SPH to broadcast news clips on broadband TV - Dec 21, 2006 (ST)

BackDec 21, 2006

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

SPH to broadcast news clips on broadband TV

By Alfred Siew
Dec 21, 2006
The Straits Times

BARELY six months after launching its Stomp online portal, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) is entering another new medium by delivering on-demand news clips on broadband TV.

The publisher of The Straits Times yesterday said it will provide video clips of breaking news on the M2Btv broadband TV service run by home-grown firm M2B World from next month.

The new SPH channel will compile video content from The Straits Times Interactive, Stomp and AsiaOne. There will also be international video news clips licensed from AP Digital, a division of news agency The Associated Press.

To tune in, viewers have to subscribe to the M2Btv broadband TV service, which currently costs $29.90 a month for 55 channels, which include Hollywood movies and Korean dramas.

The SPH channel is the latest addition to this line-up.

Viewers will also need a broadband connection to tune in. Unlike StarHub's cab le TV or MediaCorp's free-to-air broadcasts, M2Btv uses a broadband connection to deliver programmes to homes.

Any broadband user can subscribe and connect a set-top box, which is loaned out for free, to his TV set. The video content is on-demand, which means users can choose to view the news clips anytime they want.

SPH's senior manager for its Internet business unit, Mr Raymond Teoh, said viewers can expect to watch breaking news clips, as well as videos shot by the public and put up on Stomp. 'We already have news in print, on the Net, on mobile phones; now we have it on Internet TV as well,' he added.

In June, SPH launched Stomp, a website which invites readers to be 'citizen reporters', sending in pictures and information of newsworthy events, such as the floods which affected many areas this week.

The move into broadband TV comes in a year when it has become a pastime for Internet users to watch short video clips on websites like YouTube.

As the technology for it matures, broadband TV is widely expected to offer an alternative to the cable and free-to-air TV programmes with which couch potatoes are more familiar.

M2B World spokesman Liew Kim Siong told The Straits Times it had signed up more than 3,000 subscribers here, mostly young families, for its broadband TV service since the launch in June.

One of them, Mr Owng Chee Yong, 33, who works in the IT sector, welcomed an on-demand news channel that can give him quick updates. He said: 'I don't have time to go through all the news, so it's good to have a summary of it.'