Business

MRTV Names 10 Companies Shortlisted for TV Licenses

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 3 February 2017

RANGOON — The Ministry of Information announced on Thursday that 10 companies have been named to a shortlist for television content provider licenses.

Late in 2016, the ministry put out a call to local companies interested in becoming content providers. The selected companies will be licensed to broadcast digital free-to-air television under the umbrella of the state-owned Myanmar Radio and Television (MRTV) office.

The ministry announced in October that 42 companies had expressed interest obtaining a license. Those 42 were narrowed down to 29 companies which submitted formal proposals.

Then MRTV brought in an outside consulting firm, Tun Group Asia, to further narrow down the list of candidates. Tun Group Asia cut the list of 29 companies down to 10—now the official shortlist—which it considered the best candidates.

From the remaining 10 firms, MRTV must select only five companies for licensing.

The 10 shortlisted firms are: Eleven Media, Mizzima Media, DVB Multi Media, Bo Bo Entertainment Myanmar, Tikhina, VOIP Myanmar, Global Technology, Fortune International, Kaung Myanmar Aung, and Young Investment Group.

The final five companies will be chosen soon after an additional round of meetings and more detailed proposals are submitted, the ministry announced.

The five selected companies will operate their own channels within MRTV, which is one of four entities that controls broadcasting licenses. The other entities are the Forever Group, Shwe Thanlwin, and Myawaddy TV.

MRTV was created in 1979, and for decades it broadcasted propaganda on behalf of Burma’s former military regime. Today MRTV operates 10 channels and plans to expand to 15.

However, the process for selecting five new content providers has taken longer than expected, and the latest announcement from the Ministry of Information has been a source of confusion, according to U Toe Zaw Latt, Rangoon bureau chief at the Democratic Voice of Burma.

“As we understood from the ministry’s initial plan, these 10 shortlisted companies are already approved,” he said. “That means they chose five qualified companies, and then they chose another five as backups in case the first companies were not prepared.”

“But this recent announcement says we will now have to interview again, before we can receive the final license,” he said.

When the selection process began, it was expected that candidate companies would submit their proposals by Dec. 5, and MRTV would announce the five winners by Jan. 5. But that schedule has run into delays.

“So we are concerned that everything could be delayed again before the final announcement,” said U Toe Zaw Latt.

DVB has already established a functioning satellite TV system, and the company is not worried about converting to a digital TV system, U Toe Zaw Latt said. But he doesn’t know if other shortlisted companies are as prepared.

The Ministry of Information has not said when it will announce the five selected companies.

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