Singapore Revises Sports Sharing List

Friday, 11 January 2013

Singapore’s MDA has announced the conclusion of its consultation process on revision of that country’s designated content list.  (This is a list of specific sporting events that must be offered for broadcast on FTA television.  Singapore adopts the Australian practice of calling this an “antisiphoning” list, though the relevancy of that term outside Australia is questionable.)

The revisions continue a practice in effect since 2003.  In the latest revisions, the government made use of existing legal authorities to divide the list into two parts:  Category A, for which FTA television must be offered rights for live or near-live broadcast of the full event, and Category B, for which live broadcast may be only on pay-TV, but FTA TV must be offered rights for delayed broadcast (defined as after 48 hours after the event, unless the parties agree otherwise.)

A few items were removed from the 2003 list, including the local S-League soccer matches and the Winter Olympics (downgraded from Category A to Category B).   A few new items were added, including the final rounds of the FIFA World Cup and the F1 race in Singapore.

The outcome of the consultation is broadly in line with recommendations made at an earlier stage by an industry expert panel (which included both CASBAA and the two leading Singapore pay-TV platforms).   The pay-TV industry had sought an even shorter list.  That said, the conclusion of the process still leaves Singapore in the position of having a carefully defined and well-thought-out list that is limited in scope and balances national interest with commercial considerations in an equitable manner – far from the intrusive and one-sided policies adopted in some other markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

MDA issued a “Closing Note” to the consultation, (download here ) as well as a public notice, downloadable  here.


Singapore Sets Cross-Carriage Rules

Monday, 04 July 2011

Singapore’s Media Development Authority announced July 1 that it would require pay-TV retailers in the country to implement on August 1 the “cross-carriage”  scheme for any pay-TV content sold on an exclusive basis.   The system is going ahead despite continued objections from content providers, and warnings of implementation difficulties by the major pay-TV retailers.   However, the transition will be eased by the fact that very little content will actually be “cross-carried;” few, if any, exclusive carriage agreements are being signed in Singapore.  (In its submission to MDA, CASBAA had warned that with little content actually being cross carried “the risk of unmet expectations and consumer complaints remains very high.”)  Meanwhile, local press reports, as usual, focused on the impact of the measures on negotiations for sports rights.

MDA’s latest Press Release and “Closing Note” on the consultation process, as well as all 10 of the submissions made in the most recent round of consultations, can all be accessed through this web page:


CASBAA Submission on Implementation of Cross Carriage in Singapore

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

In its response to MDA’s “Third Consultation” paper on cross-carriage, CASBAA suggested that MDA should exercise “restraint” in implementation of a cross-carriage system, and warned against a system where the regulator evaluates every wholesale pay-TV contract on non-transparent criteria.  CASBAA also suggested that an alternative “Open Access” system providing the means for content providers to voluntarily seek cross-carriage of content would be far preferable to MDA’s proposed mandatory cross-carriage system, and would be equally effective in dealing with content “fragmentation” across various platforms.

Download here


Dangers of A La Carte Regulation

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper published an Op-Ed column by an Asia-based consultant, talking about the perils of mandating by regulation the break-up of pay-TV bundles and market-determined commercial offerings.  The article is an unusually clear discussion of some of the key issues affecting the pay-TV industry, and is worth a read by industry insiders as well as laymen.  Download the text of the article here.


CASBAA strongly opposes MDA Cross Carriage Plan

Monday, 04 October 2010

CASBAA told Singapore’s MDA that international content companies believe the planned mandatory “cross-carriage” regime in Singapore was a flawed scheme that violated internationally-recognized intellectual property rights, and would not meet the expectations of Singapore consumers.

Download here


Service Industry Coalition Objects to Distortion on US Rules

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

The Washington-based Coalition of Service Industries wrote to Singapore’s MDA expressing concern over “mischaracterization” of US FCC policy on exclusive TV content. Far from being a precedent for MDA’s cross-carriage system, the Coalition wrote, “U.S. policy for television programming is not to tell those who create and distribute content with whom they should enter into contracts, or what the terms and conditions of those contracts should be – including exclusivity.” The Coalition urged Singapore to reconsider cross-carriage, which it said was “an overly broad move that would limit the rights of all content owners to contract for the supply of their products in the manner of their choosing.” The Coalition posted the letter on their website, and it can be downloaded here.


Singapore Debating Content Exclusivity

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Singapore’s “Today” newspaper published an excellent summary of the debate underway about content exclusivity in the island republic, in the wake of signature of the contract for English football for 2010-2013. Acting Minister Lui Tuck Yew told Singapore’s Parliament that the state had traditionally ensured that essential services are available for a fair price, but Premier League football has not been defined as essential. “Although I'm sure some consumers may disagree,” said the Minister, “...essentially, it is entertainment". Read the article here.

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CASBAA refutes Singapore sports claim

Thursday, 31 July 2008

A widely read Singapore newspaper column called for new controls on pay-TV services thanks to rising consumer prices for sports content. "Consumers enjoy a far greater range of television content options today than at any point in history," said CASBAA in its published response, "and competitive forces are going to continue to increase those options - as long as the government stays its regulatory hand..."

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