SingTel's TV-on-demand service Season Pass, which airs the latest shows 24 hours after they premiere in the United States, has been cancelled five years after it was introduced.
The reason is that the same shows are easily available on its other pay TV channels.
SingTel says the service for its mio TV subscribers will be phased out progressively since the latest seasons of popular titles such as Homeland (Season 3), Modern Family (Season 5), Glee (Season 5) and American Horror Story (Season 3) had already been acquired before the decision was made to terminate the service.
Currently, Season Pass users can watch new episodes of popular US TV series such as thriller Criminal Minds (Season 9), action-thriller
The Following (Season 1) and action series Burn Notice (Season 7). In an e-mail reply to Life!, a SingTel spokesman says many US TV series on the Season Pass platform have been made available on mio TV channels such as Star World HD, Fox HD, FX and Foxcrime in the past few years.
She adds: "The availability and variety of US television series on these channels give our customers additional options and reduce the reliance on Season Pass to satisfy their viewing needs." Some of the shows on these channels are aired as soon as about two months after premiering in the US. mio TV subscribers can pay from $29.90 a month for an entertainment pack, which allows access to entertainment channels featuring US TV series.
Season Pass was launched in 2008, before Star World HD, Fox HD, FX and Foxcrime were available on mio TV.
Season Pass, which works on a pay-per-season basis, cost from around $17 for a 10-episode series to $33 for a 24-episode series.
The SingTel spokesman declined to reveal how much was invested in the service or how many subscribers have used Season Pass. At the end of 2011, there were 353,000 subscribers to SingTel's mio TV.
When SingTel launched Season Pass, it was the first pay-TV operator to offer more than 50 titles of top series within a day of their American telecast, ahead of free-to-air and other pay TV channels.
These titles included hits such as medical drama Grey's Anatomy, sci-fi mystery Lost and thriller Prison Break.
Several TV fans and cable TV subscribers Life! spoke to say that they found the service a bit pricey, and would prefer to wait for the episode to air on pay TV channels such as Star World and Foxcrime. Ms Pearly Soo, 35, a remisier and pay TV subscriber, says: "I find the video-on-demand service a little expensive. If it were cheaper, I wouldn't mind paying for it. For $33, I might as well wait a while and order the DVD from Amazon."
Bartender Ethan Leslie Leong, 37, who subscribes to StarHub Cable TV and enjoys the entertainment shows on Star World, says: "I think the service has no appeal for me, and I think a majority of viewers will just wait for the episodes to air on normal Pay TV channels... most of the time the show is just a few episodes behind the United States anyway."
Meanwhile, TV fans can look forward to more entertainment options as SingTel has inked a new deal with RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network to launch a new channel (SingTel mio TV Channel 318). The channel, RTL CBS Entertainment HD, will feature first-run shows from RTL Group's content arm, which produces and distributes titles such as reality singing competition The X Factor, and US game shows Hole In The Wall and The Price Is Right.
The channel comes at no additional cost to mio TV Family+ Pack subscribers, which charges a fee of $29.90 a month.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.