Minister dismisses SingTel's appeal against sharing EPL with StarHub

Liverpool's Jordan Ibe (right) challenges Queens Park Rangers' Michael Harriman during their English Premier League (EPL) soccer match at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England on May 19, 2013. The next three seasons of the EPL will be available to b
Liverpool's Jordan Ibe (right) challenges Queens Park Rangers' Michael Harriman during their English Premier League (EPL) soccer match at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England on May 19, 2013. The next three seasons of the EPL will be available to both SingTel and StarHub pay-TV subscribers for the first time. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

THE next three seasons of the English Premier League (EPL) will be offered ala-carte for the first time in Singapore.

The football matches, which kick off three weeks from now (August 17), will also be available to both SingTel and StarHub pay-TV subscribers for the first time.

The Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim has dismissed SingTel's appeal to reverse an earlier direction by the Media Development Authority (MDA). His world is the final on the matter

In April (2013), the MDA ordered SingTel to share its EPL broadcast rights for the next three years with rival StarHub under the media regulator's "cross-carriage" rule as it had found SingTel's EPL deal to be exclusive.

Separately, the MDA has also exempted SingTel from sharing EPL bundles, a requirement under the cross-carriage regime. With the exemption, SingTel needs to share its standalone EPL content only.

In a statement yesterday (July 26), the MDA said that public interest is "better served" this way. If forced to share everything in the bundles that SingTel offers, StarHub customers may be confused and unhappy with duplicative channels, MDA said.