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New channels set for launch

New channels set for launch

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Cambodia's already-crowded television sector will welcome two new local stations in 2009, but critics worry they will lower programming quality

Photo by: Kay Kimsong

CTN owner and Royal Group Chairman Kith Meng at the launch of the Kingdom's first KFC outlet earlier this year.

TWO new local TV channels are to be officially launched next year after receiving government broadcast licences in 2007, bringing the total number of channels in the Kingdom to nine.

The Cambodian Television Network (CTN) plans to launch its new MYTV channel early next year, which will be followed by the launch of the regional South East Asia TV station later in 2009.

MYTV, which will have the same management as CTN, has been set up as a joint venture between the Royal Group and cellphone company Millicom Cambodia, which owns the Cellcard Mobitel brand, under the direction of Royal Group chairman Kith Meng, according to CTN general manager Glen Felgate.

He added that MYTV will broadcast nationwide and will go on air early next year, with an exact date to be announced soon.

‘‘Innovative'' programming

"The channel will be hi-tech, modern and innovative. We are hoping MYTV will be more than just a TV channel," Felgate said.

"We are hoping to create an entire community brought together through the mediums of TV, internet and mobile phone," he said, adding that programming will be a mixture of youth-oriented reality TV, music, modern action and science-fiction programs, as well as "entertaining" education programs.

"We are aiming to self-produce at least 50 percent of the schedule, and we have done deals with major international record labels so that we can legitimately broadcast the latest high-quality music videos," Felgate said.

South East Asia TV is also set to be launched in Cambodia next year, with general director Sem Sovanndeth expecting it to hit the airwaves around April or May.

"The TV station, equipped with the latest and most sophisticated technology, will be focused on education, IT and culture in Asean member countries," he said.

 "We do not hope to take profits from the already-crowded TV market in Cambodia. We just want to promote education, IT, research and culture."

More TV stations will make it difficult to produce quality programs.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith welcomed the new channels, saying they will give more choice to viewing audiences.

"The more TV networks, the more job creation," he said, adding that both networks received licences from his ministry last year.

But Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay said that the anarchic issuing of TV broadcast licences would lower the quality of programming.

"More TV stations will increase competition for commercial adverts, making it difficult for them to earn revenue and produce quality programs," he said, adding that despite the proliferation of channels there is still no independent station in Cambodia.

"All TV channels are under the direct and indirect influence of the ruling party," Son Chhay said.

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