CNA: Creating New Asia

The government wants to make Singapore a media hub, and I do believe that Singapore will eventually be a media hub in Asia, but it will take a lot of effort to make it happen. It takes a fusion of ingredients: film, television, music, publishing, games, animation and media services mixed together. However putting them together does not make it a cake. You have to put it thru heat before it is baked into a media cake.

It takes a fusion of ingredients: film, television, music, publishing, games, animation and media services mixed together to make Singapore a media hot cake. However putting them together does not make it a cake. You have to put it through heat and have compelling services before you get a honey glazed product that will achieve region domination.

 

We have made significant progress in the international media scene. Recently, the government has committed ‘significant’ resources into developing home grown talent and attracting skilled foreigners, as part of a new master plan to transform Singapore into a vibrant media hub.

 

Big firms like Lucas Arts, Discovery Asia, Disney Channel, production houses like Mark Burnett Productions (famous for their reality TV programmes, “Survivor” and “Contender Asia”), Japan’s renowned Koei video game studio and Europe’s largest game developer, Ubisoft, have set bases here.

 

In addition, Singapore has much to look forward to over the next few years. The potential for greater growth in the media industry is promising, especially with the upcoming establishment of two Integrated Resorts, the hosting of Formula 1 and the inaugural Youth Olympics in 2010.

 

While our future is vibrant, there are a few areas that could hinder our progress. With all the heat about strict censorship laws and freedom of speech that is lacking here, especially in the online new media, some adjustments may be needed.

 

Currently, materials must pass through the Board of Film Censors. Any Internet content that discusses “political or religious issues relating to Singapore” is illegal without a license. Therefore, the Films Act outlaws any moving images, including youTube clips embedded into blogs that deal with this sensitive issue.

 

Just recently, MediaCorp TV Channel 5 and Star Hub Cable were both fined by Media Development Authority (MDA) because they aired programs that seemed to justify or glamorize homosexual lifestyles.

 

However, in spite of these hindrances, the possibilities are still evident in making Singapore a media hub. The government plays an active role in the Internet and many areas of the media. It has invested a lot into the entire structure of Singapore’s media capabilities.

 

The role of media is not just a political one, but also one of profit making. Reuters reported a 14.7% increase in revenue of $312.1 million with just the print media alone this 1st quarter. The last 3 years has seen the media sector in Singapore reaching $18.2 Billion according to MDA.

 

The beauty of baking this cake is that there is a global demand for Singapore’s multiplatform content. We may never be sure of the right ingredients, pressure, heat and timing to create that right cake. But we could be optimistic in believing that there is something good for all of us in the future because Singapore is leveraging in creation, management and distribution of digital media content. And I’m sure the whole world is heading towards that as well. :)

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