The following are excerpts from the blog Singapore2025, which is the personal website of the Workers’ Party Member of Parliament, Pritam Singh. Here, he shares his views on the controversy that it would cost $112.35 for the public to watch all 64 games of this year’s World Cup, which kicks off in Brazil on June 12.
“For the 2006 World Cup, Starhub charged subscribers $15 under an early-bird promotion rate. For World Cup 2010, the rights for which were won by a last-ditch joint bid by both Singtel and Starhub, this figure had jumped nearly four-and-a-half times to $70.62 with the non-promotion rate at $94.16.
“This time around Singtel shrewdly went it alone and held the early bird promotion rate at $94.16 with the non-promotion rate set at $112.35.
“While there was a rise in rates from the 2010 figures, the non-promotional price for World Cup 2010 and the promotion price for World Cup 2014 was identical, a fact which lead some to conclude, not incorrectly, that there had been no real rise in prices, but only if one subscribes early.
“These identical rates were more down to a hard-nosed business decision by Singtel, rather than any overwhelming desire to keep costs as low as possible for the Singaporean viewers.
“Since Singapore cannot totally influence FIFA’s rates, the question before us now is what local strategies can be employed to moderate any rise in prices, or even lower prices for such exclusive content in future, in spite of what happened in 2010. Minister Wong informed parliament that the Government was going to review the anti-siphoning list (any event on such a list requires that it must be available for Mediacorp to acquire), in addition to reviewing cross-carriage measures as well.”
“With the benefit of hindsight, there would appear to be some scope for the Government to further explore the prospects of a joint-bid between the telcos and to understand how the free-to-air provider, Mediacorp, a 100% Temasek owned company can enter the fray, even partly, with a view to bring the World Cup to Singaporeans at a more reasonable price. To do this, the Government would need to work with the telcos to better apportion costs for Singaporeans and strategise the issue with the public interest in mind.”
Read Mr Singh’s full blog post here: “High World Cup Prices: Where do we go from here?“.