Singapore's future as a regional media hub is under threat as a result of new government rules for the pay-TV industry, according to the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA), which represents the interests of 130 content producers, pay-TV platform operators and equipment-and-service suppliers across 16 Asian markets.
According to CASBAA, the latest “Media Conduct Code” mandates that key Singapore pay-TV programming is shared between cable operators StarHub and SingTel, depriving content owners and creators of their freedom to negotiate contracts in a competitive market. “Most importantly it is consumers who will be the losers, with long-term access to a whole generation of new video content jeopardized,” said Simon Twiston Davies, the CASBAA CEO.
Ultimately, the new regulations violate Singapore's international commitments to the likes of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) copyright agreements,” said CASBAA.
CASBAA also believes that if providers cannot negotiate free and fair contracts and conditions in Singapore, the pace of investment in creative content, additional channels and technological advances (such as high-definition TV and even 3-D TV content) could be shut off.
“Over more than a decade, Singapore has made the most notable progress in the region when attracting international content companies to the country,” said Twiston Davies. “Yet the 'cross-carriage remedy', insisting on the sharing of high value programming, damages the interests of every content owner and distributor.”