Myanmar, Thai media firms link up to boost quality content

AMID intense competition in the emerging broadcasting industry of Myanmar, leading media companies are seeking content partners from Thailand in order to improve the quality of their content to serve increasing demand from local audiences.

Recently, Shwe Than Lwin Media, Myanmar’s leading operator of free-to-air and subscription-based TV services, formed a 70:30 joint venture with Thai company Tee Entertainment to produce TV programmes, organise events and sell sponsorship packages for the English Premier League’s current soccer season. Shwe Than Lwin Media operates Shwe FM, a nationwide radio station, three free-to-air TV channels – Myanmar National TV (MNTV), Myanmar International TV (MITV) and Channel 9 – and SkyNet, a subscriber-based satellite TV service.

Thein Than Oo, executive general manager for content at Shwe Than Lwin Media, said yesterday that Myanmar was considered a land of opportunity by foreign businesses, and media and broadcasting firms were no exception.

“In recent years, many Thai media and entertainment companies came to our country either for business partnerships or expansion, while a Myanmar media company like us, just in the early stage, is also looking for the right partners to help upgrade and develop the quality of content to lure local audiences,” he said.

The Yangon-based media company and Bangkok-based Tee Entertainment established Tee Entertainment Myanmar with registered capital of Bt10 million.

Under this JV, Somchai Cheewasutthanon, chief executive officer of Tee Entertainment, said his company would be a strategic partner producing three TV programmes targeting music lovers, teenagers and sports fans for SkyNet and rebroadcast those programmes on MNTV and Channel 9.

Tee Entertainment Myanmar has also been appointed as an authorised partner to sell EPL sponsorship packages for SkyNet for the current season. The company aims to secure one main sponsor with a US$2-million (Bt64.5-million) package, and six co-sponsors paying $1 million per package. The company will also conduct EPL-related marketing events in Myanmar to promote clients’ brands as well as to raise public awareness about the English Premier League.

Somchai said the business in Myanmar should generate at least Bt50 million for the Bangkok office in the first year of operation of its entertainment business while total income next year should surge to Bt500 million, from Bt150 million by end of this year.

Next year it will launch a new business in consumer products.

Apart from entertainment, the company earns revenue from a food and beverage business. For the last couple of years, Shwe Than Lwin Media has become one of the most active media companies.

“SkyNet was the country’s first TV broadcaster [in Myanmar] to win audio-visual broadcasting rights to the English Premier League from the Football Association in the UK because we wanted to open the chance of watching 380 live soccer matches to Myanmar audiences,” Thein Than Oo said.

Under the management of Shwe Than Lwin Media, the company reaches about 10 million viewers in the country.

Another major media empire, Forever Group, has entered a JV with BEC-Tero, an affiliate of the operator of Thailand’s Channel 3, for content development. Nation Multimedia Group has also signed a comprehensive agreement of cooperation with Myanmar’s Eleven Media Group to launch a wide range of English-language publications in the near future.


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