Taiwan: Pay-TV’s exclusive content to be cross-carried from August (todayonline.com)

3 July 2011 21 h 13 min 36 comments

SINGAPORE – A move requiring pay-television operators to share exclusive content – thus saving consumers the hassle of installing multiple set-top boxes – has been given the green light and will start next month.

By Cheow Xin Yi, todayonline.com, Jul 02, 2011
This means any pay-television retailers who have acquired exclusive content – called “qualified content” – after March last year must offer them to subscribers of other qualified pay-television retailers through the latter’s set-top box.

According to the press statement issued by the Media Development Authority (MDA) yesterday, “pay-television operators must make the exclusive content available to the rival operator’s customers unedited within five working days, to consumers who wish to subscribe to it, and at the same price.”

In its statement, MDA said the cross-carriage measure – aimed at “fostering a vibrant pay-television market to the benefit of consumers and industry” - has been gazetted after the regulator concluded its third and final round of consultation with 10 industry players in April.

The industry players included the three local telcos, as well as the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia, which has publicly spoken against the move.

When contacted yesterday, both StarHub and SingTel said they have not signed any exclusive content deals since last March, even as both telcos voiced their support for the measure.

The move, however, could benefit consumers as early as next year, with both SingTel and StarHub having confirmed that they are considering a bid for the 2012 European football championship.

Previously, fierce bidding for exclusive content between the two had driven up content costs over the years.

StarHub’s vice-president of home solutions and content, Ms Iris Wee, welcomed “the fine-tuning to the final amended code of practice, such as a longer lead-time provided to the pay-television operators for the initial set-up of the systems to carry the exclusive content.”

She added it was premature to “comment on the effects of the cross-carriage regime to our pay-television business and prices at this juncture”.

A pay-television provider required to run a competitor’s content must have at least 10,000 subscribers, which currently only includes StarHub and SingTel.

While there were concerns from the industry that the 10,000 threshold is too low, MDA said it arrived at the figure after reviewing the take-up rate of new pay-television retailers over last two years and current level of market penetration. According to the 43-page document summarising respondents’ feedback, a respondent also asked whether MDA will put in place a “whistle-blowing scheme” to deter anyone exploring ways to circumvent the measures – to which MDA said it would review the necessity after the measure’s implementation.

The Consumers Association of Singapore, one of the stakeholders consulted, welcomed the changes, with executive director Seah Seng Choon noting that the final code of practice ensured that consumers would have more choices at the same price.

SOURCE: todayonline.com (2/07/2011)

IN THE PRESS:

. No need to change set-top box … http://www.todayonline.com/Sports/EDC110621-0000064/No-need-to-change-set-top-box-,,,

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