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Dr John Chen, Minister of State for Communications & Information Technology and National Development - Speech I-TVC Awards Gala Night, Amara Hotel

Dr John Chen, Minister of State for Communications & Information Technology and National Development - Speech
I-TVC Awards Gala Night, Amara Hotel
Singapore, 29 March 2001

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

The advent of the Internet has drastically changed the way businesses are conducted and created a whole new paradigm for media, content and communications. The arrival and pervasiveness of broadband technology will further change this landscape, opening up a completely new horizon and presenting the marketer with possibilities that were previously thought impossible.

Broadband Industry

According to the e-marketer report (Source: The Business of Broadband Report - Sept 2000 by e-marketer, a research company), the number of broadband users in the US is projected to increase from over 9 million users last year to more than 15 million by the end of this year. The growth rate is forecasted to grow exponentially over the next few years. The projection by Pyramid Research (Source: Pyramid Research - Broadband in Asia: The Next Big Thing, February, 2001) also indicates that broadband subscribers in Asia would increase to around 40 million by 2002.

The broadband scene in Singapore is set to grow as fast. Singapore now has over 274,000 users and 300 broadband players in the industry. Compared to December 1999, the number of broadband users has more than doubled and the number of broadband players has also increased by 50% over the last year.

We also have a nationwide broadband infrastructure - Singapore ONE, which covers 99% of the island and is made available to schools, businesses, homes and public access areas such as libraries and Community Centres and Clubs, with a choice of multiple access options via ADSL, cable and fibre.

Ride the Waves

What does all these mean for the advertising industry? What are the implications for you, the advertisers, the advertising agencies and members of the media?

In terms of demand, the growing broadband figures indicate the pressing consumer's need for higher speed access, always-on connection and media-rich content. Broadband promises not only larger bandwidth, but also access to next generation Internet services such as interactive TV and streaming media, which have not been easily accessible to narrowband users. We can expect the new generation of broadband users to be more demanding, with a different set of needs and interests when compared to the narrowband users.

We have witnessed the trend in the mix of online advertising formats shifting from the traditional banner advertisements to a more interactive and rich media format. Internet surfers have become more savvy and the novelty of clicking on banners has already worn off. To attract attention and eyeballs, advertisers will therefore need to come up with more interesting interactive presentations and consider media rich advertisement solutions like audio and video enhanced banners, video email, streaming audio, video and multimedia applications. All these have been made possible in the broadband environment.

Streaming Advertisement is here to Stay

In a study commissioned by MeasureCast and prepared by The Yankee Group earlier this year, 63% of the traditional advertising agencies and 67% of the interactive advertising agencies had expected their clients to spend more money on streaming and interactive media in the next 12 months. More importantly, streaming advertisements are now seen as effective branding vehicles, and look set to stay for good.

Invest in Broadband to enhance Business Communications & Work Processes

What this means is that the market direction is headed towards broadband. Investing in broadband technologies will further enhance your business communications and work processes. With broadband, you can have video-conferencing, online streaming and high-speed downloads. This will enhance communications between agencies and clients, vendors and suppliers. Such communications are no longer constrained by geographical boundaries. Imagine conducting a full multimedia campaign presentation online for your client in Europe in the comfort of your own office in Singapore.

Challenges and Opportunities

With our broadband infrastructure already in place, it is now possible for you to meet the ever increasing needs of your clients for more innovative and media rich products and services. This is also a ready platform for you to reach out to the end consumers. The challenge for you then, as members of the advertising industry, will be to develop the expertise and content for the new medium so that you can creatively deliver and serve the branding and marketing needs of your clients. This provides an opportunity for you to be a pioneer and to leverage on the new medium to create a leadership position for yourself in this New Economy.

End Notes

I am pleased that MediaCorp Interactive has provided a good start with the introduction of the i-TVC Awards. The i-TVC Awards put popular TV commercials on-line for the public to view on-demand and vote interactively for their favourite commercials. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the award winners. I hope that all of you will continue to create and innovate, and carve out a success story for yourselves.

Thank you.