Speaking at the first VidCon Asia Summit in Singapore, Singtel International CEO Arthur Lang said: “Singtel should think of changing its name.” His suggestion came on the back of the fact that 75% of the company’s business comes from outside of Singapore and that data services and content formed a growing chunk of its revenues.
In a conversation with VidCon general manager Jim Louderback, Lang said: “We have transformed from a telecom company to so much more. We may have a traditional background but it does not change the fact that we have to engage our customers every day, provide them more content, and make them part of an ecosystem”
The goal was to get 50% of revenue from non-telecom sources in three years, he said. Lang identified esports as having huge potential, not just in Singapore but across the region. He highlighted Singtel’s recently announced PVP Esports Awards created in partnership with the Singapore Esports Association to honour the city state’s best gamers.
He said that Singtel had even organised a corporate esports leagues with participants from Infocomm Media Development Authority, the police force and the Ministry of Education which was ultimately won by a team from Deloitte.
Lang said: “We have a huge customer base of 600 million worldwide with 72% below 35 and two-thirds who play games on a weekly basis – we know that because we have all the data.”
He however was clear that esports should not become too overt a branding opportunity and said: “We cannot have Singtel all over. PVP Esports does not have the Singtel brand displayed – we would rather focus on what customers want and play a meaningful role. We may not own that ecosystem but want to be part of it. As long as you are authentic, the people will get it.”
However, Singtel was going to pick its battles carefully. Lang said: “We are clear about what we are good at and what we aren’t. We always ask if we should build or partner. Having the Singtel name card is amazing and opens doors.”
Recalling a conversation with Nas Daily founder Nuseir Yassin on whether Singtel was creating content, Lang said: “We don’t have that talent and DNA but that is where we can work together with our strengths and other people’s strengths.”
He pointed to a good content partner ecosystem in countries like Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines and that Singtel was thinking of bringing them together on a regional platform.
He said: “We want to think of this in terms of ASEAN. There are a lot of synergies. Singapore has fantastic talent but at the end of the day, we have to accept that we are a small market. It is exciting leveraging on the skills of the entire region.”
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