Television in Singapore

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Television in Singapore began on 15 February 1963.[1] The public broadcaster, MediaCorp TV, has a monopoly on terrestrial television channels and is fully owned by government holding company Temasek Holdings. Local pay TV operators are StarHub and SingTel Mio TV. The private ownership of satellite dishes is banned.

Singapore households have a high rate of TV penetration. From an estimated 7,000 TV sets nationwide in April 1963,[2] there were about 200,000 TV sets by December 1972.[3]

History[edit]

Television Singapura/Radio and Television Singapore (1963-1980)[edit]

At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, 15 February 1963, a pilot television broadcasting service began in Singapore with a broadcast that lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes. After the image of the state flag and the playing of the national anthem, Majulah Singapura, the Minister for Culture S. Rajaratnam became the first person to appear on Singapore TV, announcing that "Tonight might well mark the start of a social and cultural revolution in our lives." Following his speech, the first programme televised in Singapore was a 15-minute documentary produced by Television Singapura called TV Looks at Singapore. It was followed by two cartoons, a news report and newsreel, a comedy show and a local variety show.[1]

At the time, it was estimated that only one in 58 persons in Singapore owned a TV set,[4] and the pilot service offered only one hour of broadcasting per day on Channel 5 (now known as MediaCorp Channel 5).[5] On 2 April 1963, President Yusof Ishak officially inaugurated the regular service of Television Singapura. It started off broadcasting from 7.15 pm to 11.15 pm everyday, showing programmes in Singapore's four official languages (English, Mandarin [including other Chinese dialects], Malay and Tamil).[5] On 23 November 1963, a second channel, Channel 8 (now known as MediaCorp Channel 8) was inaugurated. It took over Chinese and Tamil programming, while English and Malay programming remained on Channel 5. From 31 January 1967, Channel 8 also became home to the Educational Television Service, which showed TV programmes produced by the Ministry of Education on school subjects at different educational levels and in different languages,[4] in which they later transferred them to Channel 12 in 1993.

On 7 July 1974, colour TV made its debut in Singapore when the World Cup soccer final match between West Germany and Holland was broadcast ‘live’ and in colour.[6] The broadcast was hosted by Brian Richmond. About 2,000 colour TV sets were sold in Singapore three days before the match.[7]

From 1 July 1978, in line with the introduction of the Singapore government's Speak Mandarin Campaign, skits and advertisements on TV no longer used Chinese dialects. In November, the Hong Kong drama Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre (倚天屠龙记 or Yee Tin To Long Kei) became the first programme in Chinese dialect to be dubbed in Mandarin before being broadcast in Singapore.[8]

Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (1980-1994)[edit]

With effect from 1 February 1980, Radio and Television Singapore, which was under the Ministry of Culture, was partially privatised by an Act of Parliament and was launched as Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). It retained a virtual monopoly on television programming in Singapore.[9] In 1983, it introduced SBCText, a teletext service providing regularly updated information on the news, weather, travel, sports, shopping, leisure and entertainment.[10] In 1984, it added a third free-to-air TV channel, Channel 12, which would focus on serious, “heavy” cultural and educational programming.[11]

On 27 February 1988, SBC held its first Star Search competition to bring new faces into the broadcast entertainment industry. Zoe Tay won the first competition and went on to become one of the biggest television celebrities in Singapore. On 26 February 1994, SBC held the first Star Awards ceremony (红星大奖) to recognise Singapore’s television talents. In that first year, the only awards given out were ten Most Popular Male and Female Artistes awards and the Most Popular Newcomer award.

Television Corporation of Singapore/MediaCorp (1994-present)[edit]

On 1 October 1994, SBC was privatised, and the Singapore International Media group of companies was formed in its place. This included Television Corporation of Singapore (TCS), Radio Corporation of Singapore (RCS) and Singapore Television Twelve (STV12).[12] From September 1995, TCS's Channels 5 and 8 began offering 24-hour transmission of English and Mandarin programmes respectively, while Channel 12 was relaunched as Prime 12, for Malay, Tamil and Foreign-language programming, and Premiere 12, for arts, children’s and sports programming.

On 1 March 1999, Channel NewsAsia was launched as Singapore's first dedicated news channel. It was broadcast first regionally, then from 2001 internationally. In September 1999, TCS underwent a corporate restructuring and became Media Corporation of Singapore or MediaCorp Singapore.

On 30 January 2000, MediaCorp launched the channel Suria (which means “sun” or “sunlight” in Malay), replacing Prime 12 as a dedicated channel for Malay programmes. Premiere 12 was replaced by the channel Central, and had three distinctive programming belts to cater to different audiences: Kids Central, Arts Central and Vasantham Central, which showed Tamil programmes.

In 2001, the Singapore government allowed Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) to offer competition in the television broadcasting sector. SPH created a subsidiary SPH MediaWorks, which began operating on 6 May 2001 with two free-to-air channels, TVWorks (later renamed Channel i) and Channel U, with English and Chinese programming respectively.

The competition between SPH MediaWorks and MediaCorp proved to be commercially unviable. In late 2004, MediaCorp and SPH agreed to merge their mass-market television and free newspaper operations. MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd was formed as a result, which comprises MediaCorp Studios and all TV channels operated by both companies except Channel i, which ceased transmission on 1 January 2005.[13]

On 19 October 2008, Vasantham Central expanded to become a full-fledged free-to-air channel, Vasantham (Vasantham means “spring” in Tamil). 75 per cent of the programming on Vasantham was to be in Tamil, with the other 25 per cent in other South Asian languages. On the same day, Arts and Kids Central programmes were spun off to another new channel, okto.

