Singtel, StarHub pay-TV subscriptions to shrink further: Fitch Solutions, Companies & Markets

PAY-TV subscriber losses in Singapore are set to increase as over-the-top (OTT) streaming services proliferate, and there will be few prospects for this trend to reverse, said Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research.

Linear entertainment services are losing their appeal in Singapore, as consumers in the city-state can easily access on-demand content almost anywhere via high-speed 4G and fixed fibre networks. Over the years, new mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) have also entered the market with aggressive data-pricing strategies, driving down mobile data costs.

These contribute to the appeal of data-heavy, platform-agnostic OTT services, the research team wrote in a report this week.

Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) and StarHub have thus continued to see erosion in their pay-TV subscriber bases, with more customers cutting the cord in favour of cheaper and more convenient OTT streaming services.

The two telcos had a total of 704,000 pay-TV subscribers at end-June 2020, about 27.2 per cent lower than the high of 968,000 subscriptions in March 2015, according to Fitch Solutions.

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The research team believes Singapore's pay-TV sector will sustain its gradual downward trajectory, tumbling to 460,660 subscriptions by end-2029.

Despite Singtel's and StarHub's efforts to reposition their content offerings to become "mobile first", Fitch Solutions does not foresee these new services being able to reverse the overall trend of decline.

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