Thailand’s finance ministry is $337 million better off after the 24 broadcasters who successfully bid for the country’s digital licences paid up their 50 per cent initial dues for the licenses. Licences will be issued during the next week or so and transmissions must start during March.
The cash raised will be used to issue vouchers to Thailand’s 22 million homes which qualify for a subsidised set-top box. The vouchers can also be used as part-payment for a new digitally-equipped TV set.
The terms of the new digital licences mean that the stations must pay a further 30 per cent of their fee in Year 2, and the final element in Year 3. However, each of the upcoming trading years requires a ‘surplus’ payment (in effect a tax) of 10 per cent in Year 1 (equal to $30 million), 20 per cent in Year 2 and in every following year and thus guaranteeing an additional revenue stream for the government.