Right Brain Interface Singapore will provide an overview of bhaalu at Chaos Asia 2013 this November 9th and 10th at St James Power Station and Neverland II in Singapore. Receive a S$10 discount off the already affordable event ticket price by using the promotion code “conton” when registering. You can register here: http://peatix.com/event/20180/The Facebook page is located here: https://www.facebook.com/events/203531529799167/. Please come say “hi” to me, and I will gladly provide you with much more details than I will be able to fit into my three minute presentation. Hope to see you there!
Big television shake-up in Hong Kong as the government approves initial permits for two companies to obtain the highly coveted Free-to-Air broadcast license. The last time a Free-To Air broadcast license was granted in HK was nearly 40 years ago, to a company named Commercial Television Ltd., which went out of business 3 years after.
The initial approval for the FTA licenses was won by and I-Cable (Fantastic TV) and PCCW, (NowTV), which is one of the largest IPTV providers worldwide, and the first to pass the 1 million subscriber mark nearly four years ago.
While both PCCW and I-Cable shares jumped on the news, Hong Kong Television Network Ltd. (HKTV, Wai-kay’s Hong Kong Television Network), saw its shares dropping more than 31% and said they will cut 320 jobs after its FTA permit application was rejected.
According to sources at SCMP:
A senior government source said a consultant’s report had shown HKTV, previously known as City Telecom, to be the weakest applicant, and that Exco approved the licences “on merit with no political considerations”.
But the rejection of HKTV’s application, which was against the Broadcasting Authority’s earlier recommendation that all three licences be granted, prompted a swift backlash. By 1.30am today, a Facebook page calling upon the government to issue a licence to HKTV had attracted some 256,000 “likes”. Internet users were also preparing a protest on Sunday.
Asked if the deviation from the Broadcasting Authority’s recommendation would be against procedural justice, So said the authority made recommendations not decisions. He said Exco had considered “a basket of criteria” including programme planning, technical soundness, investment and public opinion.
But he refused to explain why HKTV was considered inferior to its competitors. HKTV can’t appeal to Exco against the decision, but it can file a judicial review in court, he said.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong already has two FTA broadcasters (TVB and ATV), both are now challenging the government about why two contracts were awarded at all. They both fought against the governments consideration of 3 potential new licenses, and it seems that they at least for now, won the battle against Ricky Wong’s HKTV, (formerly called City Telecom, and now called HKTV, Wai-kay’s Hong Kong Television Network).
According to Bloomberg:
“We estimate new operators could launch the free-to-air TV services within 6-12 months and new competition could start as early as 2014,” Mandy Chan, an analyst at Merrill Lynch, wrote in a report. “We expect TVB to face challenges in keeping its near monopolistic hold of the Hong Kong free-to-air TV market.”
The awards to I-Cable’s Fantastic Television Ltd. and PCCW’s HK Television Entertainment Co. will double the number of free-to-air TV operators and bring in more investment, Commerce Secretary Gregory So said yesterday.
“This will not only provide more program choices for the audience, but also create more job opportunities in the creative industries,” So said at yesterday’s briefing.
Television Broadcasts’ flagship channel has a 93 percent audience share during prime time on weekdays, according to the company’s 2012 interim report.
Both TVB and ATV’s FTA licenses are due to expire in 2015, forcing them to re-apply in order to maintain it. Ricky Wong, the Telco entrepreneur in charge of Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV) denied that he will re-apply for an FTA license or acquire either TVB or ATV at that time.
Re-imagining Video For Mobile with Yahoo Screen
Yahoo launched a new mobile application called “Yahoo Screen,” which runs on Apple iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The Yahoo Screen app will become Yahoo’s media content portal, offering a simple, swipeable user interface for browsing through the video channels.
The Yahoo Screen app allows users to browse through trending video clips, granular searches for specific programs, and includes gesture-based navigational controls – for example, swiping left and right skips between the episodes, while swiping up and down flips through channels.
The idea, the company explains, is to re-create the feeling of channel surfing on the TV on mobile. The navigation controls are on the left side of the screen, where you can scroll up and down through the available content channels, tap a search button, or access a side bar where you can navigate in between other Yahoo apps like Mail, Flickr, Fantasy Sports, and more.
To kick things off, Yahoo Screen has announced a deal with Viacom to offer clips from some of Comedy Central’s best shows, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. Along with an exclusive digital clip archive of Saturday Night Live, Yahoo Screen offers access to a lot of comedy video content.
Singapore Airlines captured the spirit and feel of old school Singapore in this commercial which dates back perhaps to the 1960′s era. Vintage Singapore at it’s best.
Baidu, the Chinese search engine equivelant of Google, as recently announced that it launched it’s own Smart TV box in conjunction with TCL Multimedia Technology Holdings Ltd., in order to compete with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in the growing online video business.
Baidu plans to merge iQiyi with online video provider PPS, which it purchased for about $370 million in May. The combination will create China’s largest online video provider, unseating Youku-Tudou, and giving TV+ an edge in terms of content. In addition to on-demand video, TV+ will also feature free access to movies and TV series.
