Saturday, March 13, 2010

Broadcast Disaster

Singtel recently apologised to about 10,000 of its mio TV subscribers due to a reported software glitch that denied these customers the use of their mio TV signals, i.e. 10,000 went without TV for 2 or more days. As compensation, it threw open its entire stock of channels to mio TV subscribers as a gesture of goodwill and apology. Actually, its dead heat rival, Starhub, regularly throws open their entire stock of channels every once a while to its cable TV subscribers for no other reason than generosity (well, ok, it is still business, not charity).

Singtel recently secured the sole rights in Singapore to carry and broadcast all Barclays Premier League soccer matches, depriving Starhub, which currently holds the license, a significant chunk of its business. Singtel was very happy and its CEO, Mr Allen Liew gloated over it, outright rejecting any sharing of the broadcast signals with Starhub. So in the last couple of months, subscription to Singtel mio TV has increased substantially (so I heard) if only because soccer-mad Singaporeans are willing to be held ransom to watching their favourite sports on TV. Now, with the glitch, Mr Allen Liew must be sweating in his pants that mio TV outage does not happen when it begins broadcasting these games later this year. Can you imagine how angry these soccer-mad mio TV subscribers will be if their mio TV signals malfunctioned, especially in the middle of a match between Manchester United and Chelsea? And that the malfunction lasts 2 or more days?

So on second thoughts, it is probably prudent for Mr Liew to resume talks with Starhub on sharing those signals. At least people who own both mio and Starhub cable won't be so angry. In the meantime, they had better look at upping the reliabilty of their mio system, say to the level of 100%?

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