Monday, April 28, 2008

M1's CEO Neil Montefiore on the Pay TV Market

At last, someone with some knowledge about the Pay TV market says something wise about it in the Singapore newspapers. This time, TODAY carried an interview with M1 CEO Neil Montefiore (unlike My Paper which contained a trashy column by the bungling Lee Sze Yong):

Neil makes the following astute observation:
“I’m not in favour of bidding for content because in the end, it costs the consumer more,” he said. “It seems we’re the only example in the world where you introduce competition and the consumer pays more. It doesn’t seem to be the right model to me. I’m hoping the regulators or the content owners will change that.”

Well, Neil, I too wish the regulators or the content owners would do something about it. But I don't think that's going to happen soon.

  • The content owners are too elated that they are able to collect monopoly rent from the Singapore market.
  • The regulators are too busy covering their asses to please their political masters.
  • And of course SingTel wouldn't care two hoots about the inconvenience caused to consumers - they're a multi-billion dollar company who only cares about how they can break into the Pay TV market in Singapore and make more profits.

This is a simple result of the economics of the bidding model and the monopoly over content rights.

The only realistic chance consumers have is to band together and speak up and make noise through the consumer commission to enact change. Either that or boycott SingTel. It's really up to the consumers to demand and get what they want and stand up for their own consumer rights.

On another note, I think M1 will be the biggest beneficiary in the upcoming next-gen NBN project. In my opinion, an M1 consortium that does not include SingTel and StarHub (i.e. City Telecom & M1) makes the most sense for the OpCo bid. I'll explain why in a later post.

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