Category Archives: Singapore

All 7 MediaCorp FTA Channels in Digital

mediacorp-logoAccording to MediaCorp owned ChannelNews Asia, on Monday December 16th 2013, all seven free-to-air TV channels are now available in digital (DVB-T2 format). Additionally, four out of the seven channels are now being broadcast in High Definition (HD) (Channel 5, Channel 8, Suria and Vasantham) while the remaining three (Channel NewsAsia, Channel U and okto) will be upgraded to HD by 2016.

In a statement on Monday, MediaCorp said:

Residents in Bukit Batok are the first in Singapore to receive these channels as the estate is now covered by the new digital broadcast infrastructure. Over the next two to three years, coverage will be expanded progressively to enable all residential homes to receive digital TV signals — Jurong East and Ang Mo Kio are next, and are expected to be ready to receive digital TV early next year.

MediaCorp Deputy CEO Chang Long Jong said: “Besides better picture and sound quality, digital TV allows MediaCorp to consider rolling out other value-add services and features for the discerning audiences of today such as closed captions and multi-language subtitles.”

“With digital TV, MediaCorp will also be able to offer time-shifted services, which will provide an alternative choice for viewers who miss out on their favourite TV programmes due to work or lifestyle commitments. More information on these value-add services will be announced soon,” Mr Chang added.

The article went on to say:

To get digital TV, non pay-TV viewers will need to buy a digital set-top box and an antenna for their existing TV set. The two items cost S$129 in total — only one model each is available on the market for now.

Pay-TV subscribers are already able to watch digital TV, and do not need to change their set-ups.

The public can continue to receive free-to-air TV channels in analogue broadcast as existing analogue TV signals will continue to be broadcast alongside the digital TV signals for at least another two years.

Full story here: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/all-mediacorp-tv-channels/924340.html

Here is a rollout-map for when DVB-T2 can be expected in each location throughout Singapore: http://www.mediacorp.sg/digitaltv/

StarHub to use Social Analytics to enhance TV Experience

starhub-officeStarHub is will soon start tapping big data in order to better serve their customers and enhance the television experience. Specifically, Singapore’s second largest Telco is building a new facility called MediaHub. which will include an analytics lab that taps social media conversations to better understand their customers and serve a more social and personalized experience.

According to ZDnet:

A key feature will be the synergy between a social media analytics lab and an adaptive production studio, which will support its pay TV business. These two facilities will work hand-in-hand to enhance “live” TV production based on real-time social media conversations.

“We can monitor the online conversations on all social media platforms. Our content partners will be very interested in this. At one glance, you can tell what viewers are saying about your programs and you can even make adjustments immediately,” said Tan Tong Hai, CEO of StarHub, at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Full story can be found at ZDnet: http://www.zdnet.com/sg/starhub-to-tap-social-analytics-for-tv-biz-in-new-mediahub-facility-7000023756/

Bhaalu Shows at SITEX 2013 Singapore

sitex-2013Special thanks to Amconics Singapore for displaying to their customers, a sneak preview of bhaalu at the Sitex 2013 Expo event in Singapore this past weekend. Amconics knows the future of television, and can see the potential of bhaalu as a universal set top box in Singapore.

The event was crowded as usual, and interest was strong for Singapore’s newest television platform bhaalu.

Bhaalu Displays at Sitex 2013 Event in Singapore from Jeff Bhaalu on Vimeo.

Amconics Technology Pte Ltd was established in 1987 as an IT manufacturer and distributor. Then in 1999, embarked on a new product line, namely, digital cameras and web cams. In 2002 and 2003, their product lines were further increased to distribute Internet Phones and Electronic Dictionaries. Currently, they specialize in Home Entertainment Portals, Home Media Hubs and Alternative Television Platforms in Singapore.

Congratulations to Ilo Ilo

best-new-director-iloiloSurprise! Singapore’s Ilo Ilo by first time director Anthony Chen, has just won Taiwan’s Golden Horse Award for best Chinese Language Film. According to Variety, “Ilo Ilo,” about a Filipino maid’s awkward relationship with her employers during the Asiam Financial Crisis, was named best film, and earned Chen best script and best new director awards, while Yeo Yann Yann was named best supporting actress.

Here is the official trailer:

Bhaalu to Showcase at Chaos Asia Singapore

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/right-brain-interfaceThe 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!

First Singaporean Contestant on The Voice

VCE_204-cilla-chanCongratulations are in order for Ms. Cilla Chan, the first Singaporean-born contestant to be accepted on to the hit US TV show, “The Voice“.

Cilla, who is a Singapore PR (Permanent Resident) and also an American citizen, was chosen by country singer Blake Shelton to be on his team.

According to NBC.com, Cilla grew up in Singapore where she hails from a musical family. She moved to the U.S. to attend college at Stanford. After graduating, Cilla put job offers on hold to audition for The Voice and hopes that this platform can launch her career in America. Follow Cilla on Twitter at @cillchan.

Here is the video of her getting chosen by Blake:

And here is an interview of how she feels to be part of season 5 of The Voice.

A special congratulations to Ms. Cilla Chan from Bhaalu Singapore!

Are You Next Gen NBN Ready?

What the heck is NBN? In Singapore, it stands for Nationwide Broadband Network. It is essentially, Singapore’s all fibre optic, ultra highspeed broadband network, which is capable of delivering data at speeds of 1Gbps or more to all residential and commercial buildings in Singapore.opennet-ngn
What is the purpose? According to the MDA:

You may have encountered long waiting times when downloading files, or jerky videos when watching movies online or even poor responsiveness when playing online games. Files are also getting larger as the need for more information or higher video resolutions increases rapidly over time. Low speed internet gives you a poor online experience and limits what you can do. In Singapore today, our home broadband network supports connection speeds up to 100Mbps. Although it is sufficient for some, it may not be adequate for many in the future as our need for speed grows.

