Singapore, 4 June 2003 - Singapore's SARS Channel has reached out to about half a million viewers* within two weeks of its launch.  The SARS Channel, a joint effort of StarHub, MediaCorp and SPH to inform and educate the public on SARS, was officially launched by Mr Wong Kan Seng, Minister for Home Affairs and Chairman of the Ministerial Committee on SARS, on 21 May 2003 evening.


All SARS-related programmes that have been aired on MediaCorp TV and SPH MediaWorks channels are rebroadcast on the SARS Channel.  This gives the public, especially those who have missed the earlier telecasts, an opportunity to watch these programmes again.  The channel also airs fillers, educational messages and the latest information and updates on SARS.


Viewers can also expect some SARS-related programmes from selected StarHub CableTV's foreign channel partners, as well as programmes from other well-known international channels.  These give local viewers insights into how other countries are handling the SARS outbreak.


SARS-related programmes by StarHub CableTV channels Discovery Channel (Ch 12), STAR World (Ch 18), TVBJ (Ch 48), Phoenix Chinese Channel (Ch 50) and TVB8 (Ch 53) have been scheduled for telecast on SARS Channel.  Among the line-up are English programmes Science Of SARS and Focus Asia; Chinese programmes Tributes To The SARS Heroes and All In Action Against SARS; and Cantonese programmes Turn Against Adversity and Prevention Against Atypical Pneumonia.


Besides the free-to-air and cable TV programmes, the SARS Channel also carries programmes that have never been aired on local television.  Programmes such as Health Dimension - SARS from Australia's ABC-Asia Pacific and the Public TV Speaking Hall series from Taiwan's Public TV Service (PTS) are being televised on the channel. 


The SARS Channel is a multilingual channel.  While many of its programmes are in English, there are also some in Chinese, Malay and Tamil.  However, as content on the SARS Channel is dependant on the availability of SARS-related programmes that are produced in the different languages, viewers may notice a higher percentage of English and Chinese programmes as compared to those in Malay and Tamil.


The SARS Channel takes the frequency of StarHub CableTV's Preview Channel, which is a non-encrypted channel that can be accessed by all households with cable points, whether they are subscribers or non-subscribers of StarHub CableTV.  More than 95 percent of local households have at least one cable point in their homes.


StarHub CableTV subscribers can view the SARS Channel on Channel 01. Non-subscribers can manually tune their TV sets to Band I/ VHF L/ CH 4/ 62.25Mhz.

A hotline was specially set up for local viewers who require assistance to tune in to the channel. The SARS Channel Hotline, at 1800-PREVIEW or 1800-7738439, was originally intended to operate from 16 to 27 May 2003.  However, as the number of calls made daily to the hotline is still high, the hotline will be extended till 6 June 2003.  The line is open from 6pm to 10pm daily.



*According to Nielsen Media Research and TNS, Total Population Aged Four and Above



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