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Consumers and media industry to benefit from improved quality and reach of PSB programmes


The Media Development Authority (MDA) today announced details of how it will implement the recommendations by the PSB Review Panel to raise the quality... Read more

The Media Development Authority (MDA) today announced details of how it will implement the recommendations by the 1PSB Review Panel to raise the quality and extend the reach of Public Service Broadcast (PSB) programmes.

The PSB Review Panel’s recommendations are thorough, and hit on fundamental and pertinent issues impacting PSB delivery. They are a significant step forward in keeping PSB progammes relevant in the face of media convergence and audience fragmentation due to easy access to online content.

Enhancements to the Provision of Public Service Broadcasting Programmes

The Panel has recognised that free-to-air TV will continue to play an important role in PSB delivery since it remains the most widely-accessed local media platform today, and that the quality of PSB offered must be improved. At the same time, more must be done to reach audiences on multiple platforms in view of the significant reach of other local media platforms such as the Internet and pay TV.
Guided by these recommendations, MDA will put in place the following enhancements to improve the quality and extend the reach of PSB content.

I) Addressing quality issues of PSB on free-to-air TV

a) Introduce audience-test pilots for PSB productions

In a move to ensure better quality and more engaging PSB programmes, MDA will introduce and fund the production of programme pilots that will be audience-tested for public feedback before production begins. For a start, MediaCorp will initiate five pilots across its channels. Three pilots will air on Channel 5, Suria and Vasantham in October 2012. Channel 8 and okto will air the remaining two pilots as special programmes on their respective channels in the first half of 2013.

b) Allocate adequate resources to improve key components of PSB productions on free-to-air TV 
To ensure that adequate resources are channelled to key areas that will raise PSB programme quality, MDA will review and adjust existing funding rates where necessary for the various programme genres of local PSB productions. In alignment with the Panel’s recommendations and industry feedback, MDA will for a start, focus on story-planning, scripting and research, and ensure there is sufficient time for filming and post-production of PSB programmes for better quality programmes.

c) Training for production talents
Strong creative talent is needed to drive good quality PSB programmes, and the way to achieve this is through sustained training of our media talents. Based on industry feedback, one key aspect will be the development of strong scriptwriters and story planners. To nurture a strong pool of creative talent, MDA has rolled out a series of training measures under its Talent Assistance grant scheme, including providing enhanced apprenticeship grants of up to $3,800 per month and $3,000 one-time support for airfare and insurance, for overseas work attachments; as well as training allowances to incentivise media freelancers to go for courses. This is on top of the current training grants subsidised under Talent Assistance, for creative media talent to attend non-WSQ courses in creative scriptwriting, for instance.

II) Extending reach of PSB

a) PSB Contestable Funds Scheme (PCFS): To extend PSB programme reach, a revised funding scheme for PSB – the “PSB Contestable Funds Scheme” – will be launched to support the creation of PSB content on multiple broadcast platforms, such as pay TV and the Internet.

The key highlights of the scheme are as follows:

i. Participation is by invitation only

ii. To qualify, the local broadcaster must, among other things, be able to have platforms that meet MDA’s minimum viewership figure

iii. Funding is extended to local nationwide TV platforms, including local FTA and non-FTA TV platforms, to encourage the development of original PSB content for multiple platforms

iv. Platform partners who are selected to participate in this scheme will proceed to call for proposals which will be open to all eligible local production companies based on guidelines set by MDA

v. Platform partners will also manage the commissioning of selected programme concepts, which includes overseeing the timely completion of programmes and ensuring programme quality

vi. An independent evaluation panel, comprising members with extensive media experience, will work with each platform partner to select suitable programme concepts

vii. Platform partners will carry their PCFS-supported programmes on their respective channels/platforms

viii. All PCFS programmes will be made available eventually to the public on a free-to-access platform

ix. Production companies whose concepts have been selected will receive funding in the form of a grant via the platform partner.

MDA is currently in detailed discussion with nationwide pay TV operator, StarHub, and MediaCorp, on their participation in this scheme.

For more information on the PSB Contestable Funds Scheme, please refer to

Enhanced Payment Schedules for Productions

Good administrative practices can go a long way in raising the bar for PSB delivery. In view of industry feedback, including from media freelancers and independent production houses, MediaCorp and the Association of Independent Producers (AIPRO) are now working together to put in place a better and clearer set of payment schedules to producers. This has the support of MDA and NTUC.

Such efforts pave the way for payment from broadcasters to productions companies, and in turn media freelancers, to be adjusted for better alignment with the resource needs at various stages of production.

In all, these enhanced practices would provide greater business certainty to independent production houses and media freelancers, putting them in a better position to manage their businesses and projects as a whole.