Cable television[edit]

In 1992, Singapore’s first pay TV company, Singapore Cable Vision (SCV), began offering news and entertainment channels, while progressively rolling out the construction of its cable TV network across Singapore. The network was completed in 1999. SCV had about 1,500 subscribers in 1992 and expanded to over 265,000 subscribers by April 2001.[14] On 1 October 2002, Singapore Cable Vision merged with Singapore telecommunications company Starhub to create StarHub Cable Vision, a pay TV service with more than 40 international channels of news, movies, entertainment, sports, music and education.[15] The service has been known as StarHub TV since 2007.

On 20 July 2007, telecommunications provider SingTel began offering a digital pay TV service, mio TV, through its broadband network. The Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) had 26 channels, including on-demand channels.[16]

Around 80% of households in Singapore are connected to the StarHub network. The remaining 20% have mio TV only or no cable TV at home.

Free-to-air terrestrial television stations[edit]

MediaCorp[edit]

MediaCorp channels[edit]

  • Channel 5 (SDTV; VHF 5 from Starhub Cable Point and ATT, also DVB-T)
  • Channel 8 (SDTV; VHF 8 from Starhub Cable Point and ATT, also DVB-T)
  • Channel U (SDTV; UHF 28 from Starhub Cable Point and ATT, also DVB-T)
  • Channel NewsAsia (SDTV; UHF 32 from Starhub Cable Point and ATT, also DVB-T)
  • HD5 (HSDTV; UHF 607.25 MHz from DVB-T)

MediaCorp TV12 channels[edit]

  • okto [a] (SDTV; UHF 30 from ATT, UHF 25 from Starhub Cable Point, also DVB-T)
  • Vasantham [b] (SDTV; UHF 24 from Starhub Cable Point and ATT, also DVB-T)
  • Suria (SDTV; VHF 12 from Starhub Cable Point and ATT, also DVB-T)
Notes

a. ^ replacing TV12 Kids Central and TV12 Arts Central owner by TV12 Central and SPH Channel i onwer by SPH MediaWorks
b. ^ replacing TV12 Vasantham Central formerly by MediaCorp TV12 Central

StarHub[edit]

Defunct channels[edit]

1 January 2005[edit]

  • SPH Channel i (UHF 543.25 MHz from SCTV point to antenna and DVB-T)

20 October 2008[edit]

1 January 2010[edit]

Stations From Neighbouring Countries[edit]

Due to Singapore size and proximity to Malaysia and Indonesia, Singaporeans, especially those very close to those countries' respective borders are able to enjoy a variety of TV programmes from the following neighbouring countries which are broadcasting on UHF bands:

Television Channels From Malaysia[edit]

Television Channels From Indonesia[edit]

Viewers farther away from the Indonesia or Malaysia border usually require higher-quality equipment to receive the signals. In spite of this however, only RTM TV1 (TV1) onwer by Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) and TVRI Siaran Nasional (TVRI Nasional) are carried on StarHub TV.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Yong, Judy (16 February 1963). "Raja: This could be start of a cultural, social revolution". The Straits Times. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "7,000 Singapore homes now have TV sets". The Straits Times. 2 April 1963. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "Automatic controls add to pleasure of television viewing". The Straits Times. 3 December 1972. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "10 eventful years for TV Singapore". The Straits Times. 1 April 1973. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Lim, Kit Siang (2 April 1963). "Tele comes of age". The Straits Times. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Colour TV power". The Straits Times. 3 August 1974. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Loh, Amelia (director). We Made the News. Channel NewsAsia, 2013. Broadcast on Channel NewsAsia on 25 August 2013. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/tv/tvshows/wemadethenews.
  8. ^ "看过"倚天屠龙记"多名电视观众 认为粤语电视剧配华语失去亲切感". 星洲日报 (Sin Chew Jit Poh). 1 November 1979. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  9. ^ Mahbubani, Gretchen (26 March 1980). "High hopes and old problems for the new station". The Straits Times. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  10. ^ Miller, Ray (2 October 1984). "Expansion for SBCText with rising popularity". Singapore Monitor. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  11. ^ Goh, Pauline (5 August 1983). "Singaporeans can tune in to Channel 12 in Feb '84". Singapore Monitor. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Ong, Catherine (1 October 1994). "SBC fades to grey as scene opens on television's new era". The Business Times. 
  13. ^ Koh, Joyce (8 December 2004). "SPH, MediaCorp to retrench 204 staff, absorb 297". The Business Times. 
  14. ^ StarHub Pte Ltd and Singapore Cable Vision Ltd. "StarHub And SCV In Discussion On Possibility Of Merger" (press release). 30 April 2001. http://www.starhub.com/about-us/newsroom/2001/april/30042001_starhubandscvindiscussiononpossibilityofmerger.html. Accessed 19 January 2014.
  15. ^ "StarHub Strengthens Brand Identity with New Product Names" (press release). 26 September 2002. http://www.starhub.com/about-us/newsroom/2002/september/26092002_starhubstrengthensbrandidentitywithnewproductnames.html. Accessed 19 January 2014.
  16. ^ "SingTel to revolutionise home entertainment with the launch of mio TV" (press release). 20 July 2007. http://info.singtel.com/about-us/news-releases/singtel-revolutionise-home-entertainment-launch-mio-tv. Accessed 19 January 2014.
  17. ^ StarHub works with SSC to increase local sports content

External links[edit]