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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs           10   August  2011

Thai state broadcaster to build new hub

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The majority state-owned broadcaster MCOT Plc will invest around 10 billion baht (US$333.5 million) to develop a 52-rai plot of land on Thiam Ruam Mit Road for an advanced broadcasting hub for the region.

CFO Jessada Promjit yesterday outlined MCOT's plan to utilise the empty land near the Thailand Cultural Centre, which the company bought in 2004. It hopes to develop it into one of the most advanced broadcasting complexes in Southeast Asia.

Construction will be divided into two phases. The first phase, which is expected to be completed within three years, comprises a 30,000-square-metre activity park, a 5,000-seat theatre, and a 59-floor building and broadcasting tower. It will cost 7-8 billion baht.

The building when combined with the tower will be one of tallest structures in Thailand, at 369 metres.

"This tower will serve broadcasters when the country turns to a digital television system. MCOT wants to act as a transmitter provider so other broadcasters don't have to invest in their own networks," Mr. Jessada said.

The second phase will start construction as soon as the MRT Orange Line (Taling Chan-Min Buri), which will pass through the area, is ready for operation. A building with 60,000 square meters is being considered as a residential project. The second phase is estimated to cost 2-3 billion baht.

MCOT has signed an agreement with the Culture Ministry to co-develop a cultural park on a connected plot between the two organizations' properties.

The ministry has acquired a 58-rai plot close to the MCOT land. It plans to build an office and landmark for cultural events and activities.

Mr. Jessada said MCOT was still studying suitable forms of investment for the megaproject. It could seek private business partners, such as real estate developers, or rent the properties to interested firms.

MCOT is awaiting budget approval from the cabinet.

The state enterprise expects its performance in the second half of the year will be better than the first half, thanks to higher airtime utilisation rates and a 10-15% increase of airtime fees in October. The company is still confident it can hit a revenue growth target of 10 percent this year.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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