Dated: 16 April 2008
Singapore is establishing itself as the region’s hub for media businesses and the financing, making and trading of media content and services. Riding on the global trend of media convergence, it has leveraged its excellent infrastructure and pool of IT talents to emerge as a centre for the creation, management and distribution of interactive digital media (IDM).
A joint press briefing by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) and the Media Development Authority (MDA), today highlighted three key developments that have propelled the media sector forward: a vibrant business environment that promotes the growth of local and international media enterprises, rising global demand for original and multiplatform content developed from Singapore;and increased activities in the creation, management and distribution of digital content and technologies out of Singapore.
1. Powering the growth of world-class media companies
A conducive business environment buttressed by a highly-skilled labour force, robust intellectual property regime, pro-business regulatory framework and quality of life, has drawn an increasing number of international media brands to Singapore. It is estimated that international projects secured by EDB from 2005 to date, would generate over 1,600 jobs when fully realised. In all, the size of the media sector stood at over S$18.2 billion in revenue, employing more than 53,000 people and contributing S$4.9 billion in value-added.
On the publishing front, Singapore’s strength in education and science has attracted four of the top five STM (Scientific, Technical and Medical) global publishers –Elsevier, Taylor Francis, Wiley-Blackwell and SAGE Publications –to Singapore. One of the world’s favourite leisure titles, Reader’s Digest, and leading in-flight magazine publisher Ink Publishing, also have their regional headquarters in Singapore.
Starting from the 1990s, EDB’s efforts to attract broadcasters have helped anchor a strong base of international cable and satellite networks in Singapore, with BBC Worldwide and AETN as recent additions to our landscape. There are now 16 of such networks uplinking their channels from Singapore to their regional audiences. In addition, networks such as CNBC Asia Pacific and ESPN Star Sports have also grown their businesses in Singapore. They have extended the production and reach of their content from the traditional television platform to interactive platforms such as mobile and the Internet.
International companies have also uncovered new opportunities for growth. In 2007, United States-based Mark Burnett Productions partnered Singapore’s Imagine OmniMedia to produce the AXN reality series The Contender Asia, which was filmed entirely in Singapore and post-produced by local company Infinite Frameworks. Mark Burnett Productions went on to partner Asian gaming and entertainment outfit, Genting International, in a US$20-million venture to develop, produce and distribute reality content and game shows for Asia.
In line with the country’s strategic thrust into IDM, Singapore has seen an influx of international IDM companies such as Lucasfilm, Electronic Arts, and Southern Star. The activities carried out here include headquarters, business development, research and development, and game development. Some notable highlights include:
• Lucasfilm’s 3D animation studio here is its first outside of the United States, and
hires from over 30 countries, creating a vibrant community of creative minds.
Besides animation, the studio also undertakes game development and visual
effects work for Hollywood blockbusters.
• KOEI Entertainment Singapore recently released its MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer
Online Role-playing Game) Romance of the Three Kingdoms Online in Japan. The
game was developed in Singapore.
• Ubisoft, Europe's largest game developer and publisher, recently announced the
opening of its first Southeast Asia games studio in Singapore. When the studio
reaches full capacity, it will be the region’s largest games studio.
These projects are testament to Singapore’s attractiveness as the region’s hub for IDM companies, and more related announcements are expected in the next few months.
The growth of media enterprises has been facilitated by the maturing of the media financing system in Singapore. There is currently over S$500 million worth of media funds available for media projects and companies, as a result of private capital injected by banks, financial institutions and strategic investors. At the same time, ancillary businesses such as talent management and executive production company RGM Entertainment, and consultancy firm Pembridge Asia, are establishing or have established their regional headquarters in the country. The joint effect of these developments is a healthy business ecosystem that is attracting world-class media projects and talents to Singapore.
2. Global demand for Singapore’s original and multiplatform content
From just serving the needs of local audiences five years ago, Made-by-Singapore content nowadays can be found entertaining audiences across the globe in over 50 countries, including the United States, Germany, New Zealand and China. Driving this outcome is a content strategy that encourages co-productions with leading international players to facilitate access to worldwide markets, as well as skills and knowledge transfer.
From fee-for-service types of companies, Singapore companies are now owning partial or full rights to the content they produce, and penetrating the global market on the back of international co-productions. They are also increasingly being sought after as collaboration partners as evidenced by the increasing value of deals sealed. From 2003 to 2007, MDA seeded around S$190 million worth of co-production deals.
