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Bank: Netflix will disrupt Singapore pay-TV

Incumbent telco operators StarHub and Singtel may see a drop in pay-TV subscribers as Netflix officially begins its services in Singapore, according to a report by OCBC Bank.

OCBC noted that the market appears to be reaching its saturation point, with Singtel only managing to add 1,000 new subscribers in Q4 and StarHub losing 6,000 subscribers.

“However, we may yet see a further drop in subscribers, given that Netflix has only started their services officially in Singapore in early Q1 2016,” OCBC said.

However, Netflix can also be complementary to current offerings rather than a direct competitor. Both the telcos have struck deals to offer Netflix as part of their own offerings.

“We do not expect pay-TV viewers here to completely cut the cord for several reasons. For one, pay-TV customers will continue to pay for regional content, given the diversity of viewers here. Secondly, there is a lack of “live” sports content on Netflix like EPL, etc. Thirdly, the pay-TV operators here tend to carry the most current content and the latest season of popular drama series, whereas Netflix tends to carry older content, making it more popular as a means of catching up on previous seasons of TV shows,” OCBC said.

“Last but not least, the two pay-TV operators are also joining in the OTT fray with their own mobile TV apps, which currently offer a not insignificant advantage – subscribers are not charged for mobile data consumed while watching on the go,” OCBC added.

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