What IMDA’s new initiatives and global partnerships mean for local content producers

The pandemic has certainly proved a challenging time for all. But while demand for logistical and delivery services have sky-rocketed, other sectors like the tourism, arts and media, have it a lot tougher.

To cushion the impact of COVID-19 on the media sector, the government launched initiatives under IMDA and support packages for freelancers earlier in the year. As a media professional, were you fortunate enough to have benefitted from these initiatives, or have you found them lacking?

If it’s the latter, perhaps the latest announcement of IMDA’s new initiatives and events to support and catalyse local content production can be indicative of hope for Singapore’s media climate.

New local content funded by the Public Service Content (PSC) Fund is now available for viewing on digital platforms

You might’ve heard of IMDA’s new $8 million PSC Fund, which was launched earlier in April this year. Following a Call for Proposal, the fund was awarded to 78 commissions for short-form content, benefitting 67 local media companies such as August Pictures, Verite Productions and Butterworks

There are now 22 new titles available for viewing on www.meWATCH.sg, www.viddsee.com and SPH’s digital platforms, including the love anthology series Love Unbound. More titles are scheduled to be released by September 2021.

More partnerships and initiatives under the Capability Partnership Programme (CPP) to nurture local talent and bring “Made-with-Singapore” content to an international stage

IMDA announced two new partnerships with Audible and KC Global Media Singapore, as well as new initiatives with existing global media partners, like CJ ENM HK and WarnerMedia, which will be introduced in the coming months. 

This series of collaborations with global media partners are expected to benefit nearly 90 local media companies and over 700 media professionals in 2021 through job creation and opportunities for upskilling.

An Audible banner featuring children's audiobooks, which are available for streaming for free.
Source: audible UK

One of the new partnerships is the development of original audio content with Audible, an Amazon company. The first-of-its-kind “Audible Accelerator” will provide training in audio development and production, and identify original stories for distribution on Audible’s services around the world. 

Over 70 media professionals and at least 10 Singapore media companies are expected to benefit from the programme. Up to ten scripts developed by Audible Accelerator participants will be selected to be produced into an up-to-30-minute audio pilot which will be tested on Audible’s services to an international audience. 

Meanwhile, the other partnership with KC Global Media Singapore will see further collaborations with local media companies to conceptualise and co-develop original scripts with a regional appeal.

IMDA and existing media partners have more opportunities in store

In an effort to tap on new market opportunities for animation productions, ViacomCBS will be partnering with Singapore-grown production studios. Under the mentorship of media veterans at ViacomCBS, Singapