Thai film industry posts big numbers


My mailbox lately has been filled with press releases from the newly renamed Motion Picture Association International (MPAI), so let's take a look at what Mike Ellis, president and managing director, Asia-Pacific, and his team are reporting about our home base of Thailand:

The film and television industry in Thailand contributed US$2.22 billion (68.3 billion baht) to the country’s economy and supported 86,600 jobs in 2011. The industry also generated tax revenues of US$81.4 million (2.5 billion baht).

The Economic Contribution of the Film and Television Industries in Thailand was prepared by Oxford Economics and launched in October 2012. The report highlighted the significant economic contribution the film and television industries made to the Thai economy in 2011, and found that those businesses had grown substantially since 2003.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Sukumol Kunplome, Thailand’s Minister of Culture, declared, “The film and television industry has a proud history in Thailand, and we are indeed a nation of movie lovers. Our creative community is known for its visual flair and international filmmakers come from far and wide to shoot films, television shows and commercials in our beautiful landscapes and dramatic cities. In 2010, for example, some 578 foreign films were shot in Thailand, generating some US$60.8 million [1.8 billion baht] in revenue. This not only provides an injection of significant funds into the Thai economy, but helps export our unique culture to the rest of the world. This is an important and valuable report which I hope will contribute to stimulating an even healthier film and television community in the future.”

Jaruek Kaljaruek, chairman of the Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand (FNFAT) and managing director of the Kantana Group, said, “This is a timely report which provides a clear illustration of the film and television community’s economic contribution to the Thai economy, directly accounting for 0.65% of GDP. It allows us to not only recognize our areas of strength, which include robust broadcast and cable TV sub-sectors, but opportunities for growth, which could include measures to stimulate more film production and a wider range of online distribution services. We are fortunate that our industries attract talented and skillful people. While I’m optimistic that the outlook is promising, these are challenging times to pursue a career in the screen industries, given that content created by our community is constantly in need of protection from theft. Every one of our films is available on illegal DVD copies easily found on the streets or online on the many Thai file-sharing platforms. The government needs to act quickly and effectively to address this before it causes irreversible damage to our screen community.”

Dr. Sorajak Kasemsuvan, former managing director of the Motion Picture Association of Thailand and newly appointed international president of Thai Airways, observed, ”Thailand has a thriving domestic film and television industry that supports some 86,600 jobs in a wide variety of fields, from visual-effects artists to cinematographers, directors and cinema workers. The industry supports long-term professional careers for our talented artists, offering on average jobs with annual wages of 230,000 baht per year, almost double the average wage across the whole economy. This report provides us with a vital template for the economic scale of the industry, and allows us to plan for even greater productivity and growth.”

Prachya Pinkaew, Thai writer/producer/director (Ong Bak, The Protector 2) and past president of the Thai Directors Association, commented, “We Thais love our movies and the shared experience of watching a film or TV show with friends and family. Movies and TV shows are very important to us. Those of us working in this creative field are thankful to be able to follow our dreams and create great shows for Thai people to enjoy. Our work requires a range of skills, hard work and lots of investment, and it is important that our intellectual property is carefully protected. I thank the film and television community for undertaking this report and hope that leads to strong growth and a bright future.”

Ellis stated, “This report clearly indicates that in the past few years, the film and television industry in Thailand has recorded strong growth, providing valuable jobs and creating terrific films and TV shows. The industry also stimulates a range of economic activity through related businesses and services, contributing over a quarter of million jobs to the whole economy. This is the reason why we are fully committed to working closely with the local screen community to promote further growth and help protect the valuable creative work created with so much hard work and passion.”

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