01/06/2013 10:27 | By Deborah Ong, TODAY via Channel NewAsia

StarHub sports price hike leaves many upset

StarHub's decision to increase the subscription fee for its sports channels has left many up in arms

StarHub sports price hike leaves many upset (© Photo Credit: TODAY)

With effect from January 15, the local telco's sports group package will cost S$19.26 per month, up from S$12.84, after it recently acquired non-exclusive broadcast rights to ESPN Star Sports' (ESS) portfolio of multimedia assets and bundled the new television channels - ESPN, Star Sports and ESPN HD - with its 11 existing sports channels.

But consumers are upset at being left without the option of selecting which sports channels they want and having to accept the increased charges even though they may not want the new channels provided.

Furthermore, the channels are already available on SingTel's mio sports package, which many sports fans in Singapore already have.

However, StarHub said these new channels complete their stable of sports content and claimed very positive feedback from their customers who are "pleased that these channels are finally back".

"As the cost of sports content has escalated over the years, the monthly subscription had to be adjusted accordingly to reflect the true value of these premium contents with the addition of the ESS channels," said StarHub Vice-President (Home Solutions and Content) Iris Wee.

StarHub, however, insisted that the rate of subscription for the new sports group package remains healthy and that letters were sent to existing subscribers to inform them of the enhanced sports group, new pricing and when it takes effect.

But some subscribers claimed otherwise.

"In my opinion, the majority of Singaporean sports fans usually purchase the sports packages for football, so if StarHub doesn't include English Premier League (EPL) coverage, consumers won't be satisfied," said football fan Navin Nambiar.

Another fan, Royston Jalleh, described the situation as "ridiculous" and "tiring", and may terminate his StarHub sports subscription.

"In the mid-90s, sports packages were only about S$9.90. I may stick to mioTV for now because it's the middle of the EPL season. I'm not sure if I will re-contract with StarHub unless they provide EPL coverage," he said.

Another football fan, Hasan Saspra, 41, said: "This bundling of all the sports channels and not giving consumers a choice is unnecessary and expensive. I'm thinking of alternative ways to get my sports channels."

This is not the first time local sports fans have been left frustrated by pay-TV issues.

StarHub's rival telco, SingTel, also increased their sports group package fee from about S$26.90, depending on the range of channels, to S$34.90 in July last year due to the inclusion of UEFA Champions League coverage, which was previously free to all mio sports subscribers.


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