06 November 2008

Singtel Mio TV acquires Serie A soccer channel

Mio grabs Serie A, challenging StarHub

SingTel’s IPTV platform, Mio, continues to challenge erstwhile pay-TV monopoly StarHub, now signing up Italian Serie A soccer rights to add to its UEFA Champions’ League and Cup coverage.

From this weekend, subscribers can watch up to four live matches each weekend with commentary available in both English and Mandarin. Mio TV will offer a dedicated Serie A channel, which will cost S$8 a month as a stand-alone service, but will be included for free in the “recommended” basic 25-channel SuperSaver pack, which costs S$19.90 a month.

But all Mio subscribers will also able to access up to 40 hours of on-demand Serie A content per month. Each weekend’s featured matches will be available on demand from the Monday evening.

“We are very pleased to have acquired the rights to broadcast Serie A games as this is one of the most prestigious leagues in the world,” said Mr Low Ka Hoe, Director of mio TV and Content. “Sports content is an important part of our offering, and this move signifies our ongoing efforts to expand and improve our selection of quality content for our viewers.

Mio’s win of UEFA Champions’ League and Cup rights earlier this year was the first blow to StarHub’s dominance of Singapore’s sports rights market. Winning Serie A rights further cements SingTel’s challenge.

But the digital cable operator does retain rights to the English Premier League, which is the most popular league in Singpore. And the competition from Mio seems to have given StarHub fresh impetus, with the operator this week announcing pay-TV revenues for the quarter to end September up 15% year-on-year. For the year to date, growth stands at 21%, to reach S$298 million from S$247 million “driven by the increase in basic and sports group subscription prices, and a larger customer base”.

Subscribers rose 4% on the same period last year to 520,000. Digital subs now make up 91% of the customer base at 473,000.

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