So who do you contact to get FibreOptic Internet? You need to contact an RSP, Retail Service Provider; they are: M1, MyRepublic, SingTel, StarHub, SuperInternet, and ViewQwest.

How do you know if your residence or commercial office building is equipped with Next Gen NBN? Simply visit the OpenNet website, and enter your address.

Illegal Singapore Set-Top Boxes Seized

The always interesting competitive saga between SingTel Mio IPTV and StarHub Cable TV took on a new twist last month when SingTel urged StarHub to crack down on illegal TV set-top boxes.

SingTel, which said its mio TV service is pirate-proof, has urged StarHub to upgrade to a more secure system to prevent unauthorised access by non-subscribers. Vendors have been seen selling pirated set-top boxes openly and offering EPL content in several shopping centres.The devices are being sold for about S$200, up from around S$90 previously, and some sellers go as far as promoting them through flyers in mailboxes.

By Singaporean Law via the Broadcasting Act, buyers and/or sellers of illegal TV set-top box devices can be fined up to S$40,000 and jailed a maximum of three years if convicted. But this is a tough charge to file much less reach a guilty verdict, because the authorities will need a search warrant to enter someone’s home in order to obtain proof.

While it is not central to this story, it is forth-telling of the Pay TV climate in Singapore by reading the Facebook comments relating to this TodayOnline.com article.

facebook-comments

Well, just two days ago, hundreds of illegal set-top boxes were seized by authorities in a police raid.

These STBs, found in a storage facility, were reported to be used to view StarHub TV channels, which is one of Singapore´s telecommunication and pay-TV provider. The raid was a result of months of investigation to track the syndicate which was distributing sales flyers for STBs that could unscramble StarHub TV content Selling, importing or manufacturing illegal STBs in Singapore. StarHub had destroyed 300 illegal boxes over two years back.

As a result if these developments, StarHub is in the process of moving its pay-TV customers into a new encryption standard that will once and for all prevent the unscrambling of channels by illegal boxes.

StarHub has had a loss of subscribers over the past couple years as it’s customer based dropped from over 550,000 to 532,000 in March of 2013.

Singapore Pay-TV ARPU and Take-Up

StarHub recently announced their mid-year financial statement, and that their quarterly Pay-TV revenue from Q1 to Q2 FY13 had decreased 8% to S$95.6m with Average Revenue Per User (APRU) of S$52 for the quarter.

Pay TV revenue decreased 8% to S$95.6 million from S$103.7 million for the quarter, and 5% lower YoY at S$190.3 million for the half-year period. The UEFA EURO 2012 broadcast contributed to the higher Pay TV services revenue a year ago. The lower advertising revenue and a lower subscriber base also partly affected the reduced revenue. Pay TV ARPU at S$52 for the quarter and half-year periods were comparable to last year after excluding the impact of UEFA EURO revenue earned in 2012.

Nextvasia‘s article confirms these numbers, stating the following:

Singapore´s telecommunication and pay-TV provider StarHub states that their customer base has reached 532 thousand by March 31, 2013. The firm reported a decrease of 4 thousand subscribers from the previous quarter. The company´s pay-TV revenue decreased by 1% to USD 76.42 million. This was attributed to lower advertising revenue which was partly mitigated by higher subscription revenue from both commercial and residential customers. The firm´s pay-TV average revenue per user (ARPU) increased by USD 0.80 to USD 41.83.

But the math doesn’t add up. S$95.6m / 532,000 subscribers = S$180 / 3 months = $60. It seems StarHub’s APRU is being understated by S$8 per month.

For SingTel’s financial year ending March 31st, 2013, they reported an 18.4% year over year growth in revenue from Mio TV, bringing in S$125m in revenue for the year.

During the year, SingTel strengthened its content suite with the addition of FOX International Channels and Disney channels, and lifted mio TV revenue by a strong 18% to S$125 million. Total mio TV customer base reached 404,000 as at end of March 2013, an increase of 9.8% or 36,000 from a year ago.

Digital TV News puts SingTel Mio’s financials as follows: mio-tv-arpu
In the case of SingTel Mio TV, you have an annual revenue of $125m divided by a customer subscriber base of 404,000, which equals S$309 revenue per user per annum, which divided by 12 months in a year, equals S$26.

Singtel MioTV’s $26 APRU is less than HALF of StarHub’s Pay TV ARPU of either $52 or $60, depending on who does the math. And SingTel MioTV’s annual revenue are approximately 1/3rd that of StarHub.

Here are the Per Annum APRU’s calculated in (GBP) British pound sterling:

SingTel = S$26 * 12 = S$312 = 155 GBP
StarHub = S$52 * 12 = S$624 = 310 GBP

Now for the math on Singapore Pay TV’s Penetration rate. There are 5.2 million residents in Singapore and an average of 3.5 people per household, which comes to 1,485,714 households. There are 404k Mio TV household subscribers and 532k StarHub household Subscribers, which comes to 936,000 total Pay TV subscriber households.

There are of course, a variety of other longtail Pay TV operators in Singapore, but then again, there are households that subscribe to both SingTel Mio and StarHub. So, for sake of simplicity, we will offset those two numbers, and calculate the Pay TV Take-Up rate in Singapore to be simply: 936,000 household subscribers divided by 1,485,714 households = 63%.

Here is how Singapore maps out compared to the rest of the world when it comes to Pay TV Penetration rates and annual APRU.

pay-tv-penetration