Thai media struggles to survive as ad spending plunges

DISRUPTION continues in the Thai media sector as advertising spending continued to drop in February this year forcing media outlets especially printed media to strive for survival.

Advertising spending through magazines, transit, newspapers, radio, cable/satellite in February this year dropped by 38%, 27%, 22%, 21% and 20% respectively compared to the same month last year. Surprisingly, advertising spending through the internet also dropped by 10% last month compared to the same period last year.

Advertising in store did the best in February this year rising by 40% although the amount of spending, which is 70 million baht, accounted for only less than one percent of the overall advertising spending compared to nearly 3,500 million baht through analog TV and 1,755 million baht through  digital TV.  Advertising through the internet is also still less than 2% of the overall spending.

The interesting point is that advertising spending through digital TV continued to grow by almost six percent this February with Workpoint TV enjoying higher and higher rating.  Workpoint is now among top three most popular with viewers next to Channel 7 and Channel 3.

With the advertising spending being sluggish since October last year, newspapers and magazines have been among the most affected media.  Scores of magazines have stopped printing, the latest would be Marie Claire, whose April issue would be the last. An owner of a newsprint import company said the volume of newsprint bought by newspaper and magazine companies has dropped by over 90% from the peak many years ago.  His company this year does not have a client in newspaper printing business anymore.

Among the most affected by the strong competition in the media sector is the Nation Multimedia Group (NMG), which continued to suffer heavy loss last year as reported to the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Last week, it was reported that three senior executives of the Nation were ready to resign to pave way for the new group of shareholders reportedly led by Keeree  Kanjanapas  to come to a rescue.

There was a board meeting of the Nation on March 15 during which Adisak Limprungpatanakit, who is in charge of TV,  Pana Janviroj, who is in charge of advertising  and Duangkamol Chotana, who is in charge of Bangkok Biznews announced they were ready to step aside to pave way for the new group of shareholders and management. 

Early this year, NMG announced  a voluntary early retirement scheme to reduce operating costs, expecting around 480-500 staff to resign but so far only 200 people have decided to join the scheme.


Top: A Thai man reading the morning newspaper at a noodle stall. Photo: Michael Coghlan (CC-BY-SA-2.0)

By Kowit Sanandang






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