The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) are collaborating to develop the Digital Cinema industry in Singapore, riding on the combined strengths of both agencies. IDA's efforts in building capabilities and capacity in processing, management and distribution of digital content complements MDA's efforts in nurturing content development. Together, both agencies will ensure a complete pull-through from content creation to exhibition in the Digital Cinema space.
Digital Cinema heralds a new era for the cinema industry. Digital Cinema is about the digital transformation of today's celluloid film-based distribution and exhibition systems. This transformation is considered to be the most significant technological advancement in the cinema industry since the advent of digital sound. It opens up many new possibilities - greater variety of content, lower cost of distribution and exhibition of better quality. In turn, this will open doors to greater business opportunities for the local Infocomm and Media industry, and potentially create up to 5,0001 jobs over the next three years in areas such as post-production and infrastructural support.
IDA and the MDA recognise that globally, important changes are underway in the cinema distribution market due to the ability of Infocomm and Media technologies to move and manage content in bits and bytes. This emerging digital delivery will change the manner in which businesses deliver movies and entertainment to audiences worldwide, and how consumers experience movie-watching in cinemas. For instance, movie-distributors can save on reel duplication costs as well as encrypt digital content to ensure greater security and prevent piracy. Movie-goers can also enjoy the latest block-bluster movies with simultaneous releases or the transmission of 'live' concerts from other countries. In view of the significant impact that Infocomm technology will have on the cinema industry and the significant2growth potential, IDA and the MDA are therefore taking the lead to develop the Digital Cinema industry and to stake Singapore's position as an early-mover in the digital space.
Taking the first step to develop Singapore's Digital Cinema industry is the IDA-MDA collaboration with Eng Wah Organization to turn 20 of its cinema screens digital, and installing another outdoor screen at the Legends Fort Canning Park over the next one year. IDA and the MDA are supporting Eng Wah's Digital Cinema roll-out in the areas of equipping these 21 screens with leading edge digital equipment, fibre and satellite connectivity as well as manpower capability development.
Speaking at the launch of Eng Wah Organization's digital cinema deployment, IDA Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Tan Ching Yee, said, "The application of Infocomm technology in entertainment promises significant cost-savings, new economic activities and jobs, and a superior movie-going experience. Singapore is now a step closer in our quest to be a leading global Digital Exchange where not just capital, people and ideas but also digital assets come together. Through this, IDA targets to increase the value of digital transactions through Singapore from the current S$150million to S$500million by 2006."
Mr. Lim Hock Chuan, the Chief Executive Officer of the MDA said, "The MDA is excited by the potential and prospects of digital media. We are happy to support Eng Wah as it takes the step in converting its cinema screens to digital cinema. We believe that digital cinema will take off in a big way as more filmmakers and cinema operators adopt the technology. This will in turn make the transmission and screening of movies, advertisements, trailers and other digital content such as concerts and sports events in cinemas possible. Deploying digital media is a strategy under the MDA's Media 21 strategy to develop Singapore into a vibrant global media city. The initiative announced today brings us a step closer towards that vision."
Commenting on the launch, Ms. Goh Min Yen, Managing Director, Eng Wah Organization Ltd., said, "As the only publicly-listed movie exhibitor and distributor, Eng Wah has always been keen to venture into higher value-added areas, where cinema technology is concerned, to enhance shareholder value. The impact of efficiencies and savings from Digital Cinema to our cinema operations, on top of the enhanced cinema experience, will be significant. We are indeed proud to partner IDA and the MDA on this far-sighted initiative. The value-add to the media industry and the opportunities to create knowledge- and technology-driven niche industries in Singapore will be immense."
"We applaud the forward thinking vision of both IDA and the MDA in strongly supporting this Digital Cinema initiative," said Mr. Sjoerd De Clerck, Managing Director of Barco Digital Cinema. "This further enhances the leading technology role Singapore already enjoys in the region and therefore we are proud to be associated with this initiative as well as with Eng Wah Organization who once again show a tremendous enthusiasm to invest in technology to enhance productivity and Customer Service for the benefit of the movie going patron", he continued.
Dr Chong Man Nang, GDC Technology CEO said, "Singapore has chosen the best time to develop the Digital Cinema industry. The recent announcement from DCI on the studios' consensus to adopt the 2K and 4K specifications for projectors and servers for Multiplex are indications of the growing maturity of Digital Cinema technologies. We are pleased to supply Eng Wah Organization the most advanced GDC Technology's real-time Cineplex Central Server that can help schedule any movies to playback on any screens, hence maximizing the revenue from all category of movies. This would be the world's first full Digital Cinema Multiplex's installation. GDC Technology seeks to establish a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship with Eng Wah Organization, IDA and the MDA, and provide Singapore with the most advanced products and services she needs to help her grow and compete in the era of digital entertainment."
The IDA-MDA collaboration with Eng Wah is an exciting first step that will stimulate S$9 million in industry spending over the next one year and trigger demand for equipment purchase and supporting services such as digital content processing, storage, management and distribution. It will also bring about manpower training to upgrade the skills set of the industry. This Digital Cinema deployment will position Singapore as a leader in Digital Cinema in Asia.
JOINTLY ISSUED BY THE INFOCOMM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE AND THE MEDIA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE
Notes to Editor:
1 The 5,000 job figure is based on a joint IDA-MDA consultancy study, 'Digital Cinema. Global and Regional Implementation', Feb 2003
2According to the Informa Media Group, global box office figures are expected to rise 21 per cent between 2002 and 2010 to US$24billion
About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is a dynamic organisation with an integrated perspective to developing, promoting and regulating info-communications in Singapore. In the fast-changing and converging spheres of telecommunications, information and media technologies, IDA will be the catalyst for change and growth in Singapore's evolution into a vibrant global info-communications technology centre. For more information, visit www.idanews.gov.sg
About the Media Development Authority
The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) was formed on 1 January 2003 to develop Singapore into a vibrant global media city, in effect fostering a creative economy and a connected society. The agency's Media 21 strategy aims to create a vibrant environment for the industry and public, via five key thrusts: to establish Singapore as a media exchange;to export 'Made-by-Singapore' content;to internationalise local media companies;to nurture local media talents;and to develop digital media.
About Eng Wah Organization
Founded in the 1940s in post-war Singapore, the Eng Wah Group is the first cinema operator to be publicly-listed in the Stock Exchange of Singapore (SGX). The Group is a leading film exhibitor and distributor with 29 strategically located cinema screen halls with a capacity of over 6,700 seats. The Group's leisure and lifestyle entertainment investments and services include the management of modern entertainment complexes that offer modern multiple screen halls, amusement arcades, restaurants and lifestyle retail stores. The Group earned an annual sales turnover of S$20.9 million in FY 2003 and employs 140 staff.
Barco, an international company headquartered in Kortrijk, Belgium, is active in three key areas of imaging technology. Barco designs and develops solutions for large screen visualization, display solutions for life-critical applications, and systems for visual inspection. Barco has a network of subsidiaries, distributors and agents in almost 100 countries. Barco is quoted on Brussels/Euronext and is a BEL 20 and a Next 150 company. Http : www.barco.com/projection_systems
About GDC Technology Limited
GDC Technology Private Limited is a subsidiary of the Hong Kong Public Listed Company - Global Digital Creations Holdings Limited. GDC Technology pioneers digital post-production, delivery and presentation technologies. Known for its commitment to innovative engineering work, quality products and state-of-the-art technology, GDC Technology offers solutions on film transfer, post-production, delivery and presentation of digital content. For more information on GDC Technology, visit www.gdc-tech.com