Mediacorp lauded for improving content quality and embracing digital

The Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA)’s programming advisory committees (PACs) have lauded Mediacorp for improving its content offering on various platforms. The PACs provide IMDA with feedback from a community perspective on content standards matters and the quality of broadcast content, particularly, locally-produced public service broadcast content.

According to the PACs' report, Mediacorp was lauded for featuring fresh concepts and better-crafted storylines, scripts and characters. These new concepts were more authentic and reflective of life in Singapore. Mediacorp was also praised for addressing previous concerns over the need for fairer racial representation in Mandarin dramas.

An increased breadth of issues was also found to be explored in public service broadcast dramas across languages. These dramas encompassed themes and subject matters which were timely, educational and of social or cultural significance.

However, greater consistency is still needed in the quality of scripting and technical standards.

According to the PACs, standards of scripting and technical aspects for dramas across the languages were still inconsistent, and that there were productions still lagging in these areas.

Rise of digital

Broadcasters were also commended for leveraging digital media to increase the reach of its current affairs programmes and content. This includes “CNA Insider”, which was found by PAC members to be “discoverable and shareable” on social media. However, for Mandarin current affairs programmes, more appealing ways to present facts and information was desired, such as infographics.

Despite the increased efforts through digital, PAC members found a gap in credible, creatively presented current affairs series that would appeal to younger audiences.

Meanwhile, PACs also commended PSB broadcasters and production partners for increasing the amount of PSB content on digital and social media space. This included the rise of PSB productions for Toggle, which explored topics relevant to digital natives, as well as short-form online content which resonated with Singaporean youths.

Further enhancements were also suggested for better user experience. Beyond developments to the Toggle interface and functions, such as better streaming quality and search functions, PACs saw the need for Mediacorp to monetise effectively without compromising the users’ viewing experience.

The report also commended the partnerships with new PSB players to better meet the demands of a mobile and more tech-savvy generation.

As Mediacorp’s primary online platform reaching out to viewers, members emphasised the importance of continually improving Toggle to meet competition from other OTT platforms,” the report read.

Following IMDA’s partnership with Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), PACs recognised the potential of SPH as a PSB partner.

However, more targeted branding and presentation of content, along with better use of social media as publicity tools was suggested to better appeal to discerning digital audiences.

Feedback on content breaches and content standards

According to the report, PACs deliberated over 24 content standards and programming issues. The cases involved content on FTA TV, subscription TV, and radio platforms.

Mediacorp was issued a warning over an inappropriately rated Tamil movie on Vasantham for breaching the FTA TV Programme Code. It was also fined SG$5,500 for racially insensitive depiction on Toggle web drama “I Want To Be A Star”, following reports on one of the episodes with a “blackface” character.

Meanwhile, SPH Radio was fined SG$7,000 for remarks stereotyping races on morning show on Kiss 92. The segment breached the FTA Radio Programme Code which states that “Programmes which denigrate or are likely to offend the sensitivities of any racial or religious group should not be broadcast” and “Racial and religious stereotyping must be avoided”.

PACs also reviewed prank call segments aired across some Mediacorp radio stations, This followed public feedback received that these segments were “mean-spirited and should not be encouraged as impressionable younger listeners may imitate such behaviour”.

“IMDA has since conveyed the sentiments to Mediacorp and reminded that deejays should not bully, harass or offend the party on the other line and that consent must be sought from prank subjects for broadcast, to which the broadcaster duly acknowledged,” the report stated.

Last year, Mediacorp was flagged for unclear distinction between advertising and entertainment programmes. While committees had no objections to the use of a programme’s artistes and sets in advertorial segments, they were of the view that such segments should be clearly distinguishable from the rest of the programme.