The latest is an agreement between MDA and leading British distributor FremantleMedia Enterprise (FME) to jointly invest in multi-media projects from Singapore-based producers, with FME holding the distribution rights around the world. Announced at MIPTV, the leading audiovisual and content market in Cannes, France, the projects are set to generate US$12 million over the next two years and aim to create commercially branded, multiplatform Made-by-Singapore content that will be enjoyed by global audiences.
One well-travelled title is television series HD factual programme Little Big Dreams (Threesixzero Productions), which had been sold to broadcasters in Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark and the United Kingdom, after picking up the Gold Medal Award for Best Direction at the New York Festivals International TV Broadcasting Awards 2008.
As media convergence revolutionises consumption patterns, Singapore media companies are responding to the challenge by creating intellectual properties that can cross platforms. Examples include animation series The New Adventures of Nanoboy (Scrawl Studios) and Katakune (Character Farm), which are also available as games on mobile platforms and Tu Tu Le, a children’s television series co-produced by Singapore’s Earth Tree and Shanghai Media Group, which moved onto interactive websites and workbooks. And recently, MDA and Canal France International launched a competition in search of proposals for factual programmes with cross-platform potential in efforts to explore the creation of content that can be repurposed and distributed across different digital platforms.
3. Charting new growth in the creation, management &distribution of digital media content and technologies
Singapore is leveraging on new media distribution to underpin its position as a nexus of regional and global content and technologies. Two recent milestones further underscore this position: the establishment of an Interactive Digital Centre in Temasek Polytechnic for 3D visualisation;and a Digital Cinema Hub and Network Operations Centre through a partnership between IDA and Thomson’s Technicolor Digital Cinema business. Both are firsts in Asia.
In entrenching a strong ecosystem as a digital cinema hub, capabilities across the value-chain of services have been developed over the years. More companies are equipped with digital cinematic processing capabilities such as digital subtitling, encoding and water-marking. Technicolor, MediaCorp Technologies, Globecast and SingTel are capable of digital cinematic content management and distribution. As a result, cinema exhibitors are now able to bring in exciting alternative entertainment content like operas from The Metropolitan Opera and Cinema Kabuki. To date, about 25 cinema screens in Singapore are equipped to screen digital cinematic content.
Singapore has witnessed early successes as a regional games hub, where home-grown companies such as Infocomm Asia Holdings has secured rights to manage and distribute top-tier massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) titles like Granado Espada and Hellgate: London to the region. Early this year, AsiaSoft, the publisher of popular free-to-play MMOGs such as MapleStory and CABAL Online, managed to clinch the rights to publish the much anticipated MMORPG Mythos in Southeast Asia. To strengthen Singapore as a games hub, Games Exchange Alliance, comprising a network of more than 30 companies across the games ecosystem in Singapore, signed a Memorandum of Intent with 10 national games associations in the Asia Pacific last year.
The industry has also made efforts towards building Singapore’s capability as a global digital marketplace that is in line with the national IT masterplan, iN2015. 1-Net Singapore set up a one-stop service platform NexMedia for managing content distribution across multiple platforms such as Video on Demand over Broadband, IPTV, Mobile and Wireless. These capabilities have in turn attracted collaborations with content owners.
In addition, Singapore is witnessing exciting developments in new media content and services through the National Research Foundation’s focus on IDM research and development for which S$500 million has been earmarked for a multi-agency initiative hosted by MDA . The strategic aim of this programme is to drive breakthrough and innovation in the new media sector and more than 100 projects from large firms, small and medium enterprises, start-ups, individuals and Institutes of Higher Learning have been funded through this initiative since October 2006.
Examples of local companies in this field include Sparky Animation for intelligent crowd modelling simulations, G Element for work in 3D modelling and database solutions, and MXR Corporation, which offers tangible mixed reality technologies to seamlessly and intuitively merge both virtual and physical worlds.
International companies such as Eon Reality and Anark are also conducting cutting-edge research activities while flagship players like Singapore Press Holdings and MediaCorp Pte Ltd are experimenting with IDM to deliver new media services. As testament to the promise of Singapore’s IDM sector, Singapore company, Pixelmetrix Corporation, was awarded an Engineering &Technical Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in United States for its DV Station Transport Stream Analysis products.
Singapore has also identified niche areas of new media such as immersive learning content and pervasive media as key growth sectors. A pioneer batch of five schools had been identified to lead the way for the seamless and pervasive integration of IDM into the curriculum under FutureSchools@Singapore initiative. In addition to developing innovative teaching approaches that prepare our students for an IDM-pervasive future, such initiatives aim to achieve returns on the commercialisation of successful IDM pedagogical models, tools and content.
