Our TV Licence Story

When I was ‘digging’ some old archives at my parents home at Haig Rd during the MUP (Major or Main Upgrading Programme) last month, I found my parents TV licence. Here is a little story of the TV licence and our TV licence history.

In most countries, a TV Licence is required for the reception of television broadcasts. It is a form of tax revenue to fund public broadcasting, thus allowing public broadcasters to transmit programmes without commercials. Though Mediacorp is not a public broadcaster, we still need to pay our TV Licence. Yes, it’s S$110 annual licence fee and still plenty of TV commercials to watch. Don’t ask me why, as they have explained before – just take it or leave it hehe.

I think my father got the TV licence for our home at Haig Road in the 70s, since we shifted in to our new home then in around 1976/77. Below is my father’s TV licence in 1977;

Note the TV licence fee in 1977 was $36 then. If I did not remember wrongly, ours was the Black and White TV (Monochrome) and as you can see from the above notice, there was only one flat fee for TV licence then. So maybe Color TV still not available yet. Also note the IRA (Inland Revenue Authority) at Fullerton Building was the collecting agent for the TV licence then.

See the changes in about 10 years later (1985);

This time the envelope containing the TV licence had the SBC (Singapore Broadcasting Corporation) logo.

Of course by then, we finally got our color TV and the fee was $80 for the color TV licence.

Note some changes above. They have separate TV licence fee for Monochrome ($36) and Color ($80) TV licence. The collecting agent seems to have changed to SBC (Radio and Television Licensing Unit at the Cuppage Centre.

Again a few years later (see the envelope in 1988), the collecting agent again changed back to IRA;

Finally I got my new home at Tampines in 1993. So I need to apply for my own TV licence in 1994. SBA (Singapore Broadcasting Authority) was already formed then and my application for licence was to SBA;

Let’s take a look at the licence in 1996;

The fee for Monochrome TV licence was $40 while that of Color TV licence was $110. So in the 90s, there was still a need to split between Monochrome and Color TV licence, probably still some are using Monochrome in the 90s.

I remember sometime in 1998, the TV licence was collected together with my property tax by the IRA (by GIRO instalment);

And in 2006, the MDA (Media Development Authority) took over the TV licence;

Of course now the envelope for the TV licence also change;

And here is a little infos from them;

So now you know why don’t ask me why TV licence is needed in Singapore….hehe

Frankly until now, I’m wondering if IRA is still the collecting agent for the TV licence all the while and has not changed at all. I’m not too sure…

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9 Responses to “Our TV Licence Story”


  1. 1 passerby Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    I think you forgot to hide the names in one of the pictures…

  2. 2 interested person Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    Hey, i’ve been viewing ur website for quite some time and I like it a lot =) Keep up the good work!

    Anyway, this post really interest me. It seems that we still are paying TV licence as MediaCorp is technically state-owned, being owned by Temasek Holdings which is a government investment company? Correct me if i’m wrong

  3. 3 laokokok Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 7:22 am

    Thank you very much Passerby, corrected it already hehe.

  4. 4 laokokok Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 7:27 am

    Hi Interested person, glad that you like my blog here, thank you.

  5. 5 Kimology Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 12:52 am

    My Dad used to bring back large envelopes from his work place with the words, ‘On Her Majesty’s Service’ on them. Then at some stage these became ‘On Government Service’. Your blog really jog my memories of these forgotten things. Thanks.

  6. 6 laokokok Monday, November 30, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Yes I remember those ‘On Her Majesty’s Service’ envelopes too.

  7. 7 Yusof Friday, February 18, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Now, most of the handphones can receive radio and tv signals must it also require to apply for the licence?

  8. 8 Joy Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    thank you so much for the history on TV radio licences !
    So informative for my assignment ! 🙂

  9. 9 make money from home Sunday, July 31, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Great post. I used to be checking constantly this
    blog and I am impressed! Extremely useful info particularly the final section 🙂 I handle such info
    a lot. I used to be seeking this particular information for a very lengthy
    time. Thank you and best of luck.


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