THAILAND: True IPTV expands programme range

True IPTV expects new Internet services will bring in 300,000 subscribers by end of next year

Bangkok Post
Friday, November 3, 2006

By Srisamorn Phoosuphanusorn

True IPTV has expanded the range of programming on its Internet protocol video-on-demand channels as it pursues a subscriber target of 300,000 by the end of next year.

The company has joined with six production houses that will offer real-time pay-per-view programmes from soap operas to discovery, health care, lifestyle trends and technology, comedy and knowledge-based series.

The production houses are Exact, Asia Television & Media, JSL, Lucks 666, Comedy Line and UBC Inside from UBC True.

"We expect to see 300,000 subscribers by the end of next year, and the figure would reach 500,000 by 2009," said Paisit Vatjanapagorn, director and general manager for broadband broadcast and multimedia at True.

True IPTV services, delivered over broadband Internet via fixed telephone lines, enable users to watch television and real-time video-on-demand while simultaneously making telephone calls and surfing the Internet.

The company's digital home entertainment service currently has 10 free channels and another 10 video-on-demand channels with more than 60 programmes and 1,000 hours in server capacity.

Mr Paisit said True also planned to add Hollywood movies within this month.

While awareness of IPTV has grown since its debut five months ago, with up to 150,000 people having visited the company's website, Mr Paisit acknowledged that unfamiliarity with the technology was the key obstacle to the market growth.

He said customers who were using True broadband services with speeds as low as 128 kilobytes per second could sign up with True IPTV. Broadband TV, by comparison, requires a broadband connection of up to one megabyte per second for clear picture quality.

Mr Paisit said the company planned to educate users and promote its IPTV services next year, by pitching to its existing 500,000 high-speed broadband (ADSL) Internet customers and two million fixed-line customers.

"We aim to see 800,000 to 900,000 customers signed up for our IPTV services once True has more than one million broadband users," he said.

He noted that Hong Kong now had 500,000 IPTV users after three years, while Italy had 800,000 users four years after the service was launched.