LAS VEGAS - If you can't beat them, join them.
As Netflix opens its library of TV shows and movies - including uncensored titles - to viewers in Singapore, both Singtel and StarHub are looking to cut deals with the Internet TV network.
The Singapore launch is part of Netflix's simultaneous push into 130 new countries on top of the 60 where it already has a presence. This was announced yesterday by Netflix chief executive and co-founder Reed Hastings during a keynote speech at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The service streams movies and TV shows online for a monthly fee. Users can watch shows wherever they want, without sticking to a broadcast schedule. They can also view Netflix on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, as well as on set-top boxes with the Netflix app installed.
In Singapore, it will cost between $11 and $17 a month to access Netflix's library.
Local telcos are also keen to join hands with it.
What they offer:
Basic: Allows streaming to one device in standard definition quality.
Standard: Offers high-definition content on two devices at the same time.
Premium: Offers ultra high-definition 4K content across four devices.
Singtel said its customers "can look forward to enjoying Netflix content with us soon".
StarHub said it is "exploring a partnership with Netflix". This would allow viewers access to Netflix content over a StarHub set-top box.
When the American streaming firm said it was planning a 2016 launch of its service in Singapore late last year, many consumers thought the service would have a curated offering due to the country's strict censorship laws. Netflix's content includes uncensored versions of Orange Is The New Black, Spartacus, Pulp Fiction and Clockwork Orange.
Popular series Orange Is The New Black features nudity and drug use, for instance.
Rather than remove any titles, some of which have been rated R21, from its library, Netflix said it will follow rating guidelines from the Media Development Authority (MDA) to ensure that these titles reach the appropriate audience.
As the higher-tier Netflix accounts allow for multiple users to use the same account simultaneously, this viewing restriction involves the use of a parental control PIN, set by the account owner, to restrict access to adult titles. Netflix is offering the same restricted PIN access to users in Germany.
MDA said it "will continue to work with Netflix to provide viewers with more informed choices and put in place measures to safeguard the young from inappropriate content".
Checks on the library being offered to Singapore revealed that some shows, including Netflix's first original production, House Of Cards, are missing from the local service, but this is not due to censorship.
A Netflix spokesman said the rights for some titles, such as House Of Cards, had been sold to other partners in the region. Other rights, such as those for Hong Kong action films and Japanese anime, were picked up only for the United States. Moving forward, Netflix said it will move to pick up global rights for all its streaming content.
What's in, what's out for Netflix in Singapore
A Clockwork Orange
American History X
Kill Bill Volume 1
Sex And The City: The Movie
MOVIES AVAILABLE HERE BUT NOT IN THE US VERSION
Man Of Steel
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Star Trek (2009)
The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring
The Shawshank Redemption
TV SHOWS AVAILABLE HERE BUT NOT IN THE US
Better Call Saul
Under The Dome
TOP TV SHOWS NOT IN LOCAL VERSION
House Of Cards
The Walking Dead
There is one Chinese TV series and a few Bollywood movies in the local version of Netflix. There are also no Korean TV drama shows and a mere handful of Japanese anime titles.
Additional reporting by Irene Tham
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