Want to watch the 2014 World Cup in Singapore? Pay $112.35, that seems to be the message.
SingTel yesterday announced that they have acquired the right to broadcast the tournament on an exclusive basis, with StarHub set to cross-carry it under a ruling made last year by the Media Development Authority (MDA). However, the former retains control over pricing and has set it at $112.35, including GST, for standalone subscription. Consumers who sign up or recontract with mio TV for mio Stadium+ or Gold Pack packages will enjoy free coverage.
Rivals StarHub has hit out at SingTel's decision to bid for exclusive rights, claiming that an offer to make a joint bid was rejected. The 2006 edition was offered by StarHub for either $15.75 (Sports Group customer) or $26.25 (customers who are not on the Sports Group) as a pay-per-view package. In 2010, subscription was S$88.
Fans have been up in arms over the price increase, with 54% of Goal Singapore readers believing that someone needs to step in and check the inflation, which appears to have worsened over the years. Only 7.6% indicated that they will subscribe to watch, given that there's not much choice.
Reader Audi Lim commented on the Goal Singapore Facebook page that the situation is "hopeless", while Jack Goh stated that it was too expensive and he would only consider if a "50% discount" is given.
""How many packages are they gonna come up with?" an clearly irate Kamal Nasir posted. "Sports, BPL, Champions League and now World Cup package for $105?!?! How much more they wanna (sic) squeeze?"
Stevie Steven G slammed MDA, questioning what they were doing as the media authority, while Peter Wee believes Fifa is "too greedy for the money" and claimed there were "spoiling the spirit" of the game. Skyee Alfonso, meanwhile, pointed out StarHub was crying wolf.
"When Starhub was the only pay-tv provider, they were also arrogant," he commented. "When they beat Singtel for the BPL two seasons back, they were also arrogant. Eventually it [is] a cycle, this time u (sic) beat me, next time I beat you, or I will find loophole to ensure we share the right. Both are the same, consumers are the one who always suffer."
"Outbid Starhub? More likely they plan this together...both are guilty as charge!," a more straightforward comment from Hafiz Somchai stated.
"Greed just takes over," Enfie Marie A Lin added. "People will make noise, but they will take it up inevitably. I hope the Public stand firm in not supporting this outrageous prices."
A Ben Delat also commented on the poll article, calling for Singaporeans to boycott subscription and not be "gullible".
Others have chosen to take the pricing more nonchalantly, with other options to watch available.
"Most of the bigger matches will be shown on free-to-air channel and there's always an option of going to a place that have this (sic) matches on big screens while serving good food and drinks," Muhd Irman reasoned. "Anyway [it's] not like we're gonna watch every single match right? So it shouldn't be much of a problem not subscribing. And oh, there's always online streaming available."