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Netflix likely to charge S$11 per month for Internet TV service here

SINGAPORE — Ahead of its Singapore launch early next year, popular TV and movie streaming website Netflix is in talks with telcos here to discuss ways to cooperate, and has also confirmed that it will likely set a pricing of US$8 (S$11.16) per month for consumers here.

Netflix likely to charge S$11 per month for Internet TV service here

A person uses Netflix in Palo Alto, California. AP file photo

SINGAPORE — Ahead of its Singapore launch early next year, popular TV and movie streaming website Netflix is in talks with telcos here to discuss ways to cooperate, and has also confirmed that it will likely set a pricing of US$8 (S$11.16) per month for consumers here.

Speaking to reporters today (Oct 27), Netflix chief communications officer Jonathan Friedland noted that this price point is the same as what it is currently charging in the United States. “In the US, we are cheaper than (American premium cable and satellite television net-work) HBO. So, we are likely to keep this price going,” he said.

On the content that is going to be available to Singapore consumers, Mr Friedland said that all exclusive content produced by Netflix will be available in Singapore, while other non-exclusive TV shows and movies will depend on licensing issues in Singapore. Exclusive Netflix content include the Marvel TV adaption Daredevil, and crime drama series Narcos.

“We are also going to have a much bigger selection of Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese drama in this part of the world. We have to learn what people really want, and curate the selection. We’re trying to have different things for different people, and create a really rich portfolio of content,” he said.

Mr Friedland let on that Netflix executives have met up with the Media Development Authority to talk about “expectations” about content and broadcast standards.

He also said they have met up with telcos Singtel and StarHub on “possible forms of cooperation”. While Mr Friedland did not elaborate on what that cooperation might be, he said that Netflix has, in other countries, arranged to have their charges billed through telcos. Another tie-up was to offer access to Netflix through the telcos’ set-top boxes.

Singtel confirmed that it was in discussions with Netflix, but did not provide additional details. “Discussions are still preliminary but we are always keen to bring new TV con-tent to customers and would see how to collaborate with Netflix to meet customers’ varied content interests,” said Ms Lian Pek, Vice President of Group Corporate Communications.

At StarHub, a spokesperson said that it is “always keen to explore partnerships which deliver value to our customers”. Netflix will also open an office in Singapore in the coming months and make it the hub for its expanding operations in Asia.

Today, Mr Friedland said the office here will need to fill positions in network engi-neering, business development, marketing and public relations. But, it is likely to be a small team, with most of its employees still based in California. He is optimistic about the market in Singapore, noting: “The population here is wealthy, Internet savvy, with nearly 60 per cent of households subscribing to Pay TV.”

While Mr Friedland could not give target numbers for the number of subscribers the service hopes to draw, he said that on average, it takes seven years to get one-third of households that are connected to broadband Internet, to subscribe.

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