To end the controversy over World Cup pricing here, the Media Development Authority should, most importantly, explain how and why other football-crazy countries are able to view the tournament on free-to-air and/or pay-television at a fraction of the cost charged in Singapore.
It has been reported that the next-highest price being charged elsewhere is about half the price here.
All countries, regardless of size or wealth, are price-takers from FIFA. However, except for Singapore, they are able to achieve more reasonable prices.
Additionally, many countries in the region and many first-world countries, such as the United Kingdom and Australia, will have the World Cup on free-to-air television.
Otherwise, the MDA’s response in its letter “MDA can’t strong-arm content providers to agree to set price” (April 28) would ring hollow to unhappy football fans.
I find it ironic and bewildering that an industry regulator is defending a commercial enterprise’s interests and aggressive business strategem over the interests of consumers.
There is still time for the authorities to consider mutually acceptable, non-strong-arm solutions that have been suggested in the media.
The World Cup has a high advertising value. MediaCorp, for example, could barter advertising money earned during the matches on national TV for more free-to-air coverage. SingTel gets compensated and government funding is avoided.
QUEK SOO BENG