Dated: 12 March 2009
Addressing key members of the industry at its annual Media Business Forum, the Media Development Authority (MDA) today announced that the Government aims to spend S$250 million this year to sustain the growth momentum of Singapore’s media sector amidst the economic downturn. This spending, which includes funding from the National Research Foundation (NRF) to boost research and development in interactive digital media, as well as support for public service programmes, is projected to support about 2,000 jobs when the projects come onstream in the coming year.
Progress of Singapore’s media sector
Singapore’s media sector has enjoyed steady growth since the industry’s national blueprint Media 21 was unveiled. As at 2006, the media sector contributed S$5 billion value-added and S$19.5 billion revenue to the economy, employing 54,700 workers. The compounded annual growth rate of the media sector from 1996 to 2006 was 8.0%, higher than 5.2% for the overall economy.
Recognising the growth prospects of the sector, the Government announced in Parliament last month that it will set aside S$230 million over five years under the Singapore Media Fusion plan to develop the local media industry, representing a 40% increase in funding from the previous Media 21 blueprint. That is on top of existing NRF support of S$500 million over five years for interactive digital media research and development.
Said Dr Christopher Chia, MDA’s Chief Executive Officer, “For the coming year and beyond, MDA will focus on funding and developing high-value and exportable content and applications, with an emphasis on helping Singapore companies to leverage digital media and adopt a 360° approach to exploit original intellectual properties across multiple platforms and formats. To this end, we will issue major calls for proposals throughout the year across TV, film, publishing, music, interactive media and games, aimed at stimulating a strong pipeline of projects for local media companies.
“Alongside efforts to boost industry activity are stepped up capability development initiatives to train manpower and match talents to projects, that will help to prepare the media sector for the upturn.”
Stimulating a strong pipeline of projects
Leading the first wave of project calls at today’s Media Business Forum was the request for innovative public service programmes that can travel across platforms and borders. In a separate call under its “360° TV” initiative to build brands and franchises around media properties, MDA requested for original TV concepts that leverage various digital media distribution avenues and partnerships. Both calls are expected to result in more TV content produced out of Singapore. This year, MDA aims to support 2,380 hours of broadcast content, 200 hours more than the previous year.
Recognising the potential of the music industry as a platform for the development of local talents, as well as a springboard for creative and business enhancements across broadcast, animation, film and games, a call was also initiated for proposals to transform Singapore into a digital music hub, build the music ecosystem and develop music services to support content productions.
Establishing strategic networks
To galvanise the industry to secure a foothold in niche sub-sectors of the emerging new media arena, MDA today launched a “Future of Media” initiative that aims to form five partner networks for companies to share resources, collaborate, experiment and innovate. The partner networks are Future Mobile, Future Games, Future TV, Future Worlds and Future Books. Each partner network aims to cluster between 50 to 100 companies, ranging from start-ups, small and medium enterprises and anchor companies. MDA will provide support in the form of industry contacts, matchmaking and co-funding the call for proposals.
To kick off the initiative, some 20 companies, including Friendster, G Element, Mozat, QALA Singapore, SingTel and Sun Microsystems, are joining MDA in calling for proposals. The calls will collate the business requirements and demands of technology and innovative applications of these companies, and provide the industry with a network of user base, distribution networks and development platforms for industry members to leverage. For example, SingTel, Mozat and Friendster combined can provide start-ups with access to potentially hundreds of millions of users.
Training and upgrading media manpower
To sharpen the competitive edge of Singapore’s media industry, MDA is working with Workforce Development Agency and the industry on programmes to train and upgrade media manpower, leveraging initiatives such as Skills Programme for Upgrading and Resilience (SPUR) and Professional Conversion Programme (PCP). MDA will commit S$6 million to fund the slate of manpower programmes, which is expected to benefit 6,000 media talents this year.
A new programme –Media Training & Attachment (META) –will give global exposure and work opportunities to local talents and media professionals by matching, and upgrading their skills where needed, to projects and companies with corresponding needs. MDA will co-fund such attachments to both local and overseas companies. An estimated 150 talents will benefit from META this year.
In addition, the revamped Singapore Media Fusion industry portal (www.smf.sg) will incorporate a bulletin board that allows organisations that are hiring, to post their manpower or resource requirements. Individuals can also upload their CVs for prospective employers to assess for a better job match.
“Our slate of initiatives is aimed at saving and creating jobs, and also maintaining a strong pipeline of projects through an increased investment in the media sector. By enhancing the media sector’s digital value proposition and increasing efforts in capability development, we hope to strengthen the foundation for growth,“ said Dr Chia.
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Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA)
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.