StarHub in talks with Netflix over partnership

StarHub says it is ready if a fourth telco enters the market, citing its twin strategy of selling bundled services that include mobile phone, broadband and TV, and its six enhanced SIM Only plans - plans not tied to handsets - that were launched yest
StarHub says it is ready if a fourth telco enters the market, citing its twin strategy of selling bundled services that include mobile phone, broadband and TV, and its six enhanced SIM Only plans - plans not tied to handsets - that were launched yesterday.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Announcement comes as telco reports higher third-quarter profits

Telco StarHub revealed yesterday that it is in talks with United States streaming company Netflix about striking a partnership.

Chief marketing officer Howie Lau said at a results briefing: "Discussions right now are in a commercial stage, so we are not able to share too much details."

Netflix has announced that it will launch its streaming service in Singapore next year, allowing users to watch a selection of TV shows and movies on devices like TVs, smartphones, laptops and tablets.

The revelation of the potential tie-up came as StarHub recorded net profit of $118.7 million for the third quarter, up 21.5 per cent on the same period a year earlier.

Higher equipment sales and a one-time gain of $15 million from the partial divestment of a subsidiary, SHINE Systems Assets, had boosted earnings .

Revenue in the three months to Sept 30 climbed 1.9 per cent to $603.1 million on the back of a 14.4 per cent lift in equipment sales to $44.9 million.

  • AT A GLANCE

    NET PROFIT: $118.7 million (+21.5%)

    REVENUE: $603.1 million (+1.9%)

    INTERIM DIVIDEND: 5 cents per share

Chief executive officer Tan Tong Hai said in a conference call yesterday: "If you look at the overall top line, it looks relatively flat, but underlying it we are growing at the right segment and sector."

Service revenue rose by 1 per cent to $558 million, driven by an increase in broadband and fixed network services revenue.

Turnover for fixed network, which offers services to businesses, rose 4.3 per cent to $99.3 million, while broadband services revenue grew 3.8 per cent to $51.1 million.

Mobile service sales came in at $310.6 million, down marginally by 0.1 per cent compared with a year earlier, as weaker pre-paid mobile services offset growth in the post-paid segment.

Pay TV service revenue dipped 0.2 per cent to $97.2 million as a result of lower advertising revenue.

StarHub said it is ready if a fourth telco enters the market.

"In our planning, we are assuming the fourth operator will be here. We have two strategies. One is our hubbing strategy - we don't sell single services, we sell (services) combined with broadband, with TV," Mr Tan said.

The other strategy is the six enhanced SIM Only plans - plans not tied to handsets - that were launched yesterday.

Earnings per share for the third quarter was 6.9 cents compared with 5.7 cents a year earlier, while net asset value per share was 11 cents as at Sept 30, compared with 8.6 cents as at Dec 31.

StarHub declared an interim dividend of five cents a share, which will be paid on Nov 27.

Last month, StarHub's rival M1 reported that its third-quarter net profit inched up 0.8 per cent to $44.9 million. Singtel will report its earnings on Thursday.

StarHub shares closed down two cents at $3.67 yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2015, with the headline 'StarHub in talks with Netflix over partnership'. Print Edition | Subscribe