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MediaCorp finally launches OTT service

Close to two years after it first announced its Over-The-Top service that will digitise and allow consumers more interactivity online with its content, MediaCorp has finally launched Toggle today.

Toggle’s official website went live today with a MediaCorp spokesperson saying the earlier version was merely a beta site.

Toggle’s over-the-top service offers its content to viewers online, on smart phones, tablets and smart TV. Viewers can subscribe to their favourite channels and movies for free. It allows viewers to watch the next five episodes of its programmes on Toggle-It-First before that screens on TV.

While the industry was highly optimistic when the development was first announced in May 2011, with some calling the move a long overdue one, the actual launch took close to another two years to take place.

With the likes of SingTel and StarHub well in the interactive and On-Demand video space, will MediaCorp’s late arrival to the party cost it competitive advantage?

Jim Goh, chief executive officer, Briq Communications said speed to market, especially in a technologically-driven space would undoubtedly provide competitive advantage. However, there remains much potential for growth with the service.

“With an increasing adaptation rate of more than 20% for interactive TVs in Singapore, coupled with 78% home internet penetration, the demand for services such as Toggle will only increase.

However, the success of subscribing to these services will depend on the content offered and the value one gets vis-a-vis current internet downloads/streaming, and what StarHub and Mio provide,” Goh said.

“In a nutshell, no, MediaCorp is not too late in the game if they have the content and attractive deals for customers to opt for their set up box. The demand turn point is not steep yet so, the opportunity is still open – new sign ups, and taking share from Starhub and Mio.” Goh added.

As for additional revenue streams, MediaCorp could have another revenue generator in Toggle as it partners with online publishers and portals.

Sony Wong, CEO, Omnicom Media Group said the launch would not only be another revenue source for MediaCorp, (which it will in terms of capturing lost advertising dollars from the currently cable operators by giving advertisers another attractive option) but also help to elevate the quality, variety and interactivity of MediaCorp’s offering to audiences and the advertising community.

“Consumers are increasingly using connected devices both as companion devices and as second screens, and so we made a strategic decision to make Toggle not only a direct way for them to watch MediaCorp content anytime and anywhere, but also a gateway to a brand new TV experience,” said Philip Koh, managing director, Convergent Media Division, MediaCorp.

Toggle viewers can choose to buy content on an a la carte basis, without having to subscribe to a basic bundle of programmes beforehand. Also, some of MediaCorp’s channels will be wholly available online, unlike other video on demand services, said the spokesperson.

Registered users can get local content free of charge, subject to rights availability. These include programmes from the Free-to-air channels (for example Channel 8, Channel 5, Suria, Vasantham). ChannelNewsAsia will be available online.

By mid-2013, MediaCorp aims to offer local content to Singaporeans residing overseas.

The service is powered by Israel-based developer Tvinci, which allows rights protected content across iOS, Android and Windows devices.

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