BEC invests in news, content for growth

BEC invests in news, content for growth

Surin Krittayaphongphun, president for TV business at BEC World, the operator of Channel 3.

SET-listed BEC World, the operator of Channel 3, is hoping for a business turnaround this year, supported by rejigged news programmes as it offers content for over-the-top (OTT) platforms and other countries via licensing, production of original series and increasing the subscription base of its CH3 Plus app.

“Despite the pandemic, we have been profitable for three consecutive quarters since the third quarter of last year. We believe profitability is possible for the entire year as well,” said Surin Krittayaphongphun, president of the TV business at BEC World.

The company downsized and restructured to cut costs, while adding new sources of revenue through digital channels, he said.

BEC World excised the concert business of BEC Tero and invested more in news.

“We aim to be a leader in local content,” Mr Surin said.

The company plans to distribute content via multiple platforms such as TV, OTT, Facebook and YouTube.

In the TV business, the company rebranded news programmes and increased the air time of news content following the return of influential news anchor Sorrayuth Suthassanachinda to Channel 3 recently.

The pandemic increased people’s interest in the news and caused more people to spend time at home watching TV, said Mr Surin.

Although overall media ad spending contracted 4% year-on-year to 26.7 billion baht in the first quarter, with TV down 5% to 15.7 billion, Channel 3’s earnings grew 5%, he said.

In May, the news content slot increased to 23% from 20% in the same month last year, while the drama segment declined from 65% to 60%.

Variety programmes increased from 10% to 12%.

The company is gearing up for content licensing on OTTs and broadcasting channels in China, Mr Surin said.

According to him, the company plans to increase the subscription base of its OTT platform CH3 Plus premium to 100,000 from 15,000 at present.

The subscription costs 79 baht per month.

For the free version of CH3 Plus with advertisements, the number of users is 5 million.

To increase its subscription base, the company will make exclusive content, including fun activities and concerts, Mr Surin said.

The firm also aims to co-produce drama series for the overseas markets where there are fans of Thai celebrities.

Channel 3’s content, particularly dramas, are popular in China, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei, he said.

Channel 3 also aims to buy the rights of drama series from foreign countries and make a local version.

For example, it plans to produce a local version of BBC’s Doctor Foster.