Dated: 15 January 2007
SingNet issued licence to roll out commercial IPTV services
A new two-tier licence framework for Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) rolled out by the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) today aims to further facilitate the growth of IPTV services in Singapore, leading to tangible benefits for the industry and consumers.
Consumers can look forward to more and newer forms of diverse programming content as more players enter the market to provide IPTV services to meet the different needs of both mass and niche audiences.
Industry players will also benefit from the greater flexibility offered under the new licence framework as it promotes a more conducive and business friendly environment. They can leverage on new technological trends and business models as they roll out IPTV services for different market segments.
Two-tier licence framework
“We took into consideration the developments in technology in a rapidly evolving media landscape and local industry feedback when factoring flexibility in this licence framework to address the needs of niche IPTV players vis-à-vis mass market IPTV players while ensuring that consumer interests are not compromised,” explained Ms Ling Pek Ling, Director, Media Policy, MDA.
“This will enable the entry of more industry players looking to provide a wide range of IPTV services to consumers including those who are currently not served or not well served by existing broadcasters. At the same time, consumers can look forward to richer and diversified content,” she added.
The tiered IPTV licence framework offers service providers two types of licences :
• Nationwide Subscription TV Licence: Players providing services that have wide reach (over 100,000 subscribers) and impact. They will be awarded a Nationwide Licence, similar to that for a mass market pay TV operator.
• Niche Subscription TV Licence: This facilitates the entry of new niche players offering IPTV services which have limited reach (100,000 subscribers or less) and impact. The licensee would be subject to a lighter licence framework. For example, niche licensees will not be required to carry the local free-to-air channels.
Where the subscriber base exceeds 100,000 subscribers, the following secondary criteria will be used to determine if the operator can still qualify as a Niche player to allow those targeting niche market segments like the expatriate community and hotels to grow their business and improve their business case:
• Location: whether the service is offered chiefly to specific non-residential locations in Singapore
• Language: whether there is a high percentage of foreign language content
• Reach and impact of the channels
Key licence conditions for Nationwide and Niche Subscription TV Licence can be found in Annex A.
SingNet issued a nationwide IPTV licence
In line with the new licence framework, MDA has issued SingNet Pte Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore Telecommunications Limited, a Nationwide Subscription TV Service licence to roll out commercial IPTV services.
More information on the application of the new licences is available at http://www.mda.gov.sg/wms.www/devnpolicies.aspx?sid=88#3.
About IPTV (Internet Protocol Television)
IPTV or Internet Protocol Television refers to the delivery of video or TV signals using Internet Protocol (IP). Globally, many telecommunication operators (telcos) have deployed or are at various stages of deploying IPTV services.
IPTV uses the IP network and communication protocols to deliver television programmes to viewers via a broadband connection and a set-top box connected to their television. These programmes can be in the form of either full scheduled channels and/or video-on-demand content.
IPTV represents a change in the business model of TV broadcasting as it is now easier for a service provider to seamlessly integrate scheduled TV programmes, Video-on-Demand (VOD) programmes and other interactive applications into a comprehensive offering. It also enables the entry of more service providers targeting niche audience segments.
Besides the telcos and incumbent broadcasters who are trying to extend their offerings to the IPTV space, smaller niche players such as VOD operators, content aggregators and media houses are seeking and exploring new revenue streams by targeting niche market segments with innovative content.
A key feature of IPTV is its interactivity. IPTV networks allow for two-way communication between the service provider and the viewer. IPTV service providers can tap on this feature of IP networks to offer on top of TV content, T-commerce, Voice-over-IP, video conferencing and other interactive application such as gaming, as part of a comprehensive suite of services.