Dated: 2 June 2010

International experts who formed the Media Development Authority of Singapore’s (MDA) International Advisory Panel (IAP) gave the thumbs-up to the progress made in establishing Singapore as a credible media player on the world stage. Moving forward, the IAP urged Singapore to play to existing core strengths and advantages to further ramp up its role as a Global-Asia media hub and services center, while continuing to create globally-recognisable media intellectual properties that the nation can take pride in. 

The IAP met on 31 May and 1 June with key industry players and senior management from MDA and other economic agencies, marking the third IAP meeting since MDA’s formation in 2003.

Dr Tan Chin Nam, Chairman of MDA, and Chairman of the IAP, said: “We are now operating in the Globalisation 3.0 era where the world is flat as described by Tom Friedman and spirit of collaboration key. Since its beginnings, Singapore’s media sector has embraced transnational collaborations as a means to multiply its resources. Incorporating the views of international experts from diverse media industries through the MDA IAP mechanism is also in line with this direction. We are encouraged by the panel’s endorsement of our growth direction. Their recommendations on new growth areas will help us strengthen the positioning of Singapore as a trusted global capital of New Asia Media as laid out in the Singapore Media Fusion Plan (SMFP) that was launched in June 2009.”


Growth trend of Si​​​ngapore’s media sector

Singapore’s promotion of the media sector spanned nearly two decades. In the 1990s, service-for-hire business models dominated the media sector. With the launch of the Media 21 blueprint in 2003, content development efforts received a major boost, which hastened the move of Singapore’s media companies up the value chain to become owners and creators of original intellectual properties that are distributed globally. Beyond content, Singapore is leveraging its strength in digital media to begin supplying applications and technologies to the world. To further scale up the media sector, the SMFP launched last year will see a concerted push to promote R&D innovation, raise financing capability, nurture talents and enhance infrastructure to fortify the base that supports further growth.
Based on the latest available data from the Department of Statistics, over an eight-year period, the total operating receipts of Singapore’s media sector1  nearly doubled, going from S$12.7 billion in 2000 to S$22.4 billion in 2008 at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4%. Total employment rose by over 30% to top 63,247 in 2008, up from 48,038 in 2000. 

The fast-growing IDM sub-sector, which was non-existent four years ago, has grown at an estimated 25% CAGR since 2005, adding some S$1.3 billion in revenue and 3,500 new jobs in the process2.

Playing to Singapore’s​​ strengths

IAP members remarked that Singapore has been successful in attracting international media players to base here, with 22 major broadcasters in Singapore. As Asia rises in importance in the global media and entertainment market, it will be rewarding for Singapore to reinforce its positioning as the regional springboard for Western media businesses venturing into Asia, as well as a global launchpad for Asian enterprises expanding beyond their home markets. In particular, Singapore can establish itself as a valuable partner for emerging Chinese and Indian media enterprises expanding into Southeast Asia. 

The IAP suggested that Singapore should extend the country’s core strength in services to the media industry by raising its importance as a media services center. This will mean building and aggregating companies that provide ancillary services in the media sector that covers legal, financial, sales, licensing, distribution and digitisation.

With the explosion of media platforms and devices, repurposing media content beyond its primary use will be a viable niche for Singapore. The IAP pointed out Singapore’s robust intellectual property regime as a key differentiator that will support this role. One Singapore company that has risen to the challenge is Alternative Content Distribution Network (ACDN), which offers an end-to-end solution for the digital conversion, secure storage and distribution of content.

The IAP also encouraged Singapore’s media companies to draw on its forte in education, especially in the areas of Continuing Education and Training (CET) and lifelong learning. To this end, MDA has in 2009 embarked on the Media-in-Learning initiative, which aims to create pedagogical media content, such as serious games, for learning and teaching purposes. Early this year, MDA also announced the Cross-Sector initiative, which seeks to deploy digital media technologies in different economic sectors such as healthcare and tourism. 

Placing digital media at the central of vision

The IAP noted that Singapore has been the harbinger of cutting edge digital media services, being one of the first in the region to invest in high-definition television and stereoscopic 3D movie production. Singapore brings with it a good track record in innovating new services and applications in the digital media space.  

IAP members affirmed Singapore’s culture of innovation that is gaining momentum since the country begun investing in interactive digital media research and development four years ago.  To date, some 330 R&D projects have been funded, registering a launch of some 160 new products and services and 28 patents filed. The top five funded projects now serve more than 55 million users in 210 countries, with the user base growing at an average rate of two to three million users per quarter. Efforts to seed grassroots innovation have nurtured some 170 start-ups, supporting some 583 entrepreneurs.

To widen the ranks of entrepreneurs, IAP members urged Singapore to create a culture that encourages innovation, which includes a forgiving environment for failed entrepreneurs. The IAP also emphasised the importance for fledging Singapore media companies to scale up as they take on the global market. They also suggested that Singapore nurtures market leaders in certain niche areas that will act as successful models for the rest of the industry. 

Please refer to:
Annex A for the listing of the IAP
Annex B for quotes from IAP 2010 members
Annex C​ for achievements of Singapore’s media sector


1 The media sector comprises broadcasting, film and video, music, publishing, online and mobile content, games and other software. Source of data: Department of Statistics, April 2010.

2 Deloitte Consulting “Interactive and Digital Media Sector: The Market Opportunity for Singapore”, June 2008.


Media De​velopment 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 digit​al 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 and

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023