20 May 2010

AXN HD is coming to Singapore's Starhub Pay TV

AXN HD in Singapore

20 May 2010, Singapore – Viewers will soon have another reason to stay glued to their television sets. SPE Networks – Asia, home to pay-TV channel brands AXN, AXN Beyond and Animax, is excited to offer viewers the AXN experience in the rich detail, sounds and vibrant colours of high definition (HD) technology.

Starting 25 May 2010, the new channel, AXN HD will be made available to viewers on StarHub TV Channel 559, and will be part of its Entertainment Basic Group. AXN, the heart of action & adventure, and Singapore’s leading English general entertainment pay-TV channel*, has always been synonymous with first-run action, adventure, drama, reality-TV and all-round unparalleled entertainment that “Wows!”. That same experience will soon be available in HD.

Viewers can look forward to AXN’s latest exclusive hits in true HD, including 2009 TV season’s top-rated new investigative action drama series from the US, NCIS: Los Angeles, starring Chris O’Donnell (Batman and Robin) and LL Cool J (S.W.A.T.); the region’s perennial favourite CSI crime and investigation franchise including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: NY and CSI: Miami; along with the slick and stylish heist series Leverage, starring Timothy Hutton (Kidnapped), amongst many others.

“As the number one English general entertainment pay-TV channel* in Singapore, we believe launching AXN HD is a vital step to retaining viewer loyalty and maintaining our leading position. Going HD is a natural progression, for many of our Singapore viewers already own an HD TV set. AXN HD will provide the top quality visual experience that viewers now seek, with AXN’s distinctive brand of action and adventure, high-impact and world class entertainment presented in utmost clarity,” says Ricky Ow, Senior Vice President & General Manager of SPE Networks – Asia.

“As the leading pay-TV operator in Singapore, StarHub is delighted to partner SPE Networks – Asia to bring to our customers AXN in high definition over our superior cable TV platform. As demand changes with technology advancement, StarHub continues to enhance our services and offer viewers not just popular, but also high definition quality programmes for their viewing pleasures. We are pleased to collaborate with our long standing partner, offering exciting AXN HD channel to our customers,” says Ms Ong Bee Lian, StarHub’s Vice President of Home Solutions.

AXN HD is available for free to all StarHub TV customers from 25 May to 31 July. They must have a HubStation HD or HD set-top box and a subscription to the Entertainment Basic Group to be able to enjoy this channel. More pricing information will be made known at a later date.

Existing customers who wish to have their set-top boxes changed can either call 1633 or bring their set-top boxes down to StarHub Customer Service Centres for a one-to-one swop and self-install. The public who wish to take on a StarHub TV package can call 1630 or visit www.starhub.com/tv for more information.

AXN HD will begin broadcast on 25 May 2010, 6.00am, on StarHub TV Ch 559


15 May 2010

Concerns over Singapore push for non-exclusive pay TV content

A proposal by the Singapore media regulator to remove exclusivity for pay TV content has raised concerns about the future growth of the industry in the country.

The ‘cross-carriage remedy’ has been proposed by the Media Development Authority in response to fierce bidding wars between the country’s two cable operators, StarHub and Singapore Telecommunications over rights for the English Premier League soccer and unfounded public anxiety that the upcoming soccer World Cup would not be shown in Singapore as both cable operators could not reach agreement with FIFA over coverage rights.

If the new rules are applied, it also damages Singapore’s status as an innovator in the industry with many seeing the country as a gateway into Asia.

The Cable & Satellite Broadasting Association of Asia’s CEO Simon Twiston Davies told The Financial Times that the proposal would breach World Trade Organisation rules and damage the future of the industry in Singapore:

“Over more than a decade, Singapore has made the most notable progress in the region when attracting international content companies to the country,”

“The ‘cross-carriage remedy’, insisting on the sharing of high value programming, damages the interests of every content owner and distributor.”

Head of Competition and Market Access at the MDA, Eileen Ang said the proposal will ensure content is made widely available and is supported by consumer groups.

Coverage of the World Cup was only finalised in March, making Singapore one of the last countries to conclude rights negotiations with FIFA thanks to the protracted bidding process, subsequently access to coverage will be one of the world’s most expensive at about $SGD 1 per match for residential customers and between $SGD 1000 and $SGD 4000 for businesses.