S'pore company sets up digital 'stock exchange'

Hosting platform aims to help traditional media companies expand global presence through new delivery modes, including 3G and HDTV.

SINGAPORE--A new digital content hosting platform promises media companies an easy way to expand their global footprint.

Dubbed NexMedia, the platform provides a one-stop service for content distribution, digitization, billing and payments, as well as digital rights management (DRM).

NexMedia was developed by IT solutions provider 1-Net Singapore, at a cost of "millions of dollars", said company CEO Mock Pak Lum during a media briefing Friday. 1-Net is a subsidiary of local broadcaster MediaCorp.

"Today, there is a gap in delivering digital media content to consumers…There is no one-stop service to manage digital assets in multiple platforms for the global market," he said, claiming that NexMedia will fill that gap.

Mock hopes the platform would allow media companies--especially small and midsize ones--to focus on creating quality content, and not worry about technology in their push toward delivering digital media content.

More importantly, he added, NexMedia would serve as a "stock exchange of digital assets" for content owners and buyers. "They can also showcase their talent and productions for the rest of the world to see," he said.

Mock said that 1-Net will also help market and sell digital content hosted on the platform to service providers such as telcos, on behalf of content owners. However, it will only do so when a critical mass of digital content is available on NexMedia. For now, content producers would have to undertake their own marketing, Mock said.

Apart from hosting digital media content, NexMedia--through MediaCorp--will also provide dubbing and subtitling services to content producers as they enter foreign markets.

Digital content, such as video-on-demand, can also be reformatted for new delivery platforms such as 3G (Third-Generation) cellphones and high-definition TV, Mock said.

By hosting digital assets on NexMedia, he noted, service providers save up to 90 percent since they do not have to establish their own infrastructure--which can cost between US$300,000 and US$1.3 million, depending on the scale of their service.

He added that 1-Net has already netted local and international content providers as customers.

U.S.-based Ford Studios will host its portfolio of feature films, TV programs and games, while India's GV Films will use the NexMedia platform to reach out to the Indian Diaspora of Bollywood fans. 1-Net's sister company MediaCorp Studios will also showcase older TV programs and make them available for download through its MOBTV broadband TV service, hosted on NexMedia.

As the piracy problem continues to plague Hollywood, NexMedia's DRM tool--based on Microsoft's Windows Media DRM technology--was the clincher that drew content producers to the platform, Mock said. Hewlett-Packard, NexMedia's other technology partner, is providing hardware, software and services for digital content management and delivery.

Said Venkata Ramani, director of GV Films: "Content providers need to know what's happening to their content--who's using, or misusing, it. We're confident that NexMedia will provide a very secure environment."

Melvin Ang, managing director of MediaCorp Studios, concurred: "One of our key concerns is to protect our IPR (intellectual property rights). Right now, we are actually in the process of taking action against people who tape TV broadcasts and offer it on the Internet."

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