Overview

IMDA adopts a co-regulatory approach when managing content standards for TV and radio. The aim is to encourage growth in the industry and provide wider choices for consumers.

Free-to-Air (FTA) TV

Singapore’s FTA broadcaster, Mediacorp broadcasts a total of six channels in digital to viewers. Programmes aired on its channels are required to comply with the Content Code for Nationwide Managed Transmission Linear Television Services (650.05KB) which allows programmes rated up to PG13 to be shown. Programmes should observe the following conditions:

  • Scheduling
    Programmes should be appropriately scheduled. PG13 rated programmes may not be suitable for children below 13 and should only be aired between 10pm and 6am.

  • Consumer Advice 
    Programmes rated PG13 should be accompanied by a consumer advice on screen before the start of the programme. Programmes rated PG are encouraged to do so. The consumer advice should outline the principal elements which contribute to the rating (e.g. “Violence”, “Horror” etc,”). This description should be clearly worded and displayed in a readily legible typeface that should remain visible for at least five seconds on the screen. Broadcasters are also encouraged to include the relevant consumer advice beside PG and PG13-rated programmes in publicity materials (like the TV page in newspapers and TV guides). 

  • Classification Information
    Classification information should be superimposed at the top left-hand corner of the screen at the beginning of all PG and PG13-rated programmes and after every commercial break for one minute.

For advertisements and sponsored programmes on FTA TV, broadcasters should ensure that they adhere to the general standards outlined by the Television and Radio Advertising and Sponsorship Code (494.22KB).

Pay-TV

In Singapore, consumers can access a number of Pay-TV services that are based on different delivery technologies from companies such as StarHub TV and SingTel TV.

IMDA adopts a co-regulatory approach with the industry and does not pre-vet programmes of Pay-TV service providers. Pay-TV providers offering scheduled programmes are subjected to the Content Code for Nationwide Managed Transmission Linear Television Services (650.05KB).

As they are subscription based, Pay-TV service providers are allowed to carry programmes with more mature content up to the M18 rating. However, programmes rated NC16 and M18 are required to adhere to the following:

  • Scheduling
    All programmes rated M18 should only be broadcast between 10pm and 6am. On-air programme promotions for NC16 and M18 programmes should be edited and scheduled appropriately. For instance, they should not be shown on channels or programmes targeted at children or at a time when children are more likely to be tuned in.

  • Consumer Advice
    The classification rating of a programme should be presented visually and prominently such that a consumer is aware of the programme’s rating before making a decision to view. 

    For programmes rated PG13 and above, consumer advice should also accompany the rating, stating the principal elements which have contributed to the classification e.g. Rated “M18” for Violence. The classification rating and consumer advice should be in a legible typeface and remain visible for at least five seconds.

  • Parental Lock
    Pay-TV service providers which offer programmes rated NC16 and M18 are required to offer a parental lock feature that allows subscribers to limit the access of such programmes to their children.

Pay-TV service providers should ensure that advertisements and sponsored programmes broadcasted on linear channels of nationwide cable and IPTV adhere to the general standards outlined by the Television and Radio Advertising and Sponsorship Code (494.22KB).

Video-on-Demand (VOD) and Over-the-Top (OTT) Services

VOD refers to services which allow consumers to select and view programmes on a TV, computer or other electronic device at any time on request, and OTT refers to the delivery of content (which can be linear or on-demand) directly to consumers over an Internet connection.

IMDA adopts a co-regulatory approach with the industry and does not pre-vet programmes of VOD and OTT service providers. VOD and OTT service providers are subjected to the Content Code for Over-the-Top, Video-on-Demand and Niche Services (638.48KB).

VOD and OTT services offering content rated NC16 and above are required to offer a parental lock feature that allows subscribers to limit the access of such content to their children. To further ensure children are not accidentally exposed to Restricted 21 (R21) content on VOD and OTT, such programmes must be locked by default and can only be accessed by entering an R21 PIN.

TV Receive Only System (TVRO)

TVRO refers to programmes received via satellite. Parties who require such a service are required to apply for a TVRO System Licence. IMDA issues this licence only to organisations that need access to time-sensitive information for business decisions. These businesses include financial institutions, foreign embassies and tertiary institutions.

Please refer to the following links for more details:

Guidelines for TVRO System Licence application  (199.47KB)

Conditions for TVRO System (200.73KB) 

Free-to-Air Radio Broadcasters

Listeners in Singapore can enjoy a wide range of genres on Free-to-Air (FTA) radio stations. The genres range from news and current affairs, to pop and classical music. There are currently three radio broadcasters. They are: 

  • Mediacorp Pte Ltd 
  • So Drama! Entertainment
  • SPH Radio Pte Ltd

Radio broadcasters should observe the Content Code for Radio Services (297.97KB) and the Television and Radio Advertising and Sponsorship Code (494.22KB) .

Online radio stations are class licensed and are required to comply with the Internet Code of Practice (49.90KB).

Last updated on: 22 Jul 2020