StarHub gets $6 million from government to produce public service programmes

StarHub has become the first pay-TV operator in Singapore to get to commission and produce original public service broadcast programmes, the government announced on Nov 5, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: BLOOMBERG  
StarHub has become the first pay-TV operator in Singapore to get to commission and produce original public service broadcast programmes, the government announced on Nov 5, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: BLOOMBERG  

StarHub has become the first pay-TV operator in Singapore to get to commission and produce original public service broadcast (PSB) programmes, the government announced on Tuesday.

This is the first time another party, other than national broadcaster MediaCorp, will be able to do so under the Media Development Authority's (MDA) Public Service Broadcast Contestable Funds Scheme.

The MDA said it will fund up to $6 million for as many as 100 hours of PSB content, depending on the quality of the programmes.

In a statement, StarHub said it will be working with production companies and "aims to produce high-quality content that pushes the envelope in terms of creativity and originality."

These programmes will be aired on StarHub's existing Chinese entertainment channel, E City, and sports channel, SuperSports Arena.

StarHub said it is looking to offer viewers on E City programmes such as dramas, talk shows and children programmes. SuperSports Arena will ramp up the broadcast of local sporting events such as marathons and school competitions.

Subscribers will also be able to view these programmes on their mobile devices via StarHub's TV Anywhere. Non-subscribers will, however, be able to access these programmes on TV Anywhere for free only six months after they have been aired, StarHub said.

MDA said the move means that Singapore viewers will be able to enjoy "more quality local programming on pay-TV as well, beyond Free-To-Air (FTA) television" by 2014.

MediaCorp has traditionally been the sole commissioning platform for PSB programmes. They aim to promote national values and celebrate the Singapore identity, culture and heritage.