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Government and industry players collaborate to grow digital advertising industry

Dated: 8 September 2010

Formation of Digital Advertising Alliance to provide key boost to overall​​ strategy

Trade associations, government agencies and education service providers are coming together in a concerted effort to build a vibrant digital advertising sector that will serve Singapore and beyond.

At an industry event today marking the formation of the Digital Advertising Alliance among five trade associations, guest-of-honour Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, Mr Lui Tuck Yew, announced that the Media Development Authority (MDA) and the multi-agency outfit Interactive Digital Media Program Office (IDMPO), will invest S$30 million over the next three years in support of the Alliance’s goal to grow digital advertising’s share towards total advertising spending in Singapore from the current 5.3% to 20% by 2020.

Helping to steer the industry toward this goal are lead government agencies MDA and DesignSingapore Council. The MDA has been helping to catalyse the growth of the digital advertising sector by supporting the development and commercialisation of R&D projects in the areas of analytics, payments and digital advertising applications and services. DesignSingapore Council has set aside capability development funds to support industry players and associations for upgrading programmes in digital media design and exposure to relevant foreign markets and festivals.

Dr Christopher Chia, Chief Executive Officer of MDA, said: “Just as the proliferation of IDM innovations will help shape the development of our digital advertising sub-sector, the success of the digital advertising industry will also have a significant bearing on the long-term sustainability and vibrancy of our IDM sector. Hence, the partnership between advertising and IDM is a powerful one with immense potential, bringing together both the ‘right brain’ –creativity –and the ‘left brain’ –technology –to strategically position Singapore to benefit from the digital media boom that is happening all around the world. MDA will be working closely with our fellow government agencies and the industry to unlock the growth potential in digital advertising.”

Singapore’s IDM sector has registered a compound annual growth of 20% for the last three years. According to latest figures from Deloitte, in 2009, the IDM sector’s value-added grew 15.1% to reach S$867 million. These are encouraging growth indicators for a sector that was insignificant just a few years ago. The digital advertising spending increased from S$51.3 million in 2008 to S$64.6 million in 2009, registering a 26% growth, notwithstanding the economic uncertainty last year, according to Interactive Advertising Bureau.

Mr Jeffrey Ho, Executive Director of DesignSingapore Council said: “Recent growth of the digital advertising sector in Asia is very rapid that it would be a lost opportunity if Singapore does not ride this wave. Advertising designers can capitalise on the intersection of design, interactive digital media and new business innovation, and at the same time, push the creative frontier to deliver effective new media advertising for other businesses. I am heartened by the Alliance’s move to come together to share knowledge, resources and to collaborate with each other. The DesignSingapore Council will continue to support digital advertising players through grants and programmes that industry associations, advertising firms and designers can tap on to enhance their capabilities and skills in interactive digital design for the new media.”

Galvanising industry res​ources

The formation of the Digital Advertising Alliance, consisting of the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Singapore (AAAA), the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the Institute of Advertising Singapore (IAS), the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and the Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF), is a significant move in the overall strategy to further propel the digital advertising sector forward. The Alliance will leverage its members’ varied experience for greater knowledge sharing and collaboration within the industry. It will encourage initiatives supporting the development of talent, enterprise and innovation, as well as promoting and upholding standards and guidelines that would contribute towards a vibrant digital advertising ecosystem.

Also unveiled today were several initiatives by members of the Alliance to boost enterprise development. One of these was the joint call between SiTF and MDA to encourage the development and usage of innovative technologies to measure the success of digital advertising campaigns. Going forward, MDA will continue to partner key demand drivers, such as SingTel, which issued a call today for digital advertising applications and services that could be deployed on its platforms. MDA will also work with industry players, such as Brandtology, to jointly issue calls that leverage IDM applications and services to drive innovative ideas from advertising agencies and developers.

Besides supporting innovation, the Alliance also recognised the importance of having accurate data and industry-wide standards and guidelines in place. To this end, the IAB embarked on two initiatives. The first is an Asia-focused Consumer Barometer, which reveals consumer attitudes and provides industry players with the tools to demonstrate the benefits of digital advertising. The second initiative provides media metrics and demographic information about online audiences to Small and Medium Enterprises, empowering them to make better informed decisions on their advertising investments. The MMA today also launched its Certified Mobile Marketer Program for Asia Pacific, making Singapore being the first market in the region to implement it. MMA is currently exploring the possibility of introducing guidelines for Consumers Best Practices in Singapore.

To meet the manpower demands of the growing digital advertising industry, the Alliance is working with various institutions to introduce programmes that cater to people at different stages of their careers. The Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), in consultation with members of the Alliance, has rolled out Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications courses (WSQ) in new media, enabling media professionals to upgrade skill sets by attending these WSQ courses conducted by continuing education and training providers such as the Singapore Media Academy. Concurrently, local tertiary institutes such as Temasek Polytechnic and Nanyang Polytechnic are gearing up their abilities to provide pre-employment training in this area to young media professionals.

At the event, Acting Minister Lui Tuck Yew also toured cutting-edge, interactive exhibits by companies such as international advertising giant Dentsu Asia, which showcased its iButterfly, PhoneBook and Magastore applications. Also showcasing their latest innovations were local start-ups including Techsailor, a social media solutions company;MyAdEngine, a digital advertising campaign management company that connects with global platforms such as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook;and Circos, which specialises in the field of analytics for the hospitality industry, leveraging on social media.

