Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Good morning. A very warm welcome to all participants here at the Asia Television Forum Pre-market Conference. I am heartened to see that this year’s line-up of conferences at ATF and ScreenSingapore is geared towards the Asian landscape, as this signals there is continued growing interest in Asian media and markets, whether in terms of ideation, production or financing. Global media players are increasingly looking to Asia for opportunities to tap and expand into this exciting market, and Singapore is right at the heart of the action.
Singapore is open and ready for business
2. Today, there are more than 20 international satellite broadcasters in Singapore, including BBC and Discovery, which use Singapore as a base to broadcast their services to Asia and the rest of the world. Our strategic location and well connectedness has provided an excellent gateway for international media companies entering Asia and a springboard for Asian companies seeking to expand internationally. Singapore is also a location of choice for Asian-made content and media services, with our multicultural and highly skilled talent pool, and a vibrant media scene made up of more than 6,000 media establishments. More importantly, Singapore is also a great place to experiment and innovate with new digital technologies.
3. Indeed, innovation is the hallmark of growth in the media industry. In the last couple of years, the TV industry has no doubt undergone many changes. We will probably see more transformations in the next decade than the last, as technological advancement brings more, and different, types of demand from consumers. Already, consumers today are expecting not just another TV programme. They want to be engaged, they want a good user experience, on top of the ability to access content anytime and anywhere they want it. And this is very much felt in Singapore. As observed by our Media Convergence Review report1 released in 2012, the phenomenon of “media convergence” is particularly pronounced in Singapore with our advanced info-communications infrastructure and tech-savvy citizenry. As such, this also makes us a natural test bed for new services and applications for viewers in the region.
4. In fact, to tap on the commercial potential of 360 content, our local broadcasters MediaCorp, StarHub and SingTel have expanded their content offerings beyond traditional platforms, to successfully launch their second screen offerings - Toggle, TV Anywhere and Mio TV Play - in a bid to offer their viewers with interactive entertainment content and services on multiple platforms anytime, anywhere. As Singapore rolls out its nationwide next-generation broadband network, and progressively switches over to digital broadcasting, we can expect more innovations in this island state in time to come.
5. We are also building up our media infrastructure. Infinite Studios has set up Singapore’s first two fully operational soundstages in what is set to become our media hub in Mediapolis. They are already up and running, and ready to support high quality media productions, especially films with high digital content and strong visual effects. International broadcaster Discovery and international media management company, Globecast, are also currently housed in the same building. Our national broadcaster MediaCorp will move into their brand new building which is nearby, by 2015. We also have leading entertainment company Lucasfilm in the vicinity, as well as pay-TV operator StarHub, who just had the groundbreaking of their Media Centre last week. We welcome both international and local media companies to join us on this journey.
Singapore-made content makes its mark on the global stage
6. Beyond innovation and infrastructure, Singapore content has also made its mark on the international stage. One of the most encouraging successes we have had this year is our film director Anthony Chen, who has done Singapore proud with his film Ilo Ilo, winning 20 awards, and counting, from all over the world, including the coveted Camera d’Or at Cannes Film Festival and the Best Feature Film Award, among others, at the Golden Horse Awards just last week. We are really very proud that this film has stood out with a storyline that brings out the flavour of an average Singapore household, yet at the same time, touches audiences all over the world with its simple theme of kinship and resiliency. And this is the type of content we strive for, whether it's film or television.
7. 2013 also saw the completion of TV series, Serangoon Road, marking a first for Singapore's television sector in many ways. The 10-part detective series is co-produced by HBO Asia, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and Singapore's Infinite Studios, with support from the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA). Some 80 credited Singapore cast, producers, scriptwriters and crew contributed to this production, which was filmed on-location in Singapore and at Infinite Studios facilities. Much effort also went towards the research of Singapore in 1960s, on the way of life and culture. As such, the series took three years to complete from pre-production to post. The show aired in September on HBO Asia to 23 territories, and I am told that it has received positive feedback from audiences and also attracted a loyal following.
8. The examples on Ilo Ilo and Serangoon Road show two things. One, our Singaporean directors and producers can create original and inspiring Asian stories that resonate with global audiences. And two, our Singapore companies are great co-production partners, with strong capability in media services and can deliver quality works.
Government lends support to innovative content
9. At the MDA, we are heartened by such developments and achievements by our local media talent and companies. This is why two years back, based on industry’s feedback, we streamlined our industry assistance schemes to meet the key stages of growth, from development, production, marketing to the up-skilling of talent and enterprise building, and ensured that our schemes are “360-ready”. We also moved to grants-based schemes, and enabled the intellectual property rights of the projects we funded to belong to the content creator. By doing this, we hope to encourage our companies to develop their own intellectual property, and thereby generate a stream of revenue to support future growth. I am happy to share that we have received good feedback and results from the local industry, with more than USD 31 million (approximate S$40 million) committed as of end October this year.
10. To ensure that the Singapore media industry continues to develop its capability to generate desirable and engaging content for audiences, we have also extended the reach of our Public Service Broadcast (PSB) programmes. Just this November, pay-TV operator StarHub has been appointed as the second commissioning platform for local PSB programmes under our newly revamped PSB Contestable Funds Scheme. What this scheme aims to do, besides extending the reach of PSB programmes, is really to spur our independent production companies into creating fresh, innovative quality programmes for Singaporeans. This is similar to the conviction when we revised our funding schemes, that is, to support the best ideas and concepts that can engage, entertain, and inform audience.
11. So, there is much to discover, not just about Singapore, but also all the companies and countries which are represented at ATF and ScreenSingapore. I would of course like to ask all of you here today to visit our Singapore Pavilion, and talk to our Singapore companies who will be happy to share their works and explore further collaboration opportunities. With more than 600 hours of local content on showcase, we hope there will be much to delight media buyers. There is also content from all over the world to discover, so I hope you are all geared up for a very interesting few days. With this, I wish all of you here today, a fruitful ATF and ScreenSingapore. Thank you.
1Recognising that media convergence has fundamentally altered the way media is being created, distributed and consumed, and hence the need to update our media policy and regulatory frameworks, the Government had appointed a Media Convergence Review Panel in 2012 to recommend how Singapore could address the regulatory challenges. The Government broadly agrees with the recommendations and MDA is following up on the relevant recommendations which will be further developed in consultation with our stakeholders. Please see full report at