BBC drops mioTV for StarHub

BBC will add three channels in August move

HONG KONG -- The BBC is to end its pay TV carriage deal in Singapore with mioTV and broadcast exclusively on StarHub in the city state.

The move, effective from August, is a blow to the TV ambitions of Singapore Telecom, which launched mioTV two years ago as an Internet Protocol Television challenger to StarHub, the country's dominant cable-based pay TV platform.

From August StarHub will add factual channel BBC Knowledge, BBC Lifestyle and preschool kids channel CBeebies to its roster which currently includes BBC World News and BBC Entertainment.

"Singapore is an important part of our expansion strategy in Asia. We are excited that our entire suite of channels will be offered together on one platform in this key market," said Mark Whitehead, BBC Worldwide Channels' senior vice president and general manager, effectively the BBC's head in Asia.

The British public broadcaster was one of mioTV's initial clients and used the platform's debut for world premieres of two new channels. But as StarHub fought back against the challenge of mioTV, through an aggressive expansion of its content and channels and with its own technological developments, mioTV has struggled to grow quickly. Disappointing subscriber take-up is understood to have been a major factor behind the BBC's decision to go exclusively with StarHub.

BBC reports that the channels will be available to 527,000 subscribers on StarHub. SingTel reported that mioTV had 78,000 subscribers as of March 31. The company said that it will be making a related announcement next week.