Please see Annex A for quotes from industry players.


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About Media Develop​ment Authority of Singapore (MDA)

Formed in 2003, the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) plays a vital role in transforming Singapore into a Trusted Global Capital for New Asia Media. MDA spearheads initiatives that promote industry growth in film, television, radio, publishing, music, games, animation and Interactive Digital Media. At the same time, in ensuring clear and consistent regulatory policies and guidelines, MDA helps to foster a pro-business environment for industry players and increase media choices for consumers. For more information, visit and

​About DesignSingapore Council

Design changes and improves lives, inspires creativity and new forms of expression. It also enhances business competitiveness in today’s crowded marketplace. The Council is Singapore’s response to these propositions and opportunities. As a national initiative, the Council aims to develop Singapore into a global city for design. It focuses on developing a thriving cluster of design industries in Singapore that has relevance and impact globally. The initiative also aims to bring design to business boardrooms, new audiences and new markets.

Set up in 2003, the DesignSingapore Council is the lead agency for design in Singapore and a division within the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts. The Council is dedicated to enhancing Singapore’s design capabilities and growing the appeal of design in everyday life. This is achieved through design scholarships to nurture Singapore designers, as well as research and development focused on design excellence. The Council has also played a pivotal role in the establishment of design studios to grow the design industry. Up and coming Singapore designers have also raised their international profile with support from DesignSingapore’s Overseas Promotion Partnership Programme. More information on the Council is available on our website at

About Singapore Infocomm Tech​​​nology Federation (SiTF)

SiTF is the Singapore infocomm industry trade association. It brings together almost 400 corporate members from MNCs and local companies. SiTF assists its members in business development, market intelligence, overseas trade missions, networking and alliances.

SiTF has nine chapters under its wing - Best Sourcing, Digital Media, Cloud Computing, eGovernment, eLearning, Green IT, Singapore Enterprise, Security &Governance and Wireless. SiTF also owns and manages the Infocomm Singapore Centre (ISC) in Shanghai and has a joint venture with Hangzhou e-Software Park (HZESP) to set up the solution centre in Hangzhou, China, to give local infocomm companies a foothold into the China market. For more information on SiTF, please visit

About the Association of A​​​ccredited Advertising Agents Singapore

The Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Singapore, better known as the 4As, was founded in 1948 during the days of largely black and white media ads.

Though the ads now may be in full, living colour, the purpose of the 4As remains the same. Its key objectives are to elevate the stature of the advertising and marketing communications industry, provide advertising professionals with a collective voice and to nurture talent and creativity. Today, advertising has been transformed with the applications of relevant technology which offer exciting new advertising media, among them the internet, mobile phones and personal digital assistants. Now, more so, the objectives of the association have remained relevant.

The 4As represents advertising and marketing communications practitioners, agencies and related businesses in Singapore. It works in close co-operation with other related trade associations, schools and government bodies. Over the years, it has introduced a series of industry awards to recognise outstanding talents in advertising, media and related fields to motivate those in the industry to achieve greater heights.

Several key events are held annually by the 4As. Prominent among them are the Singapore Creative Circle Awards or the Gong Show;the Students Creative Awards, popularly known as The Crowbars;and the Singapore Media Awards.

About the Interactive Advertis​ing Bureau (IAB)

“The Interactive Advertising Bureau Southeast Asia Singapore Chapter has been established and supported by almost 50 leading digital advertising companies operating in Singapore and Southeast Asia. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to increasing investment in interactive advertising. It is licensed to operate by, and affiliates with IAB associations around the world.

Internationally, individual-country IABs act to educate marketers, advertising agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising, evaluate and recommend standards and practices, and develop and distribute research on interactive advertising.

Its stated aim in Singapore is to attract 20% of all media investment by 2020.

About the Institute ​​of Advertising Singapore (IAS)

The Institute of Advertising Singapore has been actively promoting and assisting the upgrading of advertising practitioner standards since 1990. With a comprehensive range of educational and training programs, the institute has raised the industry benchmark, bringing relevance to education as industry professionals teach IAS programs. IAS strives to provide leadership for the advertising industry in Singapore. In serving the industry, IAS seeks to create a highly distinct and favorable identity for the practice of advertising;the institute itself;and broadly for all professionals, commercial practitioners, professional associations and related constituencies positively contributing to advertising in Singapore. The vision of IAS is to see Singapore acknowledged internationally as an influential "diffusion hub" of world class advertising people, professionalism, practice and product. Please visit the IAS website for a list of courses and events.

About the Mobile Marketing​ Association (MMA)

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) is the premier global non-profit trade association representing all players in the mobile marketing value chain. With more than 700 member companies, the MMA is an action-oriented organization with global focus, regional actions and local relevance. The MMA’s primary focus is to establish mobile as an indispensible part of the marketing mix. The MMA works to promote, educate, measure, guide and protect the mobile marketing industry worldwide. The MMA’s global headquarters are located in the United States and it has regional chapters including North America (NA), Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Latin America (LATAM and Asia Pacific (APAC) branches. For more information, please visit