Information Circular - MDA's Decision on Singnet Pte Ltd's Application for Exemption from Cross-Carrying Dolby Digital Plus Sound Format for Premier League Seasons 2016/2019 Content

Dated: 30 June 2016


  1. On 4 M​ay 2016, SingNet submitted its application for exemption of its obligation under Paragraph 2.7 of the Media Market Conduct Code ("Code") from cross-carrying Dolby Digital Plus ("DD+") sound format for PL Seasons 2016 – 2019 for consumer and business customers (the "Exemption Application").

  2. SingNet submitted that "an exemption is warranted" for the following reasons:

    1. An exemption "will benefit the public and media industry (e.g. enhance consumer welfare) " ; and

    2. An exemption "will fulfil the test in Section 2.7.4 (a) (i) of the Code for granting an exemption"

  3. On 29 June 2016, MDA issued its decision in relation to the Exemption Application to SingNet (the "Decision"). This Industry Circular sets out MDA's considerations to the Decision.

MDA's Considerations

  1. In respect of SingNet's representation that an exemption "will benefit the public and media industry", MDA considered that:

    1. an exemption will allow customers, particularly those who have DD+ compatible sound systems, on the Singtel TV platform an opportunity to enjoy a new sound format with improved standard of sound quality when watching matches from PL Seasons 2016 – 2019. MDA is of the view that this would enhance consumer welfare through innovation, and is also in line with the cross-carriage measure's intent of encouraging pay-TV retailers to compete on service and product differentiation, away from an exclusive content-centric strategy;

    2. the Receiving Qualified Licensee's ("RQL") Relevant Platform is not designed to cross-carry DD+ sound format, hence requiring SingNet to cross-carry the DD+ sound format on the RQL's platform and bear the cost of upgrading the RQL's platform will eventually become a cost that has to be recovered from customers; and

    3. the majority of customers on the Singtel TV platform and the RQL's platform who have not invested in an AV receiver and surround sound speakers will not experience any significant difference in the audio quality. Accordingly, MDA is satisfied that SingNet, through the Exemption Application, is not seeking to discriminate in favour of customers on the Singtel TV platform, thereby circumventing the effectiveness of the cross-carriage measure.

MDA's Decision

  1. Having carefully considered SingNet's Exemption Application, MDA is satisfied that SingNet has established that an exemption from the obligations under paragraph 2.7 of the Code with regard to cross-carrying the DD+ sound format will benefit the public and the media industry. MDA hereby exempts SingNet from cross-carrying the DD+ sound format for PL Seasons 2016 – 2019 for consumer and business customers, subject to the following conditions:

    1. SingNet shall continue to provide the RQL with minimally the sound formats that were provided for PL Seasons 2013 – 2016, i.e. stereo sound format and Dolby Digital sound format, for cross-carriage on the RQL's platform. For the avoidance of doubt, SingNet is not precluded from cross-carrying any higher quality sound format(s) that the RQL's platform can support; and

    2. The exemption will be withdrawn when the RQL confirms to MDA that the RQL's platform is able to support the DD+ sound format.

  1. Any queries on this industry circular may be addressed to:

    The Media Development Authority of Singapore
    Attn: Ms Daphne Wong, Deputy Director (Competition Policy)