MDA Announces Position On Cross Carriage Measure

Singapore: The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) has announced its Preliminary Position on the cross carriage measure following the close of the first round of consultation with key industry members.

The position outlines MDA’s view on the cross carriage measure after having carefully considered the feedback from stakeholders, and proposes the implementation approach for further consultation. MDA will continue its consultation with industry players, enlisting input and feedback on the Preliminary Position until 28 September 2010. Following the close of the consultation, MDA will study the end of the year.

Mr Michael Yap, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Director of Development Policy at MDA said: “Today’s Preliminary Position on the cross carriage measure takes a definitive step forward in enabling our growing media industry to remain vibrant. The cross carriage measure is an effective way to help address a uniquely Singapore issue, and will benefit all stakeholders. It will help content providers gain a wider distribution of their content and consumers to enjoy a wider choice of content without the inconveniences of having to switch pay TV retailers each time exclusive content changes hands.”

The new implementation timeline for the cross-carriage measure is expected to be in the first half of 2011, instead of the 1 September 2010 timeline earlier proposed. The deferment is in response to industry players’ request for more time to put forth their feedback and to work out the operational details so as to better serve consumers.

Singapore’s pay TV market is characterised by the widespread adoption of an exclusive contract centric strategy. This has resulted in an unusually high degree of content fragmentation, compared to other international benchmark countries around the world, where over 90% of the top 100 pay TV channels in Singapore have been signed up by retailers on an exclusive basis.

The cross carriage measure seeks to address this ‘imbalance’ between the Singapore pay-TV market and the norms observed in other competitive pay-TV markets by requiring qualified pay TV licensees to lease network infrastructure and equipment from each other so as to make content that is acquired or renewed on an exclusive basis, on or after 12 March 2010, available to a wider pool of subscribers.

Ultimately, MDA’s vision is to foster a vibrant and sustainable pay-TV industry in Singapore with the full benefits generally associated with a competitive pay-TV market.

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