Today, Singapore’s media industry can make use of more than one million square feet of data centre space available here to host their operations. With a total submarine cable capacity of 28 Tbps and direct international Internet connectivity of 25 Gbps, Singapore is well positioned as a hub for international capacity. The Next Gen NBN when ready, will be capable of delivering speeds of up to 1Gbps and beyond, offering pervasive ultra-high speed connectivity by 2015.
“In the 1990s, EDB started to develop the media industry by attracting the international cable and satellite broadcast companies. This now forms a solid foundation for developing a thriving IDM industry. Our effort in this space is bearing fruit, with global leaders such as Lucasfilm, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, AETN, Mark Burnett Productions and Reuters establishing a significant presence here. We are developing Singapore as a place where innovative companies create world class content for global consumption,” said Mr Manohar Khiatani, Assistant Managing Director, Economic Development Board.
“IDA’s efforts in the IDM sector are built on our iN2015 masterplan to use infocomm to transform key economic sectors in Singapore. With a robust infrastructure, high-speed connectivity and its strategic geographic location, Singapore is well-positioned to be a global digital media and entertainment capital by 2015,” said Mr Thomas Lim, Director, Education, Learning, Digital Media and Entertainment, IDA.
“Five years into the launch of the Media 21 industry blueprint, the building blocks of Singapore’s media ecosystem are in place and ready to support and power greater growth. Later this year, MDA and our partner agencies will be unveiling Singapore Media Fusion 2015, the updated industry blueprint that charts the Singapore media industry’s growth into the future, including our push into the IDM space. In partnership with our local and international media players, we hope to put in motion a growth trajectory that will take Singapore’s media industry to the next lap,” said Dr Christopher Chia, Chief Executive Officer, MDA.
Annex A for EDB’s Industry Highlights
Annex B for IDA’s Industry Highlights
Annex C for MDA’s Industry Highlights
For media enquiries, please contact:
Khor Mi Mi
Tel: +65 6832 6229
Corporate &Marketing Communications
Tel: +65 6211 0649
Email: Lena_Han@imda.gov.sg MDA’s contacts:
Chia Pei Siang
Tel: +65 6837 9010
Assistant Director, Communications
Tel.: +65 6837 9369
About Economic Development Board of Singapore
The Economic Development Board (EDB) is the lead government agency responsible for planning and executing economic strategies to enhance Singapore’s position as a global hub for business and investment. We are the one-stop agency that facilitates and supports local and foreign investors in both the manufacturing and services sectors as they seek more value-creating operations, higher sustainable returns and new business opportunities.
Singapore commands global leadership positions in many areas. EDB is expanding and extending existing industry clusters, as well as exploring new growth areas to create good jobs and secure Singapore’s future competitiveness. Our emphasis is on capital-intensive, knowledge-intensive and innovation-intensive activities. EDB is constantly identifying new business areas to develop both in terms of new technologies as well as new consumer demands, such as our 'clean and green' focus - environmental technologies, urban solutions and clean energy, lifestyle, healthcare and wellness. EDB is also expanding our geographical reach, such as Middle East, in addition to North America, Europe, Japan, China, India and ASEAN.
For more information on how EDB can help in your business and investment, please visit www.sedb.com
About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is committed to growing Singapore into a dynamic global infocomm hub. IDA uses an integrated approach to developing info-communications in Singapore. This involves nurturing a competitive telecoms market as well as a conducive business environment with programmes and schemes for both local and international companies. For more news and information, visit www.ida.gov.sg.
About Media Development Authority of Singapore
Formed in 2003, the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) plays a vital role in transforming Singapore into a Global Media City and positioning it at the forefront of the digital media age. MDA spearheads initiatives that promote developments in film, video, television, radio, publishing, music, games, animation, media services and Interactive Digital Media. At the same time, in ensuring clear and consistent regulatory policies and guidelines, MDA helps to foster a pro-business environment for industry players and increase media choices for consumers. For more information, visit www.mda.gov.sg and www.smf.sg.
About Singapore Media Fusion
The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) has developed the “Singapore Media Fusion” (SMF) strategic positioning which encapsulates the attributes of the media industry in showcasing Singapore as a global media city. SMF is a mark of the quality of our products and services and the collective richness and diversity of the media industry. The positioning not only lends consistency in the manner to which the Singapore media industry is represented and promoted, it is also intended to enhance the image of Singapore media at an international level, in a compelling and coherent manner. For more information, visit www.smf.sg.