Sole rights make 'commercial sense'

Sole rights make 'commercial sense'

The 2010 World Cup was brought to Singapore screens by a last-minute joint bid by SingTel and StarHub.

SingTel has struck out on its own this time, with its country chief officer for Singapore, Mr Allen Lew, asserting that it made sense to bid for the rights on its own as the landscape had shifted from what it was in 2010.

"In 2010, we were just about to go into the English Premier League (EPL), so our perspective was different from now," he said.

"The biggest difference between now and 2010 is that all football fans are now with SingTel because we won the rights... so obviously for us to bring the World Cup to these fans is very, very important for the image of SingTel in their eyes."

SingTel won the non-exclusive rights for the EPL in 2012 for three seasons till 2016 and also holds the rights for the Uefa Champions League.

Under the Media Development Authority's cross-carriage measure implemented in March 2010, StarHub subscribers can get SingTel's exclusive content but must pay SingTel the necessary fees (and vice-versa).

"The timing for this is such that we see a very good way of reinforcing our relationship with our EPL customers and to take them for the next two years by giving them something that makes commercial sense to us, and at the same time engenders their loyalty by getting them to make a small commitment to SingTel," he added.

Despite the cross-carriage rule, Mr Lew believes SingTel's sole rights make commercial sense because it encourages customers to commit to watching its EPL broadcast.

"If you take a medium-to-longer term view, it makes sense to us in the consumer sense," he said, also drawing attention to the potential benefits from advertising.

But Mr Lew insisted that its integrated broadcast, which offers matches on smartphones and tablets with options of various camera angles, on-demand replays of key moments and interactive chats, will give fans value for money."

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