According to CASBAA, the media industry in Singapore is expected to grow by 25.8% between 2010 to 2015− reaching a value of about 2.3 billion in 2015. MediaCorp remains the sole provider of Singapore’s freeto- air (FTA) content, offering seven channels.
StarHub (Cable TV) and SingTel (IPTV) are the only two dominant pay-TV operators in the country, regulated by the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA). With MDA’s cross-carrying channel rule in place, the two operators have learnt to put their differences aside in most issues, including the notable case regarding the Barclays Premiere League content.
Also, the Singapore Media Festival 2015 (SMF) returns this year with a stronger line-up for global media players and the public. Five events will be held including the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), Asia TV Forum and Market (ATF), ScreenSingapore (SS), Asian Television Awards (ATA) and the latest addition, Digital Matters.
This year, SMF decided that digital content will be the way forward to the global audience. This is evident with the inclusion of Digital Matters, The Future of Cinema forum series at the SGIFF, as well as the ATF’s premarket conference that sheds light on digital content trends and evolving business models.
Pay-Tv In Singapore
According to Statistics Singapore, pay-TV subscribers have increased by about 38.6% from an estimated 694,000 in 2009 to 962,000 subscribers in 2014. Pay-TV subscription has also increased by 26.2% from 2003 to 2013.
In efforts to promote the local media scene, StarHub has partnered MDA to produce the ‘Go Local Campaign’ in 2014 where local productions would be parked under. These productions will be available on StarHub TV Anywhere, as well as the StarHub Buddy app, making it easier for Singaporeans to watch local movies and dramas.
Besides offering local productions, StarHub TV Anywhere also provides access to many other content including NBCUniversal International Television’s Diva, Syfy and Universal Channel. This was made possible because of their partnership reinforcement which began in 2008.
Offering a new and improved interface, StarHub has also launched a new set-top box in partnership with Samsung. According to Asia Media Journal, the new set-top boxes are meant to restrain boxbased piracy. StarHub – which is also a mobile service provider in Singapore – has continued its partnership with Tektronix Communications, where it was appointed to provide Radio Access Network (RAN) performance assurance for StarHub customers all year round.
Using the GeoSoft RAN probes, in combination with Tektronix Communications’ Iris Session Analyser (ISA) and touch point TM customer care solutions, StarHub will achieve a full-service, end-toend monitoring solution, to provide mobile access and customer experience assurance. GeoSoft RAN probes extract real-time, geolocated performance data, whilst ISA’s Call Trace functionality monitors signalling from the device all the way through the network.
MediaCorp’s OTT solution, Toggle introduced a refreshed website, Toggle.sg, offering users a brand new viewing experience and exciting new entertainment and lifestyle content, including video-on-demand for free. The website also offers an optimised viewing experience across all mobile devices. Toggle is also available as an app on iPhone, iPad, Android devices, Smart TVs and most recently in March 2015, Microsoft Xbox One.
Toggle now has several channels including Toggle-it-First – that enables viewers to watch MediaCorp dramas ahead of the rest – and also Toggle Prime which offers more content to subscribers including 20 premium channels and over 20,000 on-demand titles. Free content is also available. Toggle KidsZone was created to banish the worry of parents as it filters content to children’s suitability. In May 2015, Toggle launched Toggle Laughs, a platform presenting curated comedic content.
In October 2014, Toggle signed a multi-year SVOD licensing agreement with Disney which included the first ABC Studios On Demand offering in Singapore. In the agreement, Toggle has added onto their service, an array of series from ABC Studios On Demand and movies from Walt Disney Studios, including movies from Pixar, Marvel and Disney. The movies from classics like Dead Poet’s Society to Marvel hits like Iron Man can be found at the subscription video on demand service.
After announcing the launch of MiBox in August last year, M1 Limited (M1) – another telecommunication operator – has worked with MediaCorp in August 2014 to allow subscribers convenient access to Toggle Prime. MiBox is an internet TV service that offers VOD entertainment and educational titles, games, e-books and apps. The service comes bundled with an Android set-top box and a selection of free dramas, variety shows and other content.
Transition to digital television
In July 2014, M1 was appointed by MDA to manage the Digital TV Assistance Scheme. The scheme was initiated to target low-income families in Singapore where it helped households transit to digital television. Eligible families not only received a DVB-T21 (Digital Video Broadcasting – Second Generation Terrestrial) set-top box but also an indoor antenna and a complimentary installation service.
In October 2014, MDA officially launched the Digital TV Assistance Scheme where about 160,000 households are expected to benefit from it, according to MDA’s Chief Executive Officer. In their efforts to reach out to low-income households, MDA has worked with various agencies, such as the Housing and Development Board (HDB), Ministry of Social and Family Development, Ministry of Health, People’s Association and self-help groups.
MDA has also proposed stricter rules to the two pay-TV operators to protect subscribers. In efforts to provide more protection to consumers, MDA has put in place new rules due to the increase in package prices by StarHub and SingTel. Feedback was sought by the regulator to subscribers regarding the rules and if ratified, will provide more power to TV viewers.
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