Category Archives: Singapore Telcos

The Year of Addressable TV Advertising

dean-black-arrowWired Magazine mentioned it first; 2014 will be the year of addressable TV advertising.

Trials of addressable ads are already taking place in the US. Pay-per-view cable channel Starz, working with cable operator DirecTV, has been using data about which subscribers use video-on-demand, to pitch ads for its shows. More importantly, it also uses the data to avoid streaming ads to existing Starz subscribers, to prevent preaching to the converted. The result is a 49 per cent jump in sales, compared to a control group, from households shown the targeted ads. HBO has been using a similar system to promote Game of Thrones.

Wired Magazine also just predicted that Facebook will own all mobile advertising, Why? How? Because they own a social network and have a wealth of data on consumer preferences and a predictive analytics team that can match ads with what consumers are most likely to click on.

Google and other outfits operate similar mobile ad networks, but Facebook is unique in its ability to target ads based on user demographics, interests, location, and activities involving everything from internet searches to online shopping. That’s the benefit of running a social network.

In this new ecosystem of advertising, its not enough just to own a vast source of data about consumer preferences, the other half of the equation, understanding the myriad of nuances for how best to utilize that data and serve up the best ad, is equally if not more important.

Take for example, the famous case of Target retail stores, who predicted a woman’s pregnancy before she knew it herself. This New York Times Article is one of the best stories out there at describing the trials and tribulations of addressable advertising, and just how Target retail stores, and their big data analytics team has discovered many of the secrets towards deploying effective advertising.

As Pole’s computers crawled through the data, he was able to identify about 25 products that, when analyzed together, allowed him to assign each shopper a “pregnancy prediction” score. More important, he could also estimate her due date to within a small window, so Target could send coupons timed to very specific stages of her pregnancy.

We are at the forefront of a whole new industry; Big Data, or more precisely, “Information Science”. Addressable TV advertising is just one niche of the big data revolution. Harvard Magazine does an excellent job of covering Big Data and how it will shape the future for most industries.

In marketing, familiar uses of big data include “recommendation engines” like those used by companies such as Netflix and Amazon to make purchase suggestions based on the prior interests of one customer as compared to millions of others.

But as of today, most advertising dollars continues to be spent on commercials for the big screen TV at home, and increasingly on ads for the second screen; including mobile phones, tablets, and other connected devices. And with this shift, there is a growing need to provide targeted ads for OTT and VOD content.

A recent deal has been struck between BlackArrow, a leading Dynamic Ad Insertion technology company, and Nielson, the leading television research, analytics and ratings firm, to begin offering on-demand commercial ratings (ODCR).

That’s where BlackArrow comes into play. By allowing the operator to switch out ads in VOD content on the fly, BlackArrow makes every older streaming episode an environment for the same ads that are now airing in CBS’ live broadcasts. As Nielsen’s ODCR scheme is designed to measure VOD deliveries that occur beyond the three-day window, those once-neglected views are now just as valuable as live ratings.

This Newsweek article provides excellent coverage about the BlackArrow Nielsen ODCR partnership and what it means for TV operators and consumers.

The Nielsen-BlackArrow pact comes as the networks increasingly look for ways to help wean viewers off the DVR, which makes commercial-skipping as easy as holding down a button while staring off into space. A far more advertiser-friendly service, VOD promises to add incremental value to linear TV buys. At the same time, viewers needn’t worry about running out of memory or forgetting to record a favorite show.

BlackArrow CEO Dean Denhart discusses this new landscape of addressable TV advertising with Fox News at the LA Cable TV Show.

Television advertising will perhaps reign supreme for quite some time, with relevant addressable targeted TV advertising coming to the forefront as one of the most sought-after technologies for both live as well as pre-recorded TV content. This is indeed the year of addressable TV advertising.

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/

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.

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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

 

M1 MiBox Displaces 1Box

M1, the third largest Telco in Singapore after SingTel and StarHub has announced its successor to  the softly received television platform 1Box. The new TV device is called MiBox, and it doubles the amount of paid online content previously offered.
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The MiBox Set-Top box TV device allows customers to stream online content to their TV. MiBox will replace the telco’s current service 1box, which was released back in 2010.

MiBox offers 18,000 videos-on-demand, 116 TV channels, 1,200 e-books and 370 apps, some of which are free. The service is priced at S$8 (US$6.33) a month with a two-year contract for M1 fiber customers, bundled with an Android set-top box, a selection of free shows and other content. For non-fiber customers, the service is priced at S$12 (US$9.50) per month.

“Media consumption habits are shifting towards an on-demand, a-la-carte model. M1′s MiBox aims to enhance this experience by delivering convenient and affordable access to an exciting library of entertainment, e-learning, and gaming content optimised for the TV screen,” P. Subramaniam, M1′s chief marketing officer, said in the release.

Full story at ZDnet.