SINGAPORE: Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Dr Yaacob Ibrahim said Singapore has no competition concerns in the pay TV sector which require intervention in retail prices at the moment.
In a written reply to a question from MP for Nee Soon GRC Er Dr Lee Bee Wah on whether the Ministry would consider regulating the charges for paid sports channels to make them affordable to the public, Dr Yaacob said MDA is aware that consumers are concerned about the rising cost of sports TV channels, but it is also mindful of potential unintended consequences to price regulation.
These include weakening the incentive for pay TV operators to introduce new and innovative services, as well as foreign content providers choosing not to sell to the Singapore market at all.
Dr Yaacob added that consumers may also know that the cost of acquiring premium sports content has been rising across the world, in line with the growing popularity of sports franchises.
Just last month, the popular English Premier League sold three years of UK TV rights, covering 2013 through 2016, for 3 billion pounds (S$5.97 billion). This represented a 70 per cent jump from the current three—year deals.
Dr Yaacob added that moderation in sports content prices in Singapore and globally will come about once pay TV operators and sports content owners realise that beyond a certain price level, they stand to lose more customers.
In response to Dr Lee’s query on whether the existing licence conditions on quality of service and consumer service for Pay—TV operators will be enhanced to improve the coverage and reliability of Pay—TV sports channels, Dr Yaacob said MDA currently ensures that subscribers are provided with a reliable viewing experience through licence conditions imposed on the operators.
MDA takes a serious view of lapses in the quality of pay TV services, and will not hesitate to take actions against operators that breach their licence conditions.
In 2010, MDA fined SingNet S$50,000 for its mio TV outage that occurred at around 6am to about 6pm on March 1, 2010 due to a software glitch.
MDA is also currently investigating the repeated disruptions in mio TV’s live telecast of the English Premier League season finale on May 13, 2012.
Dr Yaacob said if investigations disclose that the operator has breached the licence conditions, appropriate penalties will be imposed.
On another matter, Dr Yaacob said he believes that MediaCorp will strive to meet the interests of as many viewers as it can, and make it a priority to give attention and publicity to Team Singapore’s participation during the London Olympics.
He was responding to a question by Er Dr Lee who had asked what sports and stages of competition of the 2012 London Olympic Games would be broadcast on free—to—air TV channels.
Broadcasts of the 2012 London Olympic Games will be available on free—to—air TV, Internet and pay TV. For free—to—air TV coverage, MediaCorp had earlier announced that there would be 24—hour daily coverage across four channels combined, namely Channel 5, Channel U, okto and HD 5.
MediaCorp’s other free—to—air channels, Channel NewsAsia, Channel 8, Suria and Vasantham, would also carry Olympic reports in their news bulletins and breakfast shows.
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