THAILAND’S print media has been in critical condition and this has boiled up to such an extent that financial institutions have expressed caution in extending more loans to some of them, sources in the banking and media sectors say.
“We are not able to obtain more loans from banks now that our company has suffered operating loss for several quarters,” disclosed an executive of a media firm. Sources in the banking industry confirmed that the media sector, not only print media, has been categorized as a sector to avoid lending to.
Lending risks have been higher as the media industry is clearly in the down trend with strong competition coming from the online and social media. “We have to be careful as one of the digital TV license winners operating Loca and Thai TV channels has already gone under while many of the rest are suffering losses,” said a banking source.
While circulations of newspapers and magazines have suffered a continuous decline, resulting in lower revenue from sales and advertising, digital TV industry has to struggle now that the remaining operators running 25 channels have to compete for a smaller advertising revenue cake as the spending by corporates have been limited by unfavorable economic conditions.
Suffering most are cable-TV business operating over 100 channels. The close down of CTH, Thailand’s sole broadcaster of English Premier League football, can be seen as the judgment, bringing the curtain down on a much criticized cable-TV operation that started with a bang just a few years ago.
CTH was majority owned by Wichai Thongtang, a businessman and former Thaksin Shinawatra lawyer, and Thai Rath newspaper family. CTH ceased all of its broadcasting service on September 1 this year, incurring a massive loss of almost 20 billion baht.
Where latest media outlook is concerned, the latest filing of the third quarter operational results of listed media firms to the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) confirmed that the print media are still in critical conditions with most of them suffering losses.
The situation looked worst at the Nation Multimedia Group (NMG) reporting 280.9 million baht loss during the third quarter of 2016 against a net profit of 15.6 million baht during the same period last year. Nine month result showed a net loss of 662.7 million baht this year against 34 million baht profit last year.
The situation at NMG looked worse because last month the SEC banned eight NMG directors, including founder Suthichai Yoon, from taking director positions at the company after an SEC investigation found that the executives had failed to perform their duty during its annual general meeting in April last year as complained by rival News Network Corporation, which held 9.96% stake in NMG and was barred from attending the annual meeting.
News Network, also a listed company on the SET and operates Spring News Channel, reported a net loss of 125 million baht during the third quarter of this year against a net loss of 140 million baht during the same period last year. Nine-month operation showed a net loss of 394 million baht this year against 452 million baht last year.
Post Publishing Plc. which publishes Bangkok Post, after a massive cost cutting and stringent cost control, reported a significant improvement in their operational result during the third quarter of this year with a net loss of only 6.9 million baht against 64.8 million baht last year. Nine-month result showed a net loss of 150 million baht against 205 million baht during the same period last year. The company had closed down Allied Printer, a commercial printing arm, and laid off staff at Post TV Co.
Amarin Printing and Publishing reported a net loss of 126 million baht during the third quarter of this year against a net loss of 142 million baht last year while nine-month result showed a net loss of 468 million baht this year against a net loss of 379 million baht last year.
Matichon reported a net loss of 25 million baht during the third quarter of this year against 28 million baht last year while nine-month result showed a net loss of 86 million baht this year against 51 million baht last year.
Top: Some Thai newspapers have been bleeding red ink for a while now. Photo: ThaiResidents.com
By Kowit Sanandang