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     FrontPage Edition: Sat 19 April 2008

Singapore propels ahead as the region's media hub


Singapore propels ahead as the region’s media hub
Singapore is establishing itself as the region’s hub for media businesses and the financing, making and trading of media content and services. Riding on the global trend of media convergence, it has leveraged its excellent infrastructure and pool of IT talents to emerge as a centre for the creation, management and distribution of interactive digital media (IDM).
A joint press briefing by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) and the Media Development Authority (MDA), today (16 Apr 2008) highlighted three key developments that have propelled the media sector forward: a vibrant business environment that promotes the growth of local and international media enterprises, rising global demand for original and multiplatform content developed from Singapore; and increased activities in the creation, management and distribution of digital content and technologies out of Singapore.
1. Powering the growth of world-class media companies
A conducive business environment buttressed by a highly-skilled labour force, robust intellectual property regime, pro-business regulatory framework and quality of life, has drawn an increasing number of international media brands to Singapore.
It is estimated that international projects secured by EDB from 2005 to date, would generate over 1,600 jobs when fully realised. In all, the size of the media sector stood at over S$18.2 billion in revenue, employing more than 53,000 people and contributing S$4.9 billion in value-added.
On the publishing front, Singapore’s strength in education and science has attracted four of the top five STM (Scientific, Technical and Medical) global publishers – Elsevier, Taylor Francis, Wiley-Blackwell and SAGE Publications – to Singapore. One of the world’s favourite leisure titles, Reader’s Digest, and leading in-flight magazine publisher Ink Publishing, also have their regional headquarters in Singapore.
Starting from the 1990s, EDB’s efforts to attract broadcasters have helped anchor a strong base of international cable and satellite networks in Singapore, with BBC Worldwide and AETN as recent additions to our landscape. There are now 16 of such networks uplinking their channels from Singapore to their regional audiences. In addition, networks such as CNBC Asia Pacific and ESPN Star Sports have also grown their businesses in Singapore. They have extended the production and reach of their content from the traditional television platform to interactive platforms such as mobile and the Internet.
International companies have also uncovered new opportunities for growth. In 2007, United States-based Mark Burnett Productions partnered Singapore’s Imagine OmniMedia to produce the AXN reality series The Contender Asia, which was filmed entirely in Singapore and post-produced by local company Infinite Frameworks. Mark Burnett Productions went on to partner Asian gaming and entertainment outfit, Genting International, in a US$20-million venture to develop, produce and distribute reality content and game shows for Asia.
In line with the country’s strategic thrust into IDM, Singapore has seen an influx of international IDM companies such as Lucasfilm, Electronic Arts, and Southern Star. The activities carried out here include headquarters, business development, research and development, and game development. Some notable highlights include:
• Lucasfilm’s 3D animation studio here is its first outside of the United States, and
hires from over 30 countries, creating a vibrant community of creative minds.
Besides animation, the studio also undertakes game development and visual
effects work for Hollywood blockbusters.
• KOEI Entertainment Singapore recently released its MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer
Online Role-playing Game) Romance of the Three Kingdoms Online in Japan. The
game was developed in Singapore.
• Ubisoft, Europe's largest game developer and publisher, recently announced the
opening of its first Southeast Asia games studio in Singapore. When the studio
reaches full capacity, it will be the region’s largest games studio.
These projects are testament to Singapore’s attractiveness as the region’s hub for IDM companies, and more related announcements are expected in the next few months.
The growth of media enterprises has been facilitated by the maturing of the media financing system in Singapore. There is currently over S$500 million worth of media funds available for media projects and companies, as a result of private capital injected by banks, financial institutions and strategic investors.
At the same time, ancillary businesses such as talent management and executive production company RGM Entertainment, and consultancy firm Pembridge Asia, are establishing or have established their regional headquarters in the country. The joint effect of these developments is a healthy business ecosystem that is attracting world-class media projects and talents to Singapore.
2. Global demand for Singapore’s original and multiplatform content
From just serving the needs of local audiences five years ago, Made-by-Singapore content nowadays can be found entertaining audiences across the globe in over 50 countries, including the United States, Germany, New Zealand and China. Driving this outcome is a content strategy that encourages co-productions with leading international players to facilitate access to worldwide markets, as well as skills and knowledge transfer.

Source: News Release 16 Apr 2008

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