Revised Copyright Ownership Arrangement for MDA-Funded Original, PSB Productions

In parallel to the PSB Review Panel, MDA also carried out its own internal rights review of PSB programmes to explore how such rights can be exploited for industry benefit.

Effective today, MDA will accord ownership of 2PSB Programme Copyright to their creators, while ensuring that the public interest aims of PSB continue to be met. In the past, the copyright to PSB programmes generally rested with the financiers, which in most cases was MDA. Creators of PSB programmes, such as local production companies and MediaCorp’s in-house production units, would have to seek permission from the rights owner to exploit any of these rights.

This revised rights arrangement is an important step that will boost Singapore’s production industry as it enables our production companies to own and be in a position to better exploit their assets. It generally applies to new PSB programmes; and retrospectively, to past MDA-funded PSB productions since April 2006, and will impact more than 10,000 hours of past local PSB content and benefit over 50 production companies.

Guidelines and key changes to the PSB rights framework

a. As a general principle, MDA will no longer own or co-own the copyright to original, locally produced PSB programmes it funds. Instead, for productions funded by MDA, what would otherwise have been MDA’s share of the copyright by virtue of its funding would be assigned to the content creators.

b. The new copyright owners must however, grant MDA and MDA-appointed parties the licence and right to use the PSB programmes for stipulated public service broadcast and non-commercial purposes. Consistent with the current PSB framework, the designated broadcaster will continue to retain or be licensed certain rights primarily relating to the communication of the PSB programme in Singapore for a defined period.

Industry can now better benefit from and exploit Copyright to PSB Programmes

By retaining copyright to the PSB programmes, content creators who created the programmes, will have greater control over the commercial exploitation of the content, including its broadcast rights, communication rights, adaptation rights, exploitation rights, reproduction rights, publishing rights and performing rights.

Likewise, production companies, who produced the PSB programme, can control the reproduction, communication and exhibition of these completed PSB programmes.

These rights will provide content creators and production companies more options in exploiting their respective rights in their creations, which may include:

• Distribution of PSB programme to other TV or cable networks in other countries

• Releasing DVDs of PSB programmes

• Producing merchandise relating to the PSB programme, such as comics, books, clothes and toys

Mr Lee Thean-jeen, Executive Producer of “The Pupil”, a PSB-supported programme, remarked, “MDA has made a significant step forward, giving local producers of PSB content a boost in terms of Intellectual Property ownership. This allows content creators to revisit existing programmes in the context of today’s market, both local and international, with the view to update, reimagine or repackage their original content. Local producers of award-winning PSB programmes can benefit from owning the rights to their shows, with potential for overseas demand. It is heartening to see that industry feedback has been taken into account, and I look forward to seeing greater things for the local industry.”

MDA will begin notifying the new copyright owners on details of the rights transfer process, from August onwards.

For more information on the revised PSB Copyright Ownership framework, please refer to

About PSB Programmes

PSB programmes aim to foster a cohesive and informed society, and are primarily provided via MediaCorp’s free-to-air TV. Every year, PSB funding caters for over 2,000 hours of locally produced programmes.

PSB programmes have served Singapore viewers well. Last year, 9 in 10 viewers or about, 4.3m viewers, watched locally-produced PSB programmes. In addition, initial efforts to place PSB content online via MediaCorp’s xinMSN portal garnered a total of 4.4m online views in the same year too.

PSB programmes such as “The Activist’s Journey – Japan’s Homeless”, ”The End/Beginning – Cambodia” and “The Pupil” have won recognition in international competitions such as the New York Festivals and the Asia Television Awards. 


About Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA)
The Media Development Authority of Singapore ( promotes the growth of globally competitive film, television, radio, publishing, music, games, animation and interactive digital media industries. It also regulates the media sector to safeguard the interests of consumers, and promotes a connected society. MDA is a statutory board under the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (

1Chaired by Senior Minister of State MICA, Ms Grace Fu, the 8-member PSB Review Panel was set up in October 2010 to provide MICA/MDA with an independent assessment on the performance of PSB in Singapore and recommend how the provision of PSB can be improved. In its submission report to MICA Minister in March this year, the panel made 16 recommendations in all, including extending the reach of PSB content to non-Free- to- Air (FTA) platforms; allocating adequate resources to improve the quality of local PSB productions; introducing audience-tested pilots; and providing sustained training for talent development, in areas such as story planning and scriptwriting.

2PSB Programme Copyright includes the right to distribute PSB programmes overseas to other TV or cable networks; DVD production and merchandising. A more detailed explanation is available on page 5 of this press release under the header “Industry can now better benefit from and exploit Copyright to PSB Programmes”.