The hit Tony Jaa movie Ong-Bak and other films produced by Sahamongkol Film International will soon be coming to satellite and cable television on the Mongkol Channel.
The channel starts broadcasting on June 10, mainly in Thailand, but also Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, according to an article in yesterday's Daily Xpress. Here's more from the story:
The new channel, with its familiar bhodi leaf logo, is run by Akarapol Techaratanaprasert's Mongkol Multimedia. Along with films, it will offer movie-themed variety shows and shorts. The films include those made by Sahamongkol Film international as well as other Asian films distributed by Mongkol Major.
"We have also bought close to 300 Thai classics to air on the channel," says company vice president Vichaya Jarujinda.
The cable-and-satellite broadcaster expects to reach some 13 million subscribers nationwide as well as viewers in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The channel isn't yet available on TrueVisions.
"We will be working with TrueVisions, and expanding our broadcast to North America and Europe in the future," Vichaya says.
TrueVisions is the dominant local cable company in Thailand. There are a few smaller operators, but most viewers in Thailand subscribe to True.
A Bangkok Post story last Friday (cache) explains that Mongkol Multimedia is a new subsidiary of Sahamongkol Film International. The new cable company was set up with a capital of 50 million baht.
The business plan is made somewhat feasible by the fact that cable operators are now allowed to sell advertising, something they were barred from doing until the law was changed in the Radio and Broadcasting Act, which took effect in March. Previously, the only source of revenue for cable operators was from fees paid by subscribers. But under the new law, cable operators are still hamstrung as they can only sell five-minutes worth of ads per hour.
Here's more on the channel from the Bangkok Post story:
Mr Akarapol said the company's first satellite TV channel would be Mongkol Channel, mostly broadcasting Thai movies around the clock.
''Massive movie content means we can utilise rerun movies via satellite TV. That would increase income and strengthen our brand as a leading entertainment firm,'' he said.
It plans to start a test run of Mongkol Channel on June 10 prior to its official launch in the beginning of July. It uses a C-Band system to broadcast content to four million households with satellite dish receivers. The company would also broadcast free signals to cable TV operators, allowing it to reach as many as 10 million households.
Vichaya Jarujinda, vice-president of Thai Mongkol Multimedia, said the company had invested about 30 million baht in its pilot channel, mostly in equipment and software, including movie content.
He said 70% of the content was Saha Mongkol Film's movies and those of its business allies. The remaining 30% would be variety programmes. ''We have over 300 Thai and foreign movies. That is enough for 5,000 hours,'' he said.
According to the Daily Xpress story, actor-director Thosaphon Siriwiwat has been named programming manager and producer of the movie-themed variety shows. He promises "behind-the-scenes scoops that are even better than you get on DVD special features".
Bioscope magazine and the Thai Film Foundation have been asked to supply short films to the channel, and other production companies can rent airtime, the Daily Xpress says.
The company has eyes on the US "where more than 500,000 Thai people live", says the Bangkok Post story.
Because they are thinking only about Thai people, I think it's a safe assumption that the movies broadcast on the Mongkol Channel will not be subtitled, and that it's pretty likely the Asian films and perhaps even the Hollywood films licensed by Mongkol will be Thai dubbed.