StarHub launches VOD with 'CSI'

Tries to extend significant lead over rival Singtel

SINGAPORE -- Singapore's sole cable TV operator, StarHub, will launch its VOD platform Wednesday with exclusive rights to CBS Paramount series and a slate of shows from Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan.

"CSI Miami," "CSI New York," "CSI" and "Numbers" will be available 24 hours after their U.S. releases beginning in September, StarHub cable TV services boss Patrick Lim said Tuesday. The exclusive "CSI" VOD window is for six months.

The new platform also will carry five SVOD channels, including HBO on Demand and Disney Channel @ Play, offering 100 hours of content a month.

StarHub hasn't yet disclosed on-demand pricing for U.S. series, citing Singapore's fiercely competitive pay TV market as the reason for the secrecy.

The VOD platform will charge S$1 ($0.70) per episode for such Asian titles as Hong Kong TVB's "The Gentle Crackdown II" and "Lobbyist" from Korean network SBS.

StarHub also will offer Barclays Premier League matches, WWE monthly specials and films from Hollywood, Bollywood and Indonesia.

Movies will be available three months after their theatrical release and cost between S$3.50 ($2.50) and S$5 ($3.50), Lim said.

StarHub's launch comes less than a month after pay TV rival SingTel announced the biggest-ever U.S. studio on-demand deal. That pact involves more than 50 series from Disney/ABC, Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox.

StarHub has 511,000 subscribers. SingTel's Mio TV has 45,000.
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