TELCOs – BT

Pay-TV cross-carriage to start in August

FROM Aug 1, pay-TV operators here will have to offer their exclusive content to subscribers of competing operators.

The Media Development Authority’s (MDA) mandate, announced in March last year, will apply to any exclusive content that operators have acquired on or after March 12, 2010.

The newly-gazetted regulation means pay-TV operators must be able to make available this content within five days of request from the consumer, even if they belong to competitors.

This applies to ‘qualified content’, as spelled out by MDA in its Media Market Conduct Code. One of the definitions covers content acquired on an exclusive basis, not to that created by the TV provider. It also does not apply to content delivered over the Internet or mobile platforms

The qualified content shared must be cross-carried unmodified, and at the same price, terms and conditions as offered to a provider’s own subscribers.

Cross-carriage is aimed at eliminating the need for two pay-TV set-top boxes, reducing hassle for consumers as well as the costs involved in providing the requisite hardware for operators.

MDA announced the cross- carriage mandate in March last year after a fierce battle between StarHub and SingTel over the exclusive rights to broadcast the Barclays Premier League (BPL). SingTel was rumoured to have paid a king’s ransom of $300 million for the privilege, which subsequently saw its smaller subscriber base balloon 60 per cent as new users jumped on to watch the BPL.

After a two-month industry consultation, which drew wide- spread protests from content suppliers here, MDA decided to press on with its ruling, stating that cross-carriage would do away with anti-competition and stimulate service differentiation.

An MDA spokesman also pointed out that during the consultation, it found that exclusively acquired content was one of the most relied-on methods to populate service offerings by dominant providers.

The regulator decided, however, to delay implementation of cross-carriage by nine months to give the industry time to adjust to the new legislation.

MDA claims that since the introduction of the ruling, the pay-TV market has grown ‘significantly’, with retailers introducing 20 new channels, as well as new services brought to consumers.

MDA plans to review the ruling every three years, or as the industry requires.

One argument against cross- carriage came from the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (Casbaa), which said such a practice would artificially suppress content prices and cause foreign media investments in the country to dry up.

TELCOs – BT

Pay-TV cross-carriage to start in August

FROM Aug 1, pay-TV operators here will have to offer their exclusive content to subscribers of competing operators.

The Media Development Authority’s (MDA) mandate, announced in March last year, will apply to any exclusive content that operators have acquired on or after March 12, 2010.

The newly-gazetted regulation means pay-TV operators must be able to make available this content within five days of request from the consumer, even if they belong to competitors.

This applies to ‘qualified content’, as spelled out by MDA in its Media Market Conduct Code. One of the definitions covers content acquired on an exclusive basis, not to that created by the TV provider. It also does not apply to content delivered over the Internet or mobile platforms

The qualified content shared must be cross-carried unmodified, and at the same price, terms and conditions as offered to a provider’s own subscribers.

Cross-carriage is aimed at eliminating the need for two pay-TV set-top boxes, reducing hassle for consumers as well as the costs involved in providing the requisite hardware for operators.

MDA announced the cross- carriage mandate in March last year after a fierce battle between StarHub and SingTel over the exclusive rights to broadcast the Barclays Premier League (BPL). SingTel was rumoured to have paid a king’s ransom of $300 million for the privilege, which subsequently saw its smaller subscriber base balloon 60 per cent as new users jumped on to watch the BPL.

After a two-month industry consultation, which drew wide- spread protests from content suppliers here, MDA decided to press on with its ruling, stating that cross-carriage would do away with anti-competition and stimulate service differentiation.

An MDA spokesman also pointed out that during the consultation, it found that exclusively acquired content was one of the most relied-on methods to populate service offerings by dominant providers.

The regulator decided, however, to delay implementation of cross-carriage by nine months to give the industry time to adjust to the new legislation.

MDA claims that since the introduction of the ruling, the pay-TV market has grown ‘significantly’, with retailers introducing 20 new channels, as well as new services brought to consumers.

MDA plans to review the ruling every three years, or as the industry requires.

One argument against cross- carriage came from the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (Casbaa), which said such a practice would artificially suppress content prices and cause foreign media investments in the country to dry up.

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