Facebook’s astonishing £200 million (8.78 billion THB) deal for English Premier League football broadcasts will change the entire industry for digital and pay TV in Thailand in the near future, say media analysts.
The world’s most powerful social media platform just clinched the deal, acquiring streaming rights to broadcast all 380 Premier League matches for the 2019-2020 season. Facebook plans to broadcast in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Thai media analysts said Facebook’s strong move will make it a giant rival of digital TV and pay TV operators and it will finally become a TV station. Mana Treelayapewat, dean of the school of communication arts at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said Facebook allows users, including major digital TV operators, to broadcast their content for free of charge and Facebook recently asked Thai digital TV operators to co-produce content running on its platform. “Obviously, Facebook is going to beat up digital TV and pay TV operators by acquiring the streaming rights to these popular football matches,” said Mana. BeIN Sports has the exclusive rights to broadcast English Premier League football matches. TrueVisions has secured an exclusive sub-license from BeIN Sports to broadcast in Thailand for three years from 2016. Mana said that the move was worrying for Thailand’s media industry because another giant search engine platform, Google, is expected to launch a new feature to compete with Facebook, probably by using YouTube as a content broadcaster. All of these are disruptive technologies threatening Thailand’s media industry. On the other hand, Time Chuastapanasiri, a media analyst, said Facebook does not only beat digital TV industry but every platform in the country, cable and satellite TV, pay TV and it will totally change traditional TV consumption. Facebook Live expanded into Thai TV industry with features that are convenient for users, broadcasting content through smartphones without the need to invest in additional equipment and has lured viewership during primetime. “Facebook will probably become the main TV station in Thailand’s future, by digital TV operators being tools or content provider,” said Mr Time. If Facebook Live becomes a TV station, the digital TV industry will be seriously impacted, he said.