New chief to steer NMG turn­around

DIG­I­TAL TV IN FO­CUS AS PLANS SET FOR DEBT RE­STRUC­TUR­ING, NEW IN­VEST­MENTS AND CAP­I­TAL HIKE; TAR­GETS BT2 BN IN 2019 REV­ENUE

The Nation - - BUSINESS -

NA­TION Mul­ti­me­dia Group (NMG) will un­der­take busi­ness re­struc­tur­ing and make more in­vest­ments this year, es­pe­cially in the dig­i­tal TV busi­ness, as part of strate­gies to im­prove the group’s busi­ness op­er­a­tions, ac­cord­ing to Shine Bun­nag, the newly ap­pointed chair­man of the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee.

At the meet­ing of NMG’s board of di­rec­tors last Fri­day, Shine was ap­pointed chair­man of the group’s ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee and also vice chair­man of the board of di­rec­tors with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

Shine said a part of the new in­vest­ments on the dig­i­tal TV busi­ness would be for up­grad­ing its news pro­duc­tion stu­dio and the de­vel­op­ment of news an­chors and con­tent.

He said NMG might have to in­crease its cap­i­tal for in­vest­ment and use re­volv­ing cap­i­tal to re­pay debt to fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions. It will have talks with more than nine cred­i­tor fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions.

He said that if NMG suc­cess­fully clinches deals from its cred­i­tors on the debt re­struc­tur­ing or ex­ten­sion of the debt re­pay­ment pe­ri­ods within the first quar­ter, it would move to in­crease cap­i­tal in the sec­ond quar­ter.

He said the group is al­ready in talks with some cred­i­tors and he is con­fi­dent that an in­crease in cap­i­tal could be achieved.

The group has al­ready sold some of its non-core busi­nesses, which means it does not have to recog­nise their cost this year.

NMG is tar­get­ing Bt2 bil­lion to­tal rev­enue this year, ac­cord­ing to Shine.

Of the rev­enue tar­get, about Bt700 mil­lion will come from three news­pa­pers – Krungthep Tu­rakij, Kom Chad Luek, and The Na­tion. An­other Bt1.1 bil­lion will come from two dig­i­tal TV chan­nels – Bt500 mil­lion from Na­tion 22, and Bt600 mil­lion from NOW 26, he said.

NOW 26 is re­vis­ing its busi­ness plan, which will be un­veiled by Fe­bru­ary this year.

NMG is also tar­get­ing rev­enue of be­tween Bt150 mil­lion to Bt200 mil­lion from the event or­gan­is­ing busi­ness.

Shine said it was dif­fi­cult to set a rev­enue tar­get for the group’s dig­i­tal busi­ness at the mo­ment. This is be­cause such dig­i­tal rev­enue has been part of other ex­ist­ing me­dia busi­nesses. NMG will set up a new work­ing team to look after the dig­i­tal busi­ness and gen­er­ate dig­i­tal rev­enues from the group’s ex­ist­ing me­dia.

He said the cur­rent prob­lems faced by NMG only re­flected the prob­lems faced by the lo­cal me­dia in­dus­try. Me­dia busi­ness is now in re­ces­sion and fac­ing dif­fi­cult times.

The group has strong in­volve­ment in print me­dia, whose prospects are not good as in­di­vid­ual read­ers have turned to dig­i­tal pages. How­ever, rev­enue from dig­i­tal me­dia still can­not re­place that from print me­dia. NMG it­self has op­er­ated dif­fer­ent forms of me­dia and the group has con­fronted many of the prob­lems at the same time, es­pe­cially those im­pacted by the chang­ing tech­nol­ogy.

“To take full re­spon­si­bil­ity at NMG, I com­mit my­self to main­tain­ing the spirit of news re­port­ing at NMG, which is recog­nised as an ‘in­sti­tu­tion’ rather than just a busi­ness firm. NMG has been trusted and has stood by the Thai peo­ple for more than 47 years,” said Shine, who has al­ready re­signed as chair­man of Spring News and

Thanset­thakit, to take a lead­er­ship role at NMG.

“I want to main­tain the same key at­tributes of NMG: the free­dom to take care of the coun­try’s in­ter­ests, and pro­tect­ing the monar­chy,” he added.

Shine said that the ma­jor task is to en­sure NMG sur­vives in its busi­ness.

“I will clear the en­tire Bt1.1 bil­lion debt NMG is bur­dened with by the end of this year and also Bt2.7 bil­lion of in­stal­ment pay­ments for its dig­i­tal TV li­cences up­front [to be due in the next two years]. NMG it­self has gone through a ma­jor reshuf­fle over the past year to be on track by re­duc­ing some debts,” he said.

Shine: I want to main­tain the same key at­tributes of NMG: the free­dom to take care of the coun­try’s in­ter­ests, and pro­tect­ing the monar­chy.

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