Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Good morning. I want to thank ContentAsia for organising this annual summit, held in association with the Asia TV Forum. I understand that this is the third edition of the summit, and it is heartening to see that this year, the dominant narrative is one that celebrates and reaffirms the staying power of the television industry. The programme notes hit the nail on the head, when it describes television in 2011 as a “space of innovation, ideas and creativity”.
2. Indeed, innovation has been a hallmark of the growth in the television industry in Singapore. We have among the highest pay TV penetration rates in the world, with some 345 channels and an increasing number of them, High Definition channels.The media sector has grown rapidly over the past decade, driven by growth in broadcasting activities. And more innovations to the TV viewing experience are set to hit the market, as Singapore completes its rollout of its nationwide next-generation broadband network, and also introduces digital television broadcasting.
3. At the Media Development Authority of Singapore, we see such developments as opening up new opportunities for growth. At the same time, we are mindful that the media industry is still a fledgling one, with still a lot of room to grow in capabilities and sophistication.
4. So even as technological innovation promotes the convergence of content, and the proliferation of devices, we are determined to ensure that the Singapore media industry continues to develop in its capability to generate desirable and engaging content for audiences.
5. In September this year, the MDA announced it would streamline its funding schemes from 46 to just five. Two of these will support the creation of quality content. They are Development Assistance, and Production Assistance. Development Assistance will provide targeted support for story research as well as the refinement and development of scripts. In Production Assistance, we will offer up to 40% of the qualifying Singapore Spend, with another 10% available for the next media project undertaken by the producer. The third scheme, Marketing Assistance, will help promote the consumption of Singapore content. The remaining two schemes, Talent Assistance and Enterprise Assistance, will help to create a conducive business environment for the media industry.
6. Cutting down to five schemes helped us to increase transparency as well as simplicity for media companies to get the support they need to create quality content.
7. More importantly, the change was borne out of a conviction that instead of supporting the creation of a TV program, or a game, we should be supporting the best ideas and concepts that can engage, entertain, and inform audiences. With convergence, if a television program resonates with an audience, they will want to consume more of it, not just on television, but across all media. Our new schemes enable us to be “360-Ready”. We in fact encourage and hope to see more projects that are conceived to take advantage of cross-platform development and distribution.
8. To help facilitate cross-sector partnerships, MDA will seek to bring together companies currently operating in relatively distinct media sub-sectors, to collaborate to produce 360 Content. Few people in the television production business, for example, are aware of Singapore’s value-proposition in casual gaming or in interactive media. A recent game released by GAMBIT, a program supported by Singapore’s Interactive Digital Media Program Office, called ‘Dark Dot’, clocked over 448,000 downloads on the Apple App Store. Within a month of its launch in October, the game was the #1 app (overall) in Singapore, Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia, beating other popular games such as Angry Birds and Bejeweled. These are ready capabilities that can contribute to any 360 content creation.
9. I am glad to see that an increasing number of Singapore producers are making encouraging forays into 360 content. Singapore’s MediaCorp has also experienced encouraging success with its xinMSN platform, and has recently announced plans to launch an over-the-top service next year.
10. Finally, I would like to say that even as we have fundamentally overhauled our support schemes, we recognise that ultimately, it is not the MDA that is in the frontline of the media industry. It is the industry itself. Whatever resources MDA has to support industry development, is but a fraction of the investment that the industry attracts in its own right.
11. One of the most encouraging successes for 2011, the Kitchen Musical, is a prime example. It was conceptualised by a Singapore producer, shot in Singapore, featuring talents from Singapore and the region, and financed by a regional satellite channel and a neighbouring cable operator. I am equally happy to say that this project did NOT receive MDA funding. It is a powerful example of what I believe will become more common in the years to come – a vibrant and strong content development ecosystem in Singapore, with extensive regional collaborations, delighting audiences in the region and beyond. Indeed, we have every reason to celebrate the growth of television that is Big, Bold and Back in Action!
12. Thank you.