TELECOM & INTERNET | Staff Reporter, Singapore

StarHub, Singtel join OTT bandwagon as Pay TV business slumps

They launched their own mobile TV apps.

They say if you can't beat them, try joining them. That's exactly what Singtel and StarHub are doing with over-the-top content services, which are sucking the life out of their Pay TV businesses.

According to OCBC Investment Research, Singapore’s Pay TV market has been on a decline since 1Q15 when total subscribers reached 968k across both Singtel and Starhub’s platform. Since then, the total Pay TV subscribers have fallen to 919k as at end-3Q16. The majority of the loss between the said period came from Starhub, which lost 38k subscribers in contrast with Singtel's 11k subscriber lost.

"In our view, we believe the key reason for the fall in Pay TV subscribers is mainly due to the increasing adoption by consumers in using OTT content service providers like Netflix," the brokerage firm noted.

With this, Singtel and StarHub are now competing in the OTT content space with their own mobile TV apps, CAST and Starhub Go, respectively.

"At competitive prices relative to Netflix in Singapore, Starhub Go is an online video streaming service that offers a mix of popular channels that can be watched on smartphone, tablet or PC," OCBC said.

Discussing Singtel's CAST, the firm said, "Singtel offers the Cast app exclusively for its post-paid mobile and fibre broadband customers. Through the Cast app, Singtel allows subscribers to stream and have unlimited downloads of the offered Korean, Japanese and Chinese dramas and variety shows, as well as kids entertainment content and games.

More so, Singtel dives deeper in the OTT scene through HOOQ.

"Separately, HOOQ also has a partnership with Singtel for the pre-paid mobile customers to access the service as part of a bundled package starting from S$7/month for 1GB of streaming," the firm noted.

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