Singapore – Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel) has signed a deal with three major studios – Disney – ABC International Television, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros. International Television Distribution. The deal will make it possible for its mioTV service to screen over 50 top US series within a day of their US premiere on a subscription – based model. Lauded as a world first, certainly in terms of the volume of content available, Rob Gilby, senior vice president and managing director, Disney – ABC International Television (Asia Pacific) said that Singapore fans will be the first in Asia to get their must – watch shows like Lost and Grey’s Anatomy so close to the US air date. “At Disney – ABC we understand that consumers want convenience and flexibility to watch their favourite shows when and how they want. By partnering with a new media pioneer such as SingTel’s mio TV, we keep viewers needs front – and – center.” Asked to what extent such a deal is a reactive measure against downloading sites, Gilby said that, on the whole, it is consumers’ overwhelming desire for the content that drives them to illegal downloading – rather than a reluctance to pay for it. “Ardent fans want to know what happens next, or viewers want the ‘water – cooler conversation’ kudos of having seen the latest episodes before anyone else. Most viewers would rather acquire content legitimately, and have a much better viewing experience,” added Gilby. SingTel mioTV’s new service, Season Pass, will launch from September and the availability of programming will follow the US TV calendar. mio TV will offer the latest seasons of popular American TV series debuting in US from September such as Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, Criminal Minds, Prison Break, Bones, 24, Ugly Betty, Without a Trace, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Supernatural, Samantha Who? and many more. These landmark deals with Disney, Warner Bros and Fox – Sony Pictures Entertainment have been with mioTV since it’s launch a year ago – have been well – received by the industry, proving that SingTel’s pay – TV ambitions are very much for the long – term. mioTV currently has around 50 channels and 45,000 subscribers, compared to StarHub Digital Cable’s 150 channels and 508,000 subscribers. StarHub were quick to respond to SingTel’s announcement. “Video – on – Demand has not yet entered mainstream TV viewing yet in Singapore, but it will soon. In fact, StarHub will be launching our VOD services very soon, which will also carry popular TV series with advanced windows,” said Patrick Lim, StarHub’s head of cable TV services.
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