MDA monitoring English Premier League TV rights negotiations closely

The Media Development Authority is closely monitoring ongoing negotiations involving the rights to screen English Premier League matches here, said Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim in Parliament on Wednesday.

He said the authority was wanted to make sure there were no loopholes in the cross-carriage measures that have been put in place.

He was responding to Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Zaqy Mohamad's question as to why no other content providers, other than SingTel, has been able to offer the broadcast of the English Premier League this coming August.

In October last year, SingTel's mio TV announced that it had signed on the non-exclusive broadcast rights for the next three seasons of the league, even before the bid was opened up to Asian broadcasters.

While SingTel's deal might have been "non-exclusive", it will be the sole broadcaster here with access to the matches if StarHub does not do a deal with the premier league.

Under cross carriage rules, the non-exclusive nature of the new agreement opens the door for rival telco StarHub to also put in a bid.

Dr Yaacob said: "We're looking at this very very closely to see whether there are any built-in barriers which will bypass the regulator."

He added that "at the moment all we know is that SingTel has signed but we know that other providers are interested and they are in negotiations".