StarHub gets overactive

Co. banking on synergy more than ever

SINGAPORE — With cable TV penetration slowing here, StarHub is pursuing new avenues.

It remains one of the region’s only operators to offer cable, mobile phone and broadband services, and now, more than ever, it is banking on the synergies.

Cable TV penetration is still slow, rising to 37.4% in 2004 from 35.3% in 2003. Broadband showed the biggest jump, up 43% to 215,000 subscribers, while mobile showed a 27% year-on-year increase in revenues.

“We launched digital cable in May, undertook a successful IPO in October and achieved over 98% 3-G mobile coverage in December,” says Terry Clontz, StarHub prexy and CEO.

And StarHub is pursuing other opportunities, with the return of interactive channel HubTV.

Although offered free to StarHub cable TV subscribers, revenue is generated for every SMS or MMS (text or multimedia message) sent to the channel via mobile phone.

The new Hub TV also offers live video gaming. “StarHub (presented) Singapore’s first MMS/SMS channel. Now, we are also the first to introduce TV games that are played on mobile phones,” says Sandie Lee, StarHub’s senior veep of cable TV services.

StarHub is the first mobile phone operator in Asia to support access to Discovery Channel’s new wireless portal Gee! Discovery. StarHub Mobile customers can browse the portal for interesting facts plus download pictures and polyphonic ringtones onto their mobiles for between $1.30-$2.20 per download.

StarHub also tied up with exhib Golden Village to offer “live” soccer matches and major TV events on the bigscreen as well as monthly screenings and sneak previews. The largest Golden Village cinema at Great World City is now called the StarHub Movie Zone.

Digital TV meanwhile has seen an increase to 22 channels since its May launch, and December saw StarHub partner with the Media Development Authority to offer a test bed for new digital TV applications.

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