RTB stepping up to remain relevant

National 2 minutes, 16 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THERE has been a 7 per cent drop in the number of Radio Televisyen Brunei (RTB) viewers since the last study was conducted in 2009, the Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.

There was a drop from 84 per cent of total viewers in 2009 to 77 per cent in 2013, said Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Kolonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia Hj Mohammad Yasmin Hj Umar at the Legislative Council meeting yesterday.

The downward trend mirrored the global trend, according to a television consultant in the report.

However, the study showed a 15 per cent increase in the number of radio listeners aged between 18-60, jumping from 52 per cent to 67 per cent of all listeners in the country.

Internet users in the Sultanate also increased by 36 per cent.

RTB, which comes under the PMO, is the sole government broadcaster.

It has the responsibility of providing programmes that are consistent with the principles of the Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB).

Private television channels however have fewer constraints when planning their programme schedules, the minister said.

The minister was responding to a question from LegCo member Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Maharaja Kerna Dato Paduka Seri Hj Yaakub Pehin Orang Kaya Maharaja Diraja Dato Paduka Hj Zainal, who asked how RTB planned to compete with private television channels and produce better quality programmes.

YB Pehin Hj Yaakub advised RTB to improve its content to meet local viewer demand, while producing programmes that could be marketed regionally and globally.

He then asked if RTB had any plans to enter the global market.

The minister said RTB was continuously improving the quality of its content and planned to produce TV shows using high-definition technology.

Aside from in-house production, RTB also outsources some of its programmes, such as drama series, religious-based shows and programmes for young children, he said.

It was not mentioned whether RTB outsourced to local production houses or otherwise.

On making RTB available around the world, the minister said RTB recognised the need to take advantage of the developments in Internet broadcasting.

The minister mentioned that the study had shown the Internet was a potential area for RTB expansion and that the broadcaster had already made moves in that direction.

“RTB is aware of the need (to improve) and will continue to arm itself with the required technology, and more importantly, acquire adequate human resources who are creative and professional,” the minister said.

The minister then reiterated that RTB would continue to play the role of being the government’s official media broadcaster while taking measures to remain relevant... “not just to push government agendas, but to maintain the culture and lifestyle of people in Brunei in the eye of the world”.

The Brunei Times