Prominent tycoon and ruling party senator Ly Yong Phat has now set his sights on the media landscape.
Phat, the head of LYP Group, on Friday confirmed plans that he is seeking to set up a television station.
The entry of an LYP channel, proposed as part of a joint venture with unnamed media companies from France and Thailand, would make it the 11th commercial TV station in Cambodia.
“I want to invest in the TV channel because I want to share accurate news with people,” Phat said, adding that the new station would focus on Cambodian social issues.
“I am cooperating with French and Thai investors who have years of experience in the industry. I want to launch a very professional and modern program for the audience,” he said, declining to disclose the investment capital or the name of partners.
Television-frequency licence holders are allowed to run up to three or four channels, though each requires a licence, which must be given by the Ministry of Information.
Phat said he had not yet been granted a licence but was in negotiations to use the frequency of an existing operator, which he declined to name.
Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith was more upfront about Phat’s dealings.
“LYP is negotiating for the licence from Bayon group. Once an agreement is reached, Bayon group has to give up its right over the frequency,” he said.
Kanharith warned that more stations entering the already-crowded market would mean less advertising revenue to go around, which could lead to lower-quality programming.
“But finally, the best survives with better quality,” he said.
According to data from Indochina Research, which monitors spending on advertisements in TV and print, $105.4 million was spent on advertising in the Kingdom in 2012, compared with $101.6 million in 2011 and $75.6 million in 2010.
Moun Ramady, CEO of TV network CNC, said on Friday that there was little threat from a new entrant in Cambodia’s television market.
“We welcome more competition so that the industry will become more professional and bring new programs for the audience – this will be a big contribution to develop our media industry,” he said.
“I don’t think it will affect our advertising revenue because you see the advertising spending from companies to the media is increasing year on year, while we are always trying to set up new programs by offering accurate news to the audience.”