Singapore OKs exclusive content

Government rules for pay-TV services

HONG KONG — Singapore’s government Friday ruled that exclusive content is OK on pay-TV services.

Decision came after an appeal by Singapore Telecommunications against a May ruling by the Media Development Authority allowing StarHub Cable Vision exclusive carriage arrangements with certain foreign channels. SingTel had claimed that this unreasonably restricted competition.

Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information Communications and the Arts, found that “there remained ample scope for commercial negotiations,” and “that exclusive agreements per se do not substantially foreclose potential entrants’ access to key content for the pay-TV market in Singapore.”

Ministry upheld the MDA’s ruling, and dismissed SingTel’s appeal.

SingTel last week launched mioTV, its own paybox, as an IPTV platform making use of its extensive broadband network.

Simon Twiston Davies, CEO of the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Assn. of Asia, welcomed the news, adding, “The right to contract between parties for premium and exclusive content is part of the bedrock of the global pay-TV industry.”

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