After India Now Singapore is Keen to Regulate mobile TV

Authorities throughout the world are keen to regulate mobile tv. After Indian government now the Singapore authorities have decided to regulate mobile tv.

Heralding the next milestone in Singapore’s broadcasting landscape, the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) is conducting a public consultation from today till 4 January 2008 to seek feedback on the Authority’s proposed policy and regulatory framework for mobile TV services.

The move to facilitate the commercial deployment of mobile TV in Singapore – coming soon after the successful commercial deployment of High-Definition TV this year – is in line with the nation’s goal to develop Singapore as a Global Media City and a test-bed for new media services.

As part of MDA’s efforts to nurture a pro-business environment and enable more media choices for consumers, industry players and the public will be invited to comment on areas such as technology standards, licensing framework, market structure issues, as well as content and advertising regulation.

Ms Ling Pek Ling, MDA’s Director of Media Policy, said: “The rollout of mobile TV has begun to gain momentum across the world. Countries such as Italy, Japan and South Korea have started to offer commercial mobile TV services while Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia are currently conducting trials. With this global development in the broadcast industry as well as strong interest shown by the local media players, it is timely for Singapore to put in place a clear policy framework that will drive investment and innovation and enable mobile TV service providers to offer attractive services to consumers.”

Current global developments have highlighted the tremendous potential in the delivery of content to mobile devices, such as mobile handsets, to further develop the broadcast media industry. The European Commission has forecast that there will be between 200 million and 500 million mobile TV customers globally by 2011. The Multimedia Research Group estimates that the global mobile TV market will exceed US$24b worldwide annually by 2011 of which US$5b will come from China/Far East.

Mobile TV presents a new platform for content producers to showcase their products and generate sales, whilst offering new business and investment opportunities to both local and foreign media companies. Consumers will benefit from having more media choices and varied content and services, and the ability to watch their favourite TV programmes anytime, anywhere.

As the mobile TV is a personal device and such services are likely to see high adoption among young users and children, there could be concerns about the young being exposed to harmful or sensitive content. The current fixed TV services (eg. MediaCorp, SCV, SingTel) are regulated under the TV Programme Code. MDA proposes that mobile TV services be subjected to the same regime, ie. television programmes offered on mobile TV should comply with the TV Programme Code.

The regulations do not apply to mobile phone services such as SMS (short message service). MDA encourages innovation in the development of interactive services that can integrate television programmes with telecommunication services.

To facilitate the growth of this industry, MDA has formulated a market-driven, light-touch and pro-enterprise regulatory framework to attract more players into the Singapore market, as well as encourage innovation and competition. As such, MDA is proposing to give operators the flexibility to deploy a standard that best suits their business case. MDA is also proposing to adopt a technology and platform neutral position, i.e. regulate mobile TV services equally regardless of the technology platform (e.g. 3G, DVB-H, DMB) to deliver their services.

MDA is prepared to issue up to four multiplex licences by tender. Each multiplex can support three to 20 high-quality TV channels.

The policy and regulatory framework for mobile TV was formulated based on an in-depth study carried out by Indepen Consulting Pte Ltd which was commissioned by MDA this year to conduct a study on international developments, best practices and issues related to mobile TV.

The public can submit their comments to MDA at on or before 12pm, 4 January 2008.

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