StarHub pay-TV viewers can continue to enjoy Fox channels

The logo of StarHub Ltd. is displayed outside a retail outlet in Singapore, on Friday, Feb 3, 2012.
The logo of StarHub Ltd. is displayed outside a retail outlet in Singapore, on Friday, Feb 3, 2012.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Fans of popular Fox channels like Star World and FoxCrime can continue to watch their favourite shows on StarHub's pay-TV service after both parties reached an agreement last Friday night.

The agreement brings to an end months of negotiations, with costs a reason for the initial impasse. It is believed that StarHub chief executive Tan Tong Hai was personally involved in the negotiations.

A contract is expected to be signed this week.

Said Ms Lee Soo Hui, StarHub's head of content and TV: "We are happy to confirm the continued broadcast of Fox Networks Group channels and look forward to support our customers better."

Fox Networks Group (FNG) declined to comment.

StarHub's initial deal with the American content distributor expired last Wednesday. But the 22 affected channels were not yanked off the air as the deadline was extended to Friday, even though StarHub ran crawlers to warn viewers of a potential disruption to the service.

In June, five Fox channels (Channel V Mainland China, Channel V Taiwan, National Geographic Channel HD, Nat Geo Music and Xing Kong) ceased broadcast as both parties could not agree on an extension.

StarHub did not say if the new deal would mean an increase in subscription fees.

Mr Heng Wee Yang, a fan of National Geographic Channel, said: "It's good that we can continue to watch the channels that we signed up for, but I hope the new deal doesn't lead to a big increase in subscription fees."

Fellow operator Singtel's deal with FNG expires at the end of this month and negotiations are ongoing.

The protracted talks between FNG and pay-TV operators come amid a time of uncertainty.

The influx of alternatives like Netflix has led to a drop in subscription figures for both pay-TV operators.

Mr Avi Himatsinghani, founder and chief executive of multimedia entertainment company Rewind Networks, believes this is a good time for all parties to analyse the market and find out what consumers want.

He said: "I don't think Singaporeans are that price-sensitive... but with so many channels, it is important to curate programmes so customers get the most value out of their subscription."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2016, with the headline 'StarHub pay-TV viewers can continue to enjoy Fox channels'. Subscribe