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Cablegate: Media Exclusivity Agreements: Minister Says No To

VZCZCXYZ0004
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGP #1407 2110844
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 300844Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3668
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

UNCLAS SINGAPORE 001407

SIPDIS

STATE PASS USTR FOR AUSTR BWEISEL AND DBELL
COMMERCE FOR JBAKER

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECPS EINT ECON ETRD EINV SN
SUBJECT: MEDIA EXCLUSIVITY AGREEMENTS: MINISTER SAYS NO TO
ADDITIONAL REGULATION

REF: A) 2006 SINGAPORE 1484 B) 2006 SINGAPORE 1205

1. (U) In a move applauded by U.S. industry, Singapore's
Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA)
announced on July 27 that he had rejected SingTel's appeal to
further regulate exclusive carriage agreements between media
content/channel providers and Singapore's Pay-TV operator,
StarHub Cable Vision. Echoing the Media Development Authority's
(MDA's) May 2006 decision that had triggered the appeal, MICA
argued that "exclusive agreements per se do not substantially
foreclose potential entrants' access to key content for the Pay-
TV market in Singapore."

2. (SBU) As part of its appeal, SingTel had asked that StarHub
be required to provide wholesale access to exclusive key
content. SingTel introduced its VOIP (Voice Over Internet
Protocol) Pay-TV services earlier this year to compete with
StarHub's previous monopoly in the domestic Pay-TV market. In
addition to pressure on the Singapore government from U.S.
content providers and the USG to not further regulate exclusive
carriage agreements, USTR raised this issue during the second
annual review of our bilateral Free Trade Agreement in March
2006 as part of our concerns about the lack of transparency in
Singapore's rule-making process (reftels).

3. (U) MICA's press release on its decision may be viewed at
http://www.mica.gov.sg.

HERBOLD

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