After eight years, Line TV in Thailand closed down due to intense competition from streaming services and high costs of content licensing.
According to a media statement, Line Thailand will discontinue the Line TV service on December 31, 2021, due to the change of business direction.
Through December, Line TV will continue to offer users special content, including popular shows that have won the most votes.
“As a result, we wish to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude toward your excellent support and trust throughout this period. Your generous and kind partnership helped establish Line TV as one of Thailand’s top online content platforms,” the statement said.
Line TV had 40 million users in Thailand by 2019, becoming the first Y series provider in the country.
“The closure means that streaming has become intensely competitive in Thailand for a share of customers’ eyes from various digital platforms,” Pawat Ruangdejworachai, president of Media Intelligence (MI), told the Bangkok Post.
Licensing too costly for Line TV
Currently, there are a number of streaming platforms in the country, but no dominant player since the market is fragmented.
YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok are all indirect competitors that compete for eyeballs as well.
As well as this, the cost of licensing content is high, as well as the cost of investing in original content that will be exclusive to a particular platform.
The policy of Line is not to keep a business that is not profitable. Line TV uses a separate app, which does not synergize with Line’s core business, said Mr Pawat.
From its share of 31% at 23 billion baht in 2021, digital advertising is expected to account for nearly a third or 32% of Thailand’s total advertising market by 2022.
Line TV’s closing is a sign of the intense competition in the streaming market, where content is key, according to Surin Krittayaphongphun, president of BEC World, the operator of Channel 3. Content strategy and a unique value proposition are essential for operators.
Suthikorn Kingkaew, a researcher at Thammasat University’s Research and Consultancy Institute, explained that OTT players who are unable to invest enough budget and earn enough income will not survive.
Successful OTT companies such as YouTube and Facebook, which allow others to generate content, have more sustainability since they do not have to invest, but still provide a variety of content.
Line TV’s closure also illustrated that pioneers who build strong foundations of content, such as YouTube and Facebook, will always be better than newcomers.
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