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MDA Launches Mentorship Programme for Singapore Media Companies to Learn from International Experts

Dated: 11 November 2008

​The Media Development Authority (MDA) has put in place a one-year pilot programme that matches top international media experts to chief executive officers of Singapore media companies. Expert in fields as diverse as entertainment and media law, merchandising and licensing, intellectual property exploitation, as well as capital financing, these mentors will share knowledge, skills and their networks with five local media companies each of whom have specific needs, chief of which is to expand their business outside of Singapore shores.

Called the Business Executive Mentorship Programme, the mentorship programme comes at a time when some of our local media companies have reached their next stage of growth.

Said Programme Chairman and Chief Executive of Transpac Media Ltd, Mr Andrew Craissati: “As local media companies strive to move from a domestic to a global horizon, the skills and characteristics of the local CEOs will need to keep pace with and be ready for the challenges facing them. This pioneering programme can make a marked difference in the lives of the various individuals who will now benefit from the broad and deep experiences of their respective mentors. I am very proud to lead this Programme, on behalf of the MDA, and to contribute as fully as possible to the initial group of local CEOs. I wish them every success.”

Mr Seto Lok Yin, Assistant CEO (Industry) of MDA says the mentorship programme comes at an appropriate juncture as several local media companies are beginning to expand their markets beyond Singapore’s shores. “Over the past few years, our media companies have grown and made much headway venturing into new markets and collaborating with international partners. The launch of this programme is timely, to accelerate the growth of some of our companies which are ready to leapfrog into the next phase of their development. Through the expertise, guidance and practical advice provided by international mentors, all of whom are highly accomplished and well-versed in various fields of the media business, our local media companies can benefit from their strategic vision, broad networks and profound experience. Hopefully, this will help our media CEOs shorten their learning curve or better still, help them strike potential collaborations with international players!”

For this inaugural programme, the Singapore companies come from the TV, animation and publishing sectors. They are CR Media Pte Ltd;Mediafreaks Pte Ltd;Scrawl Studios;Upside Down Concepts;and Verite Productions Pte Ltd.

The international experts are David Mansfield, Executive Director of Ingenious Media plc;Liz Kalodner, Executive Vice President &General Manager of CBS Consumer Products;Jon R. Peisinger, President of Creative Branding Systems ;Stephen Scharf, Partner, O’Melveny &Myers LLP;and Andrew Craissati, Chief Executive of Transpac Media Ltd. Please refer to ANNEX A for the list of local media enterprises and their mentors.

Matching was done based on the submitted business plans of the local enterprises and mutual indication of interest between both mentor and mentee to work together.

For instance, Ms Kalodner of CBS Consumer Products has over a decade of experience in overseeing merchandise programmes including “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin” when she served as Vice-President in Walt Disney Records. She has been matched with Mr Aldric Chang, Managing Director of Media Freaks Pte Ltd, a leading local animation company whose animation property Katakune has gained strong traction among young children. On the mentorship programme, Mr Chang said: “It provides a rare opportunity for Mediafreaks to learn from the mentor in terms of product merchandising and licensing. And more importantly, with Ms Kalodner’s strong contacts, it would help Mediafreaks open doors to the global market as we strive to develop internationally appealing animation.”

In another instance, the mentorship programme has paired up Mr Stephen Scharf, Partner, O’Melveny &Myers LLP with Mr Chan Gin Kai, CEO of Upside Down Concepts. Mr Scharf’s solid track record in media finance, production and motion picture financing transactions would serve as a proven formula for Upside Down Concepts;one of the local media enterprises here that is branching into media financing schemes, to explore and emulate. “One of the weaknesses facing Upside Down is the lack of local mentors and pacesetters. But through this programme, I
benefited from enlightening perspectives from my mentor and this will help to enhance
our competitiveness in the global market and face aggressive competition,” said Mr Chan of Upside Down Concepts.

As for Mr Craissati, he serves as mentor to Mr Viswa Sadasivan, CEO of Verite Productions. Said Mr Sadasivan: “The Mentorship Programme comes at a time when there's a critical mass of Singapore registered production companies confident enough to punch above our weight;to pursue ambitious projects with a global impact. The mentors, with their experience and expertise, will play a vital role as an alter-ego in helping to stress-test the plans and modalities and offer viable alternatives. More importantly, the production companies can hope to get much needed psychological support and validation as we embark on what are likely to be high yield, high risk

The Business Executive Mentorship Programme is part of MDA's efforts to develop the business capabilities of Singapore media entrepreneurs and enable them to build scalable and successful media enterprises which can remain competitive amidst a rapidly changing media landscape.

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Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA)
The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) was formed on 1 January 2003 to champion Media 21, a blueprint to transform Singapore into a global media city. Media 21 seeks to create a vibrant media environment by establishing Singapore as a media exchange, exporting Made-by-Singapore content, internationalising local media companies, nurturing local media talent and developing digital media. More information on MDA can be found on