IMDA sets up SG$20m fund to build up SG media talent and ecosystem

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is setting aside SG$20 million in its call for media fund partners to jointly support projects and provide access to opportunities in the region.

As part of its efforts to uplift the capabilities of media talent and to enhance the vibrancy of Singapore’s media ecosystem, IMDA is partnering with HOOQ, CJ ENM Hong Kong, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) , and Tencent/VS Media for "Made with Singapore" content. This is in a bid to raise the capabilities and expand the business networks of local media companies and talent.

Singapore-based OTT platform HOOQ and IMDA will co-fund content productions for streaming to new markets across Southeast Asia and India through this collaboration. The IMDA x HOOQ collaboration will also include masterclasses being conducted by HOOQ executives or its industry partners. CJ ENM Hong Kong (regional office of CJ ENM South Korea) will conduct training workshops led by its executives and partners, and co-develop and co-produce scripted content to be distributed first on digital platforms.

Meanwhile, IMDA will collaborate with VIMN to support digital studio productions in Singapore and open up opportunities for media talent and companies here, such as co-productions for digital-first content. Also, the partnership with Tencent and VS Media will identify and groom promising Singapore digital content creators, media and technology SMEs/early start-ups to meet the demands of Tencent’s Southeast Asia expansion plans while working with Singapore content creators to access the market in China through a series of training initiatives.

IMDA also aims to enhance the quality and reach of local content by tying up with mm2 Entertainment to produce a slate of five Chinese infotainment series that will be released on its new OTT platform, mPlay Asia, which will be available from April 2020. It is also supporting four projects under the Public Service Media Digital Partnership Fund (PDPF) which will be co-produced by three Singaporean production companies - Wawa Pictures, Robot Playground Media and Infocus Asia.

The five info-tainment series will be produced in short video format and feature themes such as health, wellness and extreme sports as well as shine the spotlight on young entrepreneurs and youths who are making a difference to society.

The PDPF was launched to support collaborations between Singapore media companies and international media players on digital-first public service content projects. With growing interest in the media industry to pursue international/regional content projects, IMDA said in the press statement that it will launch a second call for proposals in early 2020 to support more collaborations for the creation of innovative public service content that would appeal to audiences in Singapore and beyond.

Also, Facebook will return as a partner for the Facebook Creator Lab, following the first cycle launched in December 2018. During that cycle, Facebook identified four groups of Singapore digital content creators – Our Grandfather Story, RockstarArms (Keeping it Real), Sharefood Singapore, and The Travel Intern - to create original content on the social network’s new video platform “Facebook Watch”. The series of partnerships above are supported by IMDA’s Capabilites Partnership Programme, which was launched in 2018 to anchor leading players in the tech and media industries to elevate the capabilities of media SMEs.

HBO Asia has come on board for 12-month The Story Lab Apprenticeship (SLA) programme, which was launched by IMDA in August this year to provide local media professionals with the opportunity to work on projects under the mentorship of media veterans.

HOOQ will also be collaborating with IMDA to produce up to three scripts to develop pilot episodes from stories developed from IMDA’s WritersLab: Script to Screen (S2S) initiative. The three scriptwriters will get valuable experience being part of a production team of the pilot episode of their script. HOOQ will also be providing viewership data from their platform so that the writers will learn how data can be leveraged to make creative and business decisions; better understand their target audience; and reach out to a regional audience. Viewers can expect to watch these episodes on HOOQ’s platform in mid-2020.