cyber Act; and (2) an outside person who intercepts an OTT TV data transmission from an OTT TV content owner to an OTT TV user for their own use or monetarization is also regarded as illegally intercepting computer data, and is, therefore, punishable under Section 8 of the Cyber Act.
Apart from protection against illegal data access and interception, the Cyber Act also protects computer data in Section 9 in that whoever acts in a manner that causes the damage, impairment, deletion, alteration or addition either in whole or in part of the computer data of another person without permission is punishable by law. Hence, whoever damages or alters OTT TV content without permission shall be punishable under Section 9 of the Cyber Act. In addition, Section 10 of Cyber Act protects computer systems from causing the suspension, deceleration, obstruction or interference of the computer system of another person such that the system cannot function normally shall be punishable by law. In the case of OTT TV, whoever causes the suspension of an OTT TV system so that the system cannot function normally shall be punishable under Section 10.
Figure 6-21: Cyber Crime Act relevant to OTT TV services.
OTT TV Content
According to Section 3 of the Cyber Act, the contents of an OTT TV are regarded as computer data, because such contents are in a computer system and can be processed—users can view OTT TV either on a website or with an application. Such contents are also regarded as data communications in computer systems.
Section 14 of the Cyber Act prohibits the following data to be input into a computer: (1) Wholly or partially fake or false computer data that is likely to cause damage to another person; (2) False computer data that is likely to undermine national security or cause public panic; (3) Offensive data against national security; (4) Pornographic computer data that is accessible to the public; and (5) Publishing or forwarding computer data with the full knowledge that such computer data is prohibited under items (1)–(4) above. Whoever commits these acts shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to a fine not exceeding 100,000 THB or both. Hence, whoever uploads such prohibited data on an OTT TV platform, for example, a User Generated Content (UGC) platform, shall be punishable by law.
If a user uploads content prohibited under Section 14 of the Cyber Act, not only shall the user be punishable by law, but the OTT TV provider also shall bear the risk of being punishable by law. This is because under Section 15 of the Cyber Act, any service provider who intentionally supports or gives consent to the commission of an offence under Section 14 in a computer system under their control shall be liable to the same penalty stipulated in Section 14.
Copyright Act B.E. 2537 (1994) as Amended by Patent Act (No. 2) B.E. 2558 (2015)
Contents offered on OTT TV are movies, dramas and television shows with copyrights that are protected by copyright law in accordance with Section 6 of the Copyright Act. Section 28 of the Copyright Act states that whoever reproduces or adapts and publishes for the public an audio-visual or a cinematographic work that is copyrightable by virtue of this Act shall be punishable by law. In this regard, there can be two cases of infringement of copyright as follows:
An OTT TV provider broadcasts copyrighted content without permission from the copyright holder.
In this case, the OTT TV provider shall be punishable by law for broadcasting copyrighted content without the owner’s permission.
Figure 6-22: Intellectual property law relevant to OTT TV services
An OTT TV provider reproduces or adapts and broadcasts copyrighted content without permission from the copyright holder.
Without the owner’s permission, whoever reproduces or adapts such content shall be punishable by law. In this case, however, the OTT TV provider shall also be punishable by law since Section 31 of the Copyright Act states that whoever sells the infringed copyright work of another person shall be deemed as having infringed the copyright as well. Therefore, if an OTT TV provider knows that broadcasted content has infringed a copyright, the provider shall be deemed to have infringed the copyright as well. Nevertheless, in the case that the OTT TV provider is not the person who controls, initiates or orders such broadcasting to be made, the provider shall not be deemed to have infringed copyright under Section 32/3 of the Copyright Act. Consumer Protection Act B.E. 2522 (1979) as Amended by Consumer Protection Act (No. 2) B.E. 2541 (1998)
Since OTT TV providers can generate revenue from advertising products or services to OTT TV users, users who have been persuaded to purchase a product or service have the same status as the consumers mentioned in Section 3 of the Consumer Protection Act. Therefore, any advertising on OTT TV must be in accordance with this Act.
Figure 6-23: Consumer Protection Law relevant to OTT TV services
Section 22 of the Consumer Protection Act states that an advertisement may not contain a statement that is unfair to consumers or may cause an adverse effect to society as a whole. Such statements are those that (1) are false or exaggerated, (2) cause misunderstandings of the essential elements concerning goods or services, (3) directly or indirectly encourages the commission of an unlawful or immoral act, or which adversely affects the national culture, (4) cause disunity or adversely affect the unity of the public, and (5) have been prescribed in the Ministerial Regulation. Moreover, Section 23 of the Consumer Protection Act prohibits advertisements that are effected by a method that may be harmful to health, or cause physical or mental harm, or annoyance to consumers. Therefore, if it is found that an advertisement on OTT TV is deemed to be in violation of Section 22 of the Consumer Protection Act, for example, an advertisement that contains exaggerated statements or an advertisement that adversely effects society as a whole, the Consumer Protection Committee may issue orders to the provider to rectify the statement or method of advertisement under Section 27 of the Consumer Protection Act. Organisation to Assign Radio Frequencies and to Regulate Broadcasting and Telecommunications Services Act B.E. 2553 (2010)
An OTT TV service is a service that enables the viewing of television via a website or an application, and may be deemed as a broadcasting business under Section 4 of the Broadcasting and Telecommunication Services Act, which states that a television broadcasting service is a service that provides public news services or programmes for viewing and listening by means of a receiving apparatus via radio frequencies, wires, optical, electromagnetic, or other systems, or a combination thereof, or other similar services prescribed by NBTC as constituting television broadcasting services. Section 27(3) of this Act also empowers NBTC to prescribe the characteristics and categories of sound broadcasting, television broadcasting, and telecommunication services. Therefore, NBTC has the power to determine which business is involved in television broadcasting.
From Sections 4 and 27(3) of this Act, it can be seen that NBTC has the authority to determine the character of television broadcasting services. Therefore, should NBTC deem an OTT TV provider as a television broadcasting service in accordance with this Act, that provider shall fall under the purview of the Broadcasting Business Act B.E. 2551 (2008).
Figure 6-24: NBTC law relevant to OTT TV services
Broadcasting Business Act B.E. 2551 (2008)
Section 4 of the Broadcasting Business Act states that a television business means a business that is subject to the law of the organisation that assigns frequencies and regulates radio broadcasting, television and telecommunications businesses. If NBTC deems OTT TV to be television broadcasting under the Organisation to Assign Radio Frequencies and to Regulate Broadcasting and Telecommunications Services Act, then OTT TV is regarded as a broadcasting business under the Act.
A broadcasting business operator must comply with Section 7 of the Broadcasting Business Act, which states that any person who operates a sound or television broadcasting business should obtain a license from NBTC. Since OTT TV is deemed to be a broadcasting business, service providers must obtain an operating license in accordance with Section 7, as well as comply with the relevant rules and regulations.