Dated: 6 June 2013
1. Content providers have raised queries on whether, as a result of MDA’s Direction to SingNet Pte Ltd (“SingNet”) to require the cross-carriage of all 380 Barclays Premier League matches for the next three seasons commencing August 2013 (“BPL Content”), other programming content licensed to SingNet will be required to be cross-carried.
2. MDA wishes to clarify that the Direction is directed solely at the Qualified Content, specifically, the BPL Content only, and any decision in respect of the bundling of any other programming content (i.e., non-Qualified Content) with the BPL Content is a commercial decision undertaken by SingNet.
3. In this regard, if SingNet decides to bundle non-Qualified Content with BPL for broadcast on its own platform, then SingNet would be required to allow the cross-carriage of the entire same bundle comprising both the non-Qualified Content and the BPL content. However, this requirement is subject to 2 important qualifications.
4. First, under paragraph 2.7.1(d) of the Code of Practice for Market Conduct (“Code”), a Supplying Qualified Licensee must not bundle any channel or programming content together with Qualified Content without first having acquired all relevant rights from the channel or content provider of the first-mentioned channel or programming content for cross-carriage. This means that, it is necessary for SingNet to ensure that it has acquired all relevant rights to the non-Qualified Content to enable the cross-carriage of the bundle comprising both the non-Qualified Content and the BPL content.
5. Second, notwithstanding the provision in the Code requiring all non-Qualified Content bundled with BPL content to be cross-carried on a non-discriminatory basis, MDA will consider granting an exemption from the requirement to cross-carry all non-Qualified Content bundled with the BPL Content where it is shown to be in the benefit of the public to do so.
6. In other words, MDA has not imposed any requirement on SingNet to bundle any non-Qualified Content with BPL for purposes of cross-carriage. Whether to do so is a commercial decision of SingNet, and any agreement by content providers to allow for the cross-carriage of their non-Qualified Content with BPL is a contractual matter between the content providers and SingNet.
7. Where content providers have already granted the rights to allow the cross-carriage of their non-Qualified Content with BPL, it remains for SingNet to seek an exemption from MDA if it does not wish to cross-carry non-Qualified Content with BPL (please see paragraph 4 above).
8. MDA trusts that this circular has adequately addressed any misconception concerning the cross-carriage of non-Qualified Content with Qualified Content. Any queries on the requirements of the Direction may be addressed to:
The Media Development Authority of Singapore
Attn: Ms Lee Ee Jia, Deputy Director (Competition)