TET: Please explain the history of JKN.
I begun from humble beginnings as the family business was initially home video rentals. When I returned to Thailand in late 1999, the first step begun with the BBC Documentary Walking with Dinosaurs when we contacted BBC directly and was able to be the sole distributor in Thailand. However none of the local home video rental chains, nobody wanted to watch a documentary so I begun thinking outside of the box and contacted TV Direct to sell the videos through their home shopping network and we sold nearly 1 million copies. From this success I contacted National Geographic and the Discovery channel to bring their content to Thailand utilitising celebrity voiceovers, superstar marketing which was an entirely new concept in. Following on from this, in 2005, I begun selling content to the media channels such as GMM Grammy, Mangpong, Tsutaya and so forth which led to the founder of GMM Grammy setting up a company together with me, which led to the incorporation of JKN. Over the years we continued expanding by bringing in the Japanese and Korea series, BBC, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and Hollywood productions. Eventually with the launch of the digital TV stations GMM Grammy sold their stake in JKN to me in 2013 and then 2014 was a year of transformation for myself and for JKN as we continued to grow by acquiring more global content for Thailand and creating our own productions for Thailand and the world.
TET: What is JKN’s business model?
As a leader in the global content distribution business we provide a various range of content that serves the demand of customers in all platforms. Many of the contents that we distribute are Output Deals, sole distributorship, and we can select contents from the content owners as first priority in certain cases and we also have the rights to cover content distribution in neighbouring countries such as Myanmar and Laos. In addition to this we develop our own content as well, we created the signature project for Thailand, My King and My Queen for National Geographic because I believe that the pride of Thailand should be shared with the world land as we are a land of golden culture. We followed this with The People’s King and The People’s Queen, we were the first to create this Thai content on His Majesty the King Rama IX and Her Majesty the Queen.
TET: Why did JKN decide to become a publicly listed company?
We plan to operate CNBC Thailand’s news TV stations and produce CNBC branded contents, which is licensed by NBC in the United States. The production line will be structured in the style of the CNBC brand and will use Thai emcees and moderators in the production of the programs to broadcast on JKN CNBC channel. In addition to CNBC Thailand’s news channel business and CNBC branded content production, we are also licensed to edit, translate, and dub in Thai the CNBC branded contents that are produced and broadcast internationally. We
have already sold this to Channel 3 and Bright TV, and in the future, plan to distribute contents to other television operators and other platforms.
TET: How does technology impact your business?
This is one of the key important lessons from the history of JKN. In the past I was selling VDOs which then became VCDs, DVDs, and Blu-Ray, with the prices declining and risking holding a high amount of old technology inventory. It is because of this change that I realised that I am a Content Provider because technology keeps changing, the world keeps changing and we cannot stop nor change this, we have to adapt and do our business. Regardless of the changes, content is required, people still have that inherent desire to watch stories, to learn about new experiences and changes, and to be entertained. So, when we look at cinemas, DVDs, digital devices, magazines, social platforms, mobile phones, TV channels and stations, these are all channels or devices that carry content to the consumer and instead of competing with the major players within each of these channels we should supply the content to them instead.
TET: How does JKN decide upon which content to distribute?
Deciding upon content is a skill inherent within myself and my team. Because of our years of experience, we understand what Thai audiences want to watch hence why JKN is the #1 content media provider in Thailand. They love their drama series, for movies action, adventure and horror, there is also a market for natural history and wildlife, travel and food as well if it’s related to Thailand, to see the lifestyles of the wealthy and celebrities. But shows such as the Oscars, the Golden Globes, Downtown Abbey are not of interest here, so it is important to understand the culture and the mindset of the audience. Internally we have a system for our next generation to be able to choose the what content to acquire and bring back to Thailand. At times the teams deciding will have to lower their tastes and at other times increase their
tastes as we have to ensure that we select titles that suit the mass audience.
TET: What differentiates JKN from its competitors?
Remaining humble and continuing to learn, testing new practises, and thinking outside of the box are what separates us. Before moving on with new projects, we think, plan, understand and focus on ensuring that every form spending is done so wisely and provide us a form of a return today, in a year, or in a decade. Our aim is to continuously grow, we are not dealing in a single market that is Thailand but on a global scale, and that by finding the right product, the right content and the right partner we will be a success in building a global media content empire for the future.
TET: What are the biggest risks facing your business?
The key focus for us is to ensure that the team can achieve its potential and we have set up the necessary structure, processes, to ensure that it can be sustainable. The wonderful potential with our team is that we can unexpectedly find someone within the company, who may be younger, but are passionate, willing to learn and has a fire to succeed with us.
TET: Where do you see JKN in five years from now?
Our aim is to be the #1 Global Content firm in South East Asia and we are taking the right steps to ensure that this will happen such as with the recent launch of a Filipino drama show, the first of its kind in Thailand. We have a long-term vision and are focused on doing business for the coming decades. Culture is content, and content is in my DNA, its our company’s expertise, and I genuinely believe that through persistent hard work and constant dedication that we are building the leading company for this in the region.