Baidu’s stock rose a half of a percent, closing at $136.17 in U.S. trading as a result of this news release, and has climbed a total of 36 percent this year, compared with a 20 percent increase in the overall Nasdaq Composite Index.
TiVo’s new Roamio platform launched last week and will allow developers to build and provide HTML5 web apps to TiVo device owners via a developer SDK.The new TiVo DVR hardware devices also improve considerably on the amount of content that can be recorded, and there’s a new feature allowing the streaming of both live and recorded content.
Roamio devices already offer access to pre-installed apps including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and Spotify. The introduction of the Opera TV store, which TiVo is aiming to deploy early next year, will bring a whole catalogue of new HTML5-based apps to the service, broadening the type of app-based content users have access to exponentially.
Opera’s TV Store is already available on millions of shipping devices, and the Opera Devices SDK made its way onto over 25 million connected TVs in 2012 alone. That means that TiVo customers will be getting access to a platform that’s already mature when the Opera Store goes live on its devices; there won’t be any waiting while a new store is set up and curate the way there would be if TiVo had started from scratch.
TiVo says the new partnership will also enable it to provide pre-loaded software to its set-top DVRs, as Opera has become a key partner for businesses switching over to HTML5 in order to attract market share to connected home entertainment platforms.
Read more about TiVo’s Roamio Opera SDK Partnership at Techcrunch.
The Media Development Authority (MDA) introduced a cross-carriage measure back in 2010, mandating that screening rights for all exclusive television content deals be made available to the customers of competitive Pay TV operators.
The act originated from a bidding war between StarHub and SingTel to obtain broadcasting rights for the 2010-2013 English Premier League football season. SingTel Mio TV won contract by paying a heavy price, which would eventually be transferred down to the consumer. In exchange, obtaining this contract helped drive their Mio TV subscriber base nearly 400%, from 117,000 in 2009 to just over 400,000 subscribers in 2013.
According to Adeel Najam of Frost & Sullivan, SingTel lost money by acquiring EPL broadcast rights. Specifically, it is estimated that they paid $350m to acquire EPL rights, but only brought in $200m throughout the duration of the EPL contract.
- SingTel’s mio TV service would gain 360,000 subscribers by 2013 and is expected to have a pay TV market share of 46% by that time.
- Of the 231,000 subscriber additions in 2010 alone, 90,000 will be churned from Starhub (these subscribers will switch from Starhub to SingTel) and 100,000 subscribers will take up mio TV service for sports in addition to keeping their Starhub subscriptions in 2010.
- The sports content acquisition will enable SingTel to double its ARPU by 2013. SingTel’s mio TV ARPU is expected to reach $45 by 2013 and this will be very close to the current level of Starhub’s pay TV ARPU.
- Starhub which will now face stiffer competition from SingTel and experience a decline of 68,000 pay TV subscribers in 2010.
- The key risk for SingTel is that this costly investment will make it more challenging for it to turn its pay TV business profitable. On a conservative basis, with an ARPU of $28 for the EPL content, SingTel will be able to accumulate $164 million in the three years from mio TV. Adding revenues from internet and mobile TV platforms this can reach around $200 million. This is 43% below the estimated bid price of $350 million by SingTel for the EPL content rights. Other risks SingTel might face are consumer backlash and regulatory scrutiny.
The Media Development Authority (MDA)’s cross carriage measure enacted on 12 March 2010, was to address the concerns over the nature of competition in the Singapore pay TV market, to put an end to the fierce bidding frenzy for exclusive content, which only served to drive prices up for both Singaporean TV operators and the public.
In theory, the measure would work as follows… StarHub subscribers who want to watch EPL, can simply pay an additional fee for access to this content. StarHub then pays that additional fee to SingTel, who then provides the channel content back to StarHub for delivery back to their customers. The reality of this measure however has proven different.
Last year, StarHub won a contract for the UEFA Euro 2012 matches. The Cross Carriage measure kicked in for the first time, and SingTel Mio customers were given access to theses live matches on their Mio TV box, so far, so good. The act seemed to be working.
However, soon after, SingTel obtained the exclusive contract for the 2013-2016 season EPL football broadcast rights. StarHub customers tried to pay for access to this content but SingTel refused to provide it, claiming that the contract was non-exclusive. The Straights times explains as follows:
This is the first time the cross-carriage rule is being challenged – ironically by SingTel, which benefited from the rule during the screening of UEFA Euro 2012.
SingTel took the auction for EPL broadcast rights in Singapore off the table last November, forcing StarHub to sit on the bench, while the first round of bidding kicked off all around Asia.
It is unusual not to have an auction. Still, SingTel said its deal with the Football Association Premier League (FAPL) was “non-exclusive”. This meant two things: StarHub was free to negotiate its own EPL screening rights at some point; and the cross-carriage law – which applies only to exclusive deals – could not kick in to force SingTel to share the content with StarHub.
SingTel tried several times to not provide EPL game content, arguing first that the deal wasn’t exclusive. After that argument fell through, they took the position that it is not reasonable to require them to subsidize a competitors subscribers. Straights Times writer Loh Keng Fatt explains:
SingTel had tried to argue that its EPL deal wasn’t exclusive, but the regulator didn’t buy that argument. The telco reacted to the order to share EPL by raising rates, arguing that it could not subsidise its competitor’s subscribers.
The upshot? SingTel’s existing mio TV subscribers will still pay the old rates. But new subscribers and those recontracting will pay from $64.90 a month for a Gold Pack, which includes movies and entertainment. This is substantially more than the $34.90 charged previously for a sports bundle, including EPL.
StarHub viewers will pay $59.90 a month to watch EPL. StarHub has also rolled out packages to entice those in the rival camp as well as encourage its subscribers to stay with it to watch EPL and other content.
But amid the fancy brochures and touted savings dangled by both telcos in playing up their packages, the fact remains that the cost to watch EPL has ballooned – compared to last season’s basic $34.90 deal.
Worst off are probably mio TV subscribers on the old $34.90 basic football deal.
It is no wonder then that the 400,000-plus mio TV subscribers – many of whom probably signed up for the football – may now wonder if the cross-carriage rule, though well-intentioned, has scored an own goal instead.
The current status of cross carriage measure in Singapore can be found at this Straights Times article. Another perspective can be found here. And the Hardware Zone has a good discussion thread about this issue.
Maybe the cross carriage measure will eventually function as it was designed, to keep costs down. Time will tell. But in it’s first iteration, it has essentially served to doubled the price of Pay TV sports packages in Singapore.
On December 1st, 2010, Singapore has ruled Cloud DVR / Internet DVR / iDVR legal by the highest court on appeal in the case of RecordTV.com versus Mediacorp, a subsidiary of Temasek Holdings, a wholly owned Singapore government entity that broadcasts the 7 Free To Air Television channels for Singapore. Here is a copy of the court document for this verdict:
The Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA), the lobbying body for multichannel TV across the Asia-Pacific region, has added 7 corporate members, bringing the total membership to 130. These new additions, including companies headquartered in places like Mexico (Grupo Televisa) and Germany (SmartCast), illustrate just how widespread and diverse the TV industry has become. Also among the new additions was SpaceX, a California-based company that develops and launches rockets and is currently executing a US$1.6B (S$2B) contract with NASA.
The new member corporations will only add to CASBAA’s claim of over 445 million connections within the TV industry. Every connection serves to raise the already high influence the association has throughout Asia, which CASBAA has been striving to do ever since its inception in 1991:
“… within a footprint spanning China to Australia and Japan to Pakistan, CASBAA works to be the authoritative voice for multichannel TV promoting even handed and market friendly regulation, IP protection and revenue growth for subscriptions and advertising.”
CASBAA also bolstered its Asia-based membership with Hong Kong law firm Haldanes, information services provider Media Partners Asia (MPA), and online Software as a Service (SaaS) platform Movideo (the largest of its kind in Asia).
With older members such as Sony Pictures, Disney and BBC (to name a few), CASBAA has already established itself within the content production community. Its new members, however, represent the association’s ongoing desire to have lobbying power from every facet of the broadcasting community.
See full article at bloomberg.com
CES [Las Vegas NV USA - Jan 8-1]
CDN Asia2013 [Singapore - Jan 29-30]
BES Expo [Delhi- January 29-31]
Festival of Media Asia [Singapore March 3-5]
ABU Digital Broadcasting Symposium [KL - March 5-8]
CABSAT [Dubai - March 12-14]
Broadband MEA [Dubai - March 19,20]
OTT Conference [Santa Clara CA USA - Mar 19,20]
TVConnect [London - March 19-21]
MIPTV [Cannes France - April I-4]
OMMA Video Insider Summit [NY USA - April 4-7]
NAB [Las Vegas USA - April 6-11]
MIPTV [Canes - April 8-11]
TV Connect [Hong Kong - April 9,10]
Asia Pacific Pay-TV Operators [Bali - April 22-24]
Connect TV & Multiscreen Advertising [London 24-25 April]
Lost Remote [NYC - April 24]
SatCom Africa [J'burg SA - May 27-30]
KOBA [Seoul - May 13-16]
Cloud Computing Asia Pacific [Singapore 14-17 May]
Streamline Media East [NYC - May 21,22]
OMMA Video At Internet Week [NYC - May 22]
CASBAA Thailand In View [Bangkok - May 30]
CASBAA Satellite Industry Forum [Singapore- June 17]
TV Experience Event [NYC - July 16,17]
PALME [Singapore - July 17-19]
IBC [Amsterdam - August 12-17]
BIRTV [Beijing - August 21-24]
LTE [Suntec Singapore- September 18-19]
Next TV Summit [NYC - Sept 20]
EurAsia East Europe TV Connect [Warsaw Poland - October 8,9]
Broadcast India [Mumbai - October 9-10]
CASBAA Convention [Hong Kong - October 21-24]
Cloud World Forum Asia [12-14 Nov 2012]
IP Cable World Summit [Lisbon Portugal - November 26,27]
IABM [TBD - December 5-6]
The TV Of Tomorrow Show[San Francisco - Date To Be Determined]
Video Shmooze [NYC - Date To Be Determined]