Singapore – Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel) has inked a deal to bring the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ to all television and mobile screens in Singapore. Customers who sign up for or extend their Gold Pack or mio Stadium+ contracts (on both pay TV platforms) for 24 months will enjoy the matches for free. All 64 matches will be available ‘live’ and on-demand on tablets and smartphones through the mio TV GO app.
SingTel mio TV is finalising a deal to share the World Cup with everyone through free-to-air coverage for key matches. These matches will also be available for free on mobile devices for the first time.
Allen Lew, Country Chief Officer, Singapore said, “The World Cup is the pinnacle of sports programming, and captures the hearts and minds of viewers across the globe. With the tournament still three months away, we are delighted to be able to give Singapore the certainty of being able to watch every match. Our complete coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ will bring fans unparalleled on-demand and interactive access, and will showcase the future of television, tablets and smartphones.”
Those who wish to enjoy the thrilling World Cup matches without committing to a contract can access all the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ matches on either pay TV platform at a one-time price of S$112.35 (after GST). All other customers who sign up for Gold or mio Stadium+ Packs (on 24-month contracts) from a date that will be announced soon will automatically receive the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ channels for free.
In response to SingTel’s announcement, pay-TV competitor StarHub released the following statement from Chief Marketing Officer Jeannie Ong:
“We are concerned that customers will have to pay more for 2014 FIFA World Cup (World Cup) from S$66 to S$105 on a standalone basis. At a time of escalating sports content costs, we made a sincere offer to our competitor for a similar arrangement as the last World Cup. A joint bid would have spread the cost of the content and allowed both operators to offer the tournament at a more affordable price, benefitting all viewers in Singapore. Unfortunately, our competitor chose to acquire the rights exclusively. The higher price our competitor paid for the exclusive rights for this year’s World Cup (compared to 2010 World Cup) exacerbates this trend. Overbidding resulting in soaring content costs will have far-reaching implications in the future for viewers in Singapore.
In addition, our competitor’s World Cup offer sets a precedent for operators to acquire exclusive content at high prices to lock customers into extended contracts, which runs counter to the cross-carriage regime’s objectives.
StarHub will comply with MDA’s cross-carriage direction, and broadcast the 2014 World Cup on our platform. However, unlike the Barclays Premier League where we provided a rebate to our customers who chose to subscribe to the content cross-carried on our platform, we will not be able to provide a rebate for the World Cup. The rebate was intended to help our customers, but it has inadvertently encouraged our competitor to continue making higher exclusive bids, which in turn, further inflates the cost of sports content. We do not support overbidding of content prices by our competitor, as it will have long-term adverse implications for the industry and Singapore viewers.”
The match package for the 2006 FIFA World Cup had cost S$26.25 (after GST), increasing to S$94.16 (after GST) for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Under Media Development Authority’s (MDA) cross-carriage rule, exclusive content acquired by pay-tv retailers has to be shared with other broadcasters, which in this case includes StarHub.