We thank Mr Loke Siew Ken ("Losing World Cup inspiration"; March 18) and Mr Lee Wei Kwang ("World Cup TV broadcasts should remain accessible to all"; Forum Online, March 18) for their feedback.
The Media Development Authority (MDA) recognises that there is significant consumer interest in the World Cup.
To ensure that key sporting events, including football, are available to all Singaporeans, the MDA and the Singapore Sports Council in 2012 jointly consulted the public on a list of sporting events that must be made available for free-to-air TV to acquire.
In line with the practice of football nations such as France, Germany and Ireland, Singapore includes the four key World Cup matches, as well as matches involving the national team, in this list.
For the upcoming World Cup 2014, Singapore viewers will thus be able to watch the four key matches on MediaCorp's free-to-air channels.
The MDA also has in place a cross-carriage rule, which requires pay-TV retailers that acquire content on an exclusive basis to cross-carry the content on relevant pay-TV platforms.
Hence, for World Cup 2014, those who subscribe to SingNet to watch the matches will be able to choose between SingNet's and StarHub's platforms.
In addition, the MDA supports MediaCorp's provision of sports programming featuring Team Singapore, such as the Summer Olympics, Commonwealth Games and South-east Asian Games, through the Public Service Broadcast funding. This funding covers a diverse range of interests and genres, including support for minority channels and programmes that promote Singapore's culture and heritage.
Hence, the MDA has to be judicious in allocating public funds to support international sports programmes, especially in the light of increasing sports media rights costs.
The MDA will continue to monitor market developments in this area.
Ho Hwei Ling (Ms)
Media Development Authority
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