S'pore unveils national media blueprint

Singapore Media Fusion Plan aims to propel the sector forward and help local players take advantage of global opportunities.

SINGAPORE--The country launched its national media blueprint, dubbed the Singapore Media Fusion Plan (SMFP), which is aimed at helping local players respond to global opportunities.

Unveiled today at BroadcastAsia 2009, which is under the imbX umbrella brand, the SMFP sets out three strategies designed to propel Singapore's media sector forward.

The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) said in a press statement that the first strategy aims to provide "the best environment for media business". Its second strategy focuses on leveraging research and development (R&D) to help the media sector exploit new opportunities.

"The final strategy calls for Singapore to remain connected to the world to enhance the international appeal of Singapore-made content, applications and services," said the MDA.

Its CEO Christopher Chia said the local media sector is in the midst of dynamic change, driven by convergence and the rise of Asia as a content powerhouse and one of the most influential markets in the world. "The SMFP is our response to the altered global landscape," Chia said in the statement.

"It gears up Singapore companies to respond to the fresh opportunities...by enabling the creation of New Asia Media, be it content, services or applications, that resonate with the world, whilst leveraging Singapore's strengths and strategic location as an East-West gateway," he said.

Funds amounting to S$230 million (US$172 million) have been allocated to drive the initiatives under the plan, the MDA said.

Among the new initiatives introduced with the SMFP, is a strategic partnership between the MDA and SingTel to boost Singapore's distribution capabilities.

For this, SingTel's Broadcast Innovation Centre (BIC), located at one of its local satellite earth stations, will establish a 100Mbps connection link to the 19-hectare Mediapolis@one-north media park in Singapore. The park incorporates a soundstage complex, digital post-production studios and work lofts.

This connectivity will enable media players to cost effectively send their locally-produced content directly to their counterparts or broadcast stations overseas. The initiative will also serve to extend the reach of local media companies and facilitate worldwide access for Asian content, the MDA said.

The Authority also introduced its Media Training and Attachment (Meta), a new program that aims to provide work exposure and training opportunities in Singapore and overseas, to local talents and media professionals.

Training partner SingTel will provide on-the-job training in broadcast engineering and technology, according to the MDA. SingTel is concurrently working with Singapore's Ngee Ann Polytechnic to develop new broadcast engineering courses, as well as offer students practical experience in live broadcasting environments at the BIC. Students will also have access to the BIC facilities for R&D work.

A five-year partnership has also been formed, as part of Meta, between the MDA and NUSDigital Hollywood Lab, which was established by the National University of Singapore's Interactive and Digital Media Institute (IDMI). Under the scheme, each year, up to 40 media talents will be matched with major television and motion picture companies such as The Walt Disney Company, American Broadcasting Company (ABC), ESPN and The Jim Henson Company, where these students will participate in training stints lasting up to six months.

These work attachments will provide Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents advanced technical and specialized training, covering skill sets from game design and development, to TV documentary filming and production, music technologies as well as interactive control for computer animation and animatronics.

In addition, major players of the interactive digital media industry have formed a FutureTV partner network for members to leverage each other's capabilities and resources to fuel industry innovation.

The goal is to use Singapore as a testbed for innovative services that will shape a new generation of visual media experiences, resulting in greater interactivity and personalization in the consumption of content, said the MDA.