Sat, 07 Aug 2010

From: The Jakarta Globe

By Irvan Tisnabudi
Jakarta. Media Nusantara Citra, the operator of satellite-TV provider Indovision, on Monday will launch MNC Business, Indonesia’s first channel offering 24-hour business and financial news.

According to MNC Business project director Arief Suditomo, the channel is “Indonesia’s answer to foreign business channels such as Bloomberg and CNBC.”

Arief said he was excited not only by the business prospects the new network would bring, but also by what he believed the network could offer the country.

“Indonesia’s economy, especially its domestic consumption, can be stimulated by the media. I hope this new channel will be able to do that because we’ve never had a 24-hour Indonesian business news channel,” Arief said.

As the first channel of its kind in Indonesia, MNC Business should at least command a large share of the TV market for business information. The network’s all-day business coverage will dwarf that of broadcast networks TVOne and Metro TV, which offer two hours of business news a day.

Beyond MNC circles, the impending launch of the channel has attracted mostly positive reactions, with a few hesitations.
Pardomuan Sihombing, an analyst at Paramitra Alfa Sekuritas, said the business world would welcome the new channel, which would also be a financial victory for MNC.

“Based on its viewer demographics, the new channel should be a target for commercial placements from the country’s big listed companies,” Pardomuan said, adding that the network “will also have a positive impact on MNC’s stock price.”

Others, like TVOne’s business programs executive producer, Ahmad Iskandar, have questioned the ability of MNC Business - which intends to offer eight hours of original programing a day - to fill an entire 24-hour cycle.

“In order to run a 24-hour business news channel, producers must keep coming up with fresh material or the channel will end up being too repetitive, especially if it only has eight hours of freshly produced programs,” he said.

Still, Ahmad welcomed the entry of MNC Business into Indonesia’s wide-open TV news market.

“With a new TV channel available in Indonesia covering business news, producers from other channels will be forced to become more creative,” he said.

According to Arief, MNC has been developing the new channel since January at “very little” capital expenditure. He declined to give the exact amount, but said that MNC “required only one extra studio for the new channel, because it will use available equipment from other MNC-exclusive channels such as MNC News.”

“These exclusive channels, such as MNC News and MNC Business, are what help operators gain an edge in the subscription-TV business,” he added.

Indovision, which boasted 650,000 subscribers nationwide at the end of 2009, launched MNC News in 2006.

MNC is planning $30 million in total capital expenditures this year, with about 80 percent of it earmarked for the development of its national networks, RCTI and Global TV. The remaining $6 million will go toward MNC’s print media and subscription TV businesses, including MNC Business.

MNC has targeted a 21 percent increase in revenue this year from Rp 3.9 trillion ($436.9 million) last year. It also plans to issue $300 million to $400 million in bonds in the fourth quarter to refinance maturing debts amounting to $143 million. The rest will be used to finance capital expenditure for its subsidiaries.

The company’s stock closed at Rp 305 on Thursday.