In the war of grabbing and retaining eyeballs, content providers and producers are constantly trying to up their game and offer more and better options than their competitors.
Singaporeans are therefore spoilt for choice when it comes to content, and how they choose to consume it.
While Singtel and Starhub provide a large range of channels for a monthly subscription fee (starting from over $20 a month), the recent news that their Pay-TV might see an axing of 20 popular channels distributed by Fox Networks Group (FNG) due to contract issues means that current subscribers might need to turn to alternatives for entertainment.
Said communications consultant Gregory Cheong, who loves Fox’s movie channels, “It’s disheartening that we’re always having to concern ourselves with what we’re able to watch even though we’ve signed up for a package.”
This is where disruptors Netflix, Viu and Catchplay could potentially fill up those gaps.
What’s more, their users can not only watch the available shows on television, but on mobile as well – which could prove to be highly attractive, since Singapore is known to have one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world.
It’s also not uncommon to see Singaporeans of all ages glued onto their mobile phones (no, not only for Pokemon GO) watching dramas or variety shows while on their way to the daily grind.
Netflix, Viu Or CatchPlay?
The problem for consumers now is not that they don’t have options – but they just have too many, and going through all the plans and features can be tedious.
Thus, for yours (and our) sake, we’ve compiled a table comparing the three:
|Launched in Singapore||7 January 2016||11 January 2016||16 August 2016|
|Country of Origin||United States||Hong Kong||Taiwan|
|Drama Series Available?||Yes; mostly English dramas and original content produced by Netflix||Yes; Korean and Japanese dramas along with popular Korean variety shows||No; their focus is on movies|
|Available on Mobile?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Special Features||English and Chinese subtitles||English and Chinese subtitles; unlimited downloads to watch offline||English and Chinese subtitles; pick off where you stopped on different devices|
|How Much?||Free for one month; subsequently $10.98 (Basic), $13.98 (Standard) and $16.98 (Premium) per month||Free for one week; subsequently $5.98 per month (via app); From $4.90 per month with Singtel contract||$12.90 per month (1 latest movie + unlimited use of library) OR $3.50/$6 per movie|
|Who Is It For? What Are Some Limitations?||The jiak kantang who loves watching English shows and Netflix’s unique content. However, the limited content as compared to the US counterpart might be off-putting.||The K-drama fanatic who needs to get his/her fix – also for middle-aged housewives. However, some might already be getting their videos free from streaming sites, some of which offer downloads as well.||The movie buff who wants nothing but to indulge in movies. However, streaming and torrent sites are still hugely popular among many, so paying for a movie might not be an option for some.|
When it comes down to the crunch, there’s no one service which is better than the other – it all depends on your tastes and preferences. As similar as the services seem, they’re actually very varied in scope and cater to different crowds.
But what about those (like myself) who wants to be able to watch the content that all three offer?
Pay-TV does provide offerings across the three categories, but with the potential axing, subscribers’ choices would be limited – unless they bring in new channels.
Personally, I grew up on cable television, and I still remember the time when I was enjoying the wonderful offerings from all over the world by simply sitting in front of my television. Therefore, it’s definitely sad to see our local Pay-TV encountering such bumps.
The verdict is yet to be out, but if the three disruptors we’ve compared fit your needs better, there’s no harm trying them out.