Working-from-home policy and travel restrictions to high-risk areas as measures to curb COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in higher viewership of Digital TV during workdays and forced TV providers to shift to new strategies in face of a fierce competition. With agility and news strategies already in place, Channel 8 has taken proactive measures namely organizing a troop of news anchors to cover the situation give viewers up-to-date information, cancelling Muay Thai boxing program before the pandemic worsened to prevent the corona virus spread, and acquiring broadcasting license of Indian TV series for staying-at-home viewers. Moreover, the ‘4-legged chair’ strategy previously implemented to help diversify risks and increase revenue base, has ensured its business growth and climbing ratings in Q1 of year 2020.
Mr. Surachai Chetchotisak, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of RS Public Company Limited, said, “The Covid-19 virus outbreak has not only affected government sector, businesses, economy, society, but also greatly disrupted consumer behavior, which is one of the challenges that must be overcome. Nevertheless, every cloud has a silver lining. This is especially true for Channel 8, which is the star of our media business with the highest income growth. Amidst an unclear situation like this, a clear vision and long-standing expertise in the entertainment business allow us to be able to react quickly in times of crisis. Channel 8 was the first channel to cancel live broadcasting of boxing show and suspend Channel 8 Concert Festival to prevent the spread of the virus. In addition, people who work at home watch television for the news, cause the viewership of news program between 8:00 am – 7:00 pm, to rise by 10-15% in the first quarter.”
Mr. Surachai also described the four-legged chair strategy as a risk management strategy that balances the generated income by aiming to create a strong revenue stream by leveraging from Channel 8’s internal potential and not relying too much on any particular means of income to reach the growth target by segmenting 4 income channels including;
- Media sales and Sponsorship 50%: by taking proactive measures and treat customers as one of the main partners by helping them to create and develop ideas for advertisements and cater to each customer’s need.
- Program license for online and over-the-top (OTT) media service to domestic and international partners 25%
- Commerce of RS Mall products through various programs 20%
- On-ground activities 5%
Miss Nongluk Ngamroj, Head of Channel 8, RS Public Company Limited, said that “In response to the situation and with concerns of our employee’s welfare, we have imposed preventive measures in accordance with the RS Group Policy for our employees by implementing work-from-home policy and staggering work hours for functions that are not related to the broadcasting system. For the business aspect, we have created precautionary plans including plan A, which investigates the situation realistically, and plan B which prepares for worse scenarios, and allows us to be ready to act. These strategies are thus the reasons why Channel 8 continue to strive in this difficult time.”
Channel 8’s measures against Covid-19 include:
- Modifying ways of working of news anchor to solidify the coverage of the situation by adding column type news programs such as Covid-19 News Update and Weather Forecast Report.
- Re-arranging the news broadcast schedule with 65% of the content about the Covid-19 virus, by presenting information and facts in each news program daily, adding Q&As sessions to engage audience and to help clarify and provide accurate understandings for the public as per duties and ethics of the press.
- Producing news scoops on the outbreak of the virus after prime-time TV dramas. Channel 8 has being creating news scoops to share tips with the general public regarding the virus since March, before the outbreak peaked.
- Adding new entertainment programs with the new Indian series “Naagin Season 3”, the fantasy drama series of the year about finding true love. Guaranteed with first-class awards and accolades by Indian leading institutions, the series has created a phenomenon in India with the highest rating in every episode. The series is backed by a big investment for its spectacular CGI and will be on air every Monday-Friday from 6:00 pm-7:00 pm, starting April 13. Now is the golden time for the return of the rating-smash Indian series including Rangrasiya, Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon?, Ganesh Mahathepiyara and Siya Ke Ram.
- For Thai drama series, the production has been put on hold for the time being for safety reasons of the cast and crew, therefore the highest rated hit drama “Maneenaga” and “Sangnangprai” will be rerun.
All in all, the decision of the Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to reduce the USO fee or the rate of annual payments to the research and development fund for broadcasting businesses, television business and telecommunications for the public good, will also help lower the cost of business operations.