THAILAND: IPTV new revenue stream for TT&T

A third Thai company goes into the business of online television

Bangkok Post
Wednesday, April 11, 2007

By Srisamorn Phoosuphanusorn

TT&T Plc, the provincial fixed-line telephone provider, is set to introduce Internet-protocol television (IPTV) in the provincial market next month in another effort to reduce its reliance on the moribund fixed-line business. TT&T was the third company jumping into the fledgling local IPTV market, after TOT, through a joint venture with AIS, and True Corp, have tried to promote and market their services.

IPTV distributes television content over the Internet, allowing an on-demand and interactive user experience. It enables users to watch television and real-time video on demand, while simultaneously making telephone calls and surfing the Internet. A viewer needs a broadband connection and a set-top box for the service.

Supot Tiarawut, senior vice-president for corporate strategy and planning, said TT&T was preparing to launch a trial IPTV service in big provinces next month, with commercial services scheduled to start by the end of this year.

The trial service will be provided to 1,000 subscribers who registered at the company's online television website, They will receive 13 TV programmes ranging from education to entertainment and variety shows. TT&T has invested about 100 million baht for a stock of content.

Although IPTV has yet to catch on among users in Thailand, Dr Supot said he believed it might not take long before it became popular.

He also said that the company's IPTV service differed from the current offerings in terms of technologies, application platform and marketing approach tailored to provincial people. But he declined to elaborate.

"We plan to start the IPTV commercial service once we receive positive market response from the trial service," Dr Supot said.

TT&T joined with the entertainment company RS Plc yesterday to introduce an online music service at its online TV website. The service features a range of RS's music in digital form. The company will charge 30 baht for listing to RS music online, and 60 baht for karaoke or a music video.

Dr Supot said TT&T expected the number of its Maxnettv subscribers to increase from the current 35,000 to 100,000 by the end of this year.

The company's broadband customer base would also double to 400,000 this year, out of the estimated total market of 1.2 million users.

"Our broadband revenue is also expected to double to one billion baht this year, or about 20% of total revenue," he said.

Dr Supot said that although TT&T had made no money from its online broadcasting business, the company was focusing more on broadband-based businesses to add value for its existing broadband customers and offset its shrinking fixed-line income.