Dated: 12 March 2010
As part of ongoing efforts to enable and maintain fair market conduct and effective competition in the media industry, the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) has revised the Media Market Conduct Code (MMCC 2010).
The revisions, which take effect today, include the incorporation of an additional Public Interest Obligation to enable mandatory cross carriage of exclusive content in the pay TV market. The measure was explained to Parliament by Mr Lui Tuck Yew, Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA) in MICA’s Committee of Supply speech today.
The new Public Interest Obligation requires qualified pay TV licensees to cross carry each other’s content that is acquired or renewed on an exclusive basis on or after 12 March 2010.
Exclusive contracts are not uncommon in the pay TV market. However, presently, almost all content in the pay TV market in Singapore is acquired on an exclusive basis. This widespread use of exclusive contracts has led to a high degree of content fragmentation and is rare in international markets. Furthermore, pay TV retailers typically pay a premium for exclusive rights to content, resulting in higher content acquisition costs.
By requiring cross carriage of exclusive content, content will be made available across more pay TV retailers. Consumers will no longer require multiple set top boxes or have to switch pay TV retailers just to enjoy exclusive content. This will facilitate greater consumer access to pay TV content, and shift the focus of competition in the market from an exclusivity-centric strategy to other aspects such as service differentiation and competitive packaging and pricing.
MDA will be consulting key industry players on the implementation of the cross carriage measure. Industry players will need to work out operational details such as technical and billing arrangements, and service standard issues. It is expected that applicable exclusive content –exclusive content acquired or renewed from 12 March 2010 - will be made available on a cross carriage basis by 1 September 2010. As the measure is prospective, it will not apply to existing exclusive content.
MDA may fine-tune the implementation details after reviewing feedback from the industry.
MDA has also expanded the scope of the MMCC 2010 by widening the application of positive obligations, so as to facilitate the participation of more media players. For instance, “feeds” of Events of National Significance, such as National Day Parade and National Day Rally, were previously available only to free-to-air TV and radio licensees. With the change, such feeds can be made available to other channels as directed by MDA.
The MMCC 2010 also requires the dominant media players to provide all media licensees, which now include smaller media players, with the ability to purchase advertising capacity to promote their media services on reasonable and non-discriminatory prices, terms and conditions.
New regulations have also been introduced to ensure that media players do not unfairly engage in anti-competitive practices by leveraging on its own or its affiliates’ significant market power in a media or non-media market. This will address potential anti-competitive behaviour arising from convergence and provide more opportunities for players to enter the market.
Mr Michael Yap, Director of Development Policy, MDA, said: “The MMCC 2010 is the result of an extensive review of the MMCC. With the contributions of media players, the MMCC 2010 provides an updated framework that aims to better serve our consumers, provide wider opportunities for our industry, and encourage innovation, leading to a more vibrant media sector.”
A summary and a closing note to the key revisions to the MMCC 2010 is available at www.mda.gov.sg
About Media Development Authority (MDA)
Formed in 2003, the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) plays a vital role in transforming Singapore into a GlobalMediaCity and positioning it at the forefront of the digital media age. MDA spearheads initiatives that promote developments in film, video, television, radio, publishing, music, games, animation, media services and Interactive Digital Media. At the same time, in ensuring clear and consistent regulatory policies and guidelines, MDA helps to foster a pro-business environment for industry players and increase media choices for consumers.For more information, visit www.mda.gov.sg and www.smf.sg.