Singapore: Well intentioned, but are StarHub’s antipiracy incentives sufficient?

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Singapore pay TV operator StarHub announced a rental subsidy for consumers who abandon illegal streaming services to take StarHub services.

In exchange for giving up pirate devices that “don’t comply with proposed amendments to Singapore’s Copyright Act,” consumers get free two-year rental of StarHub’s TV+ set-top box, a UHD/4K device that runs on Android TV.

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StarHub offers a 90,000 hour library of on-demand content, an HBL Pak, and subscription to Disney+ and HBO GO for a flat fee of S$30 per month (equivalent to about US$22).

Read the StarHub press release

Why it matters

While it’s a well-intentioned incentive, it only extends through August 31, according to StarHub at the time of the announcement.  Hopefully, StarHub will make the incentive permanent.  Also, the savings promoted by this incentive is equivalent to less than one month of StarHub service.  Compared with the range of programming consumers get from pirate sources for the same monthly fee (or less), many consumers may not find the StarHub offer to be sufficiently compelling.

Nonetheless, pay TV operators and streaming video providers should take this promotion as a prototype example.  Consumer demand is a big contributor to piracy.  If demand can be re-routed to legitimate services, everyone wins.  Not just media companies and distributors, but also, the individual creative professionals making a living at acting and service companies who put their energies into production.

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