Digital TV a rising star for Workpoint

Workpoint Entertainment Plc is one of Thailand’s leading production houses with internationally recognised programmes. It has recently expanded into digital TV with its own channel. Chairman Phanya Nirunkul discusses the company’s strategy and outlook.

What is Workpoint’s business model?
We began in 1989 as a TV production house and today our productions rank among the leaders on Thai television in drama, variety, talk shows and so forth. We have also expanded into movies, concerts and event marketing as they complement our core strengths and give us additional avenues to expand our reach to our audience and serve new clients. Finally we have acquired a digital TV licence and moved Workpoint TV from satellite to digital. We are very excited by this latest development as it sets the stage for us to continue growing for the future.

How does Workpoint decide what type of content to produce?
We focus on our core strengths of sitcoms, variety, game and quiz shows. When we decide on new programmes or content we go to great lengths to understand what our audience wants, what the market wants and we create our shows based on this demand. Our programmes all have a distinct quality that audiences recognise as ours. We have been recognised on multiple occasions as one the Best Production Houses by the Asian Television Awards.

What impact will Workpoint’s expansion into digital TV have on its business?
Digital TV is an opportunity we had to seize. Under the analogue TV system, we had only a limited number of hours per day for our programmes to air and earn advertising revenue. Now with our own channel, we can offer our content 24 hours a day.
We offer new programmes for eight hours a day, imported content for four hours, Workpoint Classics for four hours, and reruns of new programmes from midnight to 8am. We expect half of the new shows to be variety and game shows with the remainder evenly split between sitcoms or dramas and news.As this is the first year for digital TV, there is still a large gap in advertising rates between new digital channels and those that run concurrently on both analogue and digital (simulcast). However, Workpoint TV is first in the ratings among new digital outlets and third among all channels including simulcast ones. We hope we can continue to improve each year and we expect ad rates for Workpoint TV to increase significantly.

This year Workpoint issued a private placement of shares to Dentsu Media (Thailand) Limited. What were the reasons for this?
Dentsu Group is one of the largest agencies both in Thailand and globally, with more than 30 years of experience, and its combined group in Thailand is ranked first in its industry. With Dentsu we will be able to bring in quality TV programmes from Japan, co-develop new programmes utilising the Japanese TV format, and bring in sports events such as the Women’s Volleyball World Championship and the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Moreover, our board is proposing a further capital increase, subject to approval at an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting on Dec 26, by offering up to 32 million newly issued shares to Mindo Asia Investments Ltd. The total proceeds of 1.072 billion baht would substantially strengthen Workpoint’s financial status and its potential to grow. Mindo is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lombard Asia IV LP, a private equity fund that focuses on long-term investments in growth-oriented companies.

What are the biggest risks facing your business?
Digital TV expansion is both an opportunity and a risk because we have to expand the number of programmes to ensure we have content for 24 hours, while ensuring the high standard that Workpoint is known for. Also, we have to ensure that the quality of management and people are of a high standard and that the knowledge and skills that our senior people are passed on to the next generation. But with our rich experience in TV production, we consider digital a bright opportunity rather than a risk.

What impact will the Asean Economic Community have on your business?
We are looking for opportunities to expand throughout Asean as we have observed that our neighbours in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar already watch our shows. But we will go slowly and look at opportunities on a case-by-case basis. In Vietnam we are offering our content to see how the market reacts and if there is strong potential. Also, we need to have confidence that the regulators in each country are consistent in their policies.

Where do you see Workpoint five years from now?
2015 will be an exciting year for Workpoint as we have our own digital channel, and we will be managing the Thailand pavilion at the World Expo in Milan. In March we will open a new 3,000-square-metre space in Siam Square One to stage shows. We view the next five years as crucial with our expansion into digital TV and we aim to continue improving ourselves to be one of the best content providers with the most popular programmes in Thailand.

Source: Bangkok Post

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