NBTC approves Bt1.5 bn payoutCorporate June 26, 2019 01:00 By THE NATION
THE National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission’s (NBTC) board yesterday approved Bt1.54 billion in compensation to Spring 26 Channel (formerly NOW26 channel), Spring News Channel 19 and Bright TV.
Spring 26 Channel will go off the air at midnight on August 15 and receive Bt675.764 million of the total payout, NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said yesterday. Spring News Channel 19 will get Bt500.951 million, and Bright TV Bt371.983 million. Takorn said the compensation would be paid to them within 60 days of the channels going off the air.
Four other channels, including Voice TV, have sent their remedial plans to the NBTC, and BEC Multimedia Plc and MCOT are yet to do so, he said. Takorn said the NBTC will borrow from the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Research and Development Fund for the Public Interest to pay total compensation of Bt4.84 billion to the seven channels. Six commercial digital TV broadcasters announced on May 10 that they would return to the NBTC the seven licences that they held between them. May 10 was the deadline for any of the broadcasters to declare their intention to return their licences.
The six broadcasters returning include Spring News Television Co Ltd’s Spring News Channel 19 and Nation Multimedia Group’s (NMG) Spring 26 Co Ltd, which will hand back its licence for Spring 26 Channel (formerly known as NOW26 channel). The others are Bright TV, which is returning its licence for Channel 20; Voice TV for Voice TV Channel 21; MCOT for MCOT Family Channel 14; BEC World’s Channel 3 for its Family Channel 13; and 3SD Channel 28.
The NBTC has set up a subcommittee to work out the compensation amounts for these six broadcasters. The subcommittee considered the cases of Spring News and NMG first yesterday, as they were the first to submit their proposals for compensation and plans to compensate staff affected by the shutdown of their channels. Bright TV sent its proposal on compensation to the watchdog yesterday.
Spring News had offered Bt1.318 billion to win the licence, of which it had already paid Bt878.2 million upfront in four instalments. According to the calculations of the NBTC subcommittee, Spring News will lose the use of the licence for 3,540 days from the date of the channel’s shutdown on August 15 to the end of the license term on April 24, 2029. The total unused period amounts to compensation of Bt567.407 million. After deducting the government subsidies granted to digital TV licence holders until August 15 and the channel’s net profit this year of Bt4.4 million, the channel will be compensated with a net amount exceeding Bt500 million.
Spring 26 Channel (NOW26) offered Bt2.2 billion to win its licence, of which three instalments amounting to Bt1.472 billion had already been paid. According to the NBTC subcommittee, the channel will get net compensation of Bt675 million. The offer for operators to return their licences and receive compensation was part of measures announced by the National Council for Peace and Order in April to ease their financial burden.