Regulator orders Singtel to share Premier League coverage with Starhub

Singapore pay-television operator Singtel has been ordered by the Media Development Authority, the media regulator in Singapore, to offer coverage of the English Premier League, the top division of football in England, to pay-television broadcaster Starhub.

Singtel, which acquired rights to the league in a three-season deal, from 2013-14 to 2015-16, in October 2012, was told by the watchdog that the coverage must be made available to Starhub as part of the country’s ‘cross-carriage’ regulations.

“Following a thorough examination of the agreement between Singtel and the Premier League, and the information provided by Singtel and relevant parties, the authority concluded that the agreement contained certain clauses which prevent or restrict or are likely to prevent or restrict the same content from being acquired or otherwise obtained for transmission on selected platforms in Singapore by other pay-television retailers,” the watchdog said. “These restrictions therefore trigger the cross-carriage measure, which became effective on August 1 2011… Under the cross-carriage measure, pay-television retailers who have acquired any exclusive content… must widen the distribution of such content by offering it to other subscribers through the set-top boxes of qualified pay-television retailers.”

Singtel said it was “gravely disappointed” with the decision and added that it would appeal. It also said that its subscription fees for stand-alone Premier League packages would be “significantly higher” than planned following the regulator’s order.

In March, Starhub said that it had entered talks with the Premier League about the next cycle of rights after an exclusive negotiating period that was granted by the league to Singtel expired.