Dated: 1 July 2011
MDA gazettes changes to Media Market Conduct Code to facilitate smooth implementation
The cross-carriage measure (Measure), which was first introduced by the Media Development Authority on 12 March 2010, will be implemented from 1 August 2011.
This means that, from 1 August 2011, pay TV retailers who have acquired any exclusive content on or after 12 March 2010 (Qualified Content) must widen the distribution of such content by offering it to other subscribers through the set-top boxes of qualified pay TV retailers 1. The Measure is aimed at fostering a vibrant pay TV market to the benefit of consumers and industry.
The pay TV market has seen significant growth since the introduction of the Measure. To date, retailers have introduced over 20 new channels, and there are more channels available now on more than one platform. Besides the increased channel offerings, new pay TV retailers and services have entered the market, bringing more choice and innovative offerings to consumers.
The implementation of the Measure comes on the back of the third and final round of an extensive consultation process -- with content providers, international industry associations, retailers and a consumer association -- over the past 15 months. The feedback received from all parties was instrumental in helping MDA fine-tune the Measure for implementation.
In order to facilitate implementation, MDA has today made changes to the Media Market Conduct Code (Code) which seeks to promote fair market conduct and effective competition by laying out the ground rules for fair competition in the media market. These changes have been gazetted on 1 July 2011.
The changes set out the regulatory framework for the Measure, with the aim of enhancing consumer interest while creating greater business certainty for the industry.
In enhancing choice and convenience for consumers, the changes to the Code include:
Consumers who wish to subscribe to Qualified Content must be able to receive it within 5 working days of initiating the request with their respective pay TV retailers.
All Qualified Content must be cross-carried in its entirety and in an unmodified and unedited form. This ensures a homogenous and consistent viewer experience for the consumer regardless of the viewing platform used to view the content.
Pay TV retailers are required to deal with customer feedback or complaints on a non-discriminatory basis.
Pay TV retailers are required to publish and maintain a list of Qualified Content on their respective websites and viewing guides to ensure that consumers have access to adequate information on Qualified Content.
Pay TV retailers offering Qualified Content to customers must do so at the same price, terms and conditions as that offered to their own subscribers.
The Code also spells out that the Measure will not apply to pay TV content delivered over internet and mobile platforms. In addition, the respective duties and obligations of pay TV retailers are also defined. For instance, retailers need to ensure that the intellectual property rights of the channel or content providers are safeguarded.
For full details on the changes to the Code, please refer to http://www.mda.gov.sg/Policies/PoliciesandContentGuidelines/Pages/Competition.aspx.
To ensure that the Measure continues to be relevant as the market evolves, MDA will review the Measure triennially and when market developments warrant a review. MDA welcomes further dialogue with industry and the public;and will continue to engage stakeholders in facilitating implementation and policy review.
About Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA)
The Media Development Authority of Singapore (www.mda.gov.sg) promotes the growth of globally competitive film, television, radio, publishing, music, games, animation and interactive digital media industries. It also regulates the media sector to safeguard the interests of consumers, and promotes a connected society.
1These qualified pay TV retailers will be designated by MDA and are defined as Receiving Qualified Licensees under the Media Market Conduct Code.