Ms Angeline Poh, Assistant Chief Executive (Industry Development) of IMDA, shared at Broadcast Asia about how content still reigns supreme in a cluttered digital world.
By Jo-Ann Huang
Disruption may be a fashionable buzzword to use of late in the startup scene but to media organisations, that word has created more worry than excitement. More consumers are eschewing traditional media formats and have gone completely digital. The arrival of international players such as Netflix has given consumers more power than ever over their entertainment options.
Media organisations are working hard to keep up with changing trends, or risk becoming obsolete. Angeline Poh, Assistant Chief Executive (Industry Development) of the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), said the industry is looking at disruption in a better light.
“Disruption is such a polarising word, but it is a word we all have to take on,” said Ms Poh. “In the last six months, when I go out and speak to people on the ground and at conferences, I get a sense that the mood has shifted and there's a lot more optimism in the industry.”
“While things have not exactly gotten easier for businesses, they are starting to take action, own the problem and really manage and implement solutions and new strategies. They really want to make a difference,” she continued.
Ms Poh was speaking at BroadcastAsia 2017's Morning Plenary on 24 May, alongside other influential voices, such as Mediacorp's Head of Connected Media Anil Nihalani and Chairman of ONE Championship Chatri Sityodtong.
BroadcastAsia was held in conjunction with CommmunicAsia 2017 and EnterpriseIT 2017. The yearly event was held from 23 May to 25 May at Suntec Singapore and Marina Bay Sands, with over 1,800 exhibitors from 62 countries.
Knowing your customer
One solution that Ms Poh pointed out is getting to know the needs of viewers and serving them the content that they want. Regional pay TV channel Fox Plus, for instance, was created to meet the demands of Asian consumers. Through video streaming apps, users can access their current and back catalogue of content.
Mediacorp’s Toggle is another example, where free-to-air TV is accessible via its digital platform. However, these digital platforms have yet to successfully monetise their content, she noted.
Partnering up to drive content
The advent of digital distribution translates to collecting and mining data to better understand the preferences and behaviour of the customer, said Ms Poh. “Content creators are using this insight to drive their business and content decisions, and to create more compelling stories to connect with their users,” she continued.
For example, IMDA partnered with Viddsee, a homegrown digital platform that showcases short films from around the region, to create original content. Time, a short film about a busy young mother who learns to spend quality time with her young son, was the first product of this collaboration. Directed by the award-winning Daniel Yam, Time premiered a week before Mother’s Day on cable channel Lifetime.
The successful partnership also showed how public service content can remain relevant even among the ficklest viewers. “We need to know how and what kind of public service content to support when the audience behaviour changes,” said Ms Poh. Viddsee, which started in 2013, has a viewership of 500 million users, including the highly-coveted millennial audience.
IMDA also launched PIXEL Studios, an initiative which aims to bring online content creators, game developers, learners and tech innovators together. Led by IMDA and managed by Nanyang Polytechnic, PIXEL Studios provides shared media content production facilities for people to come together to experiment and create innovative digital media content, as well as learn from industry leaders in a conducive environment.
“In the digital world, you need to leverage partners to unlock value in the market and that’s one of the reasons why we launched PIXEL Studios last November. It is a physical space we built to bring the communities in the infocomm sector together,” Ms Poh explained. “Whether they are from traditional media platforms, or new and interactive media, or the tech sector, we can collaborate and learn from each other.”
And there is no better time for media companies to initiate change, she added. “The next generation of users will be very connected, digitally savvy and will be huge consumers of content. It’s important for us incumbents to start experimenting and changing, and most of all, to start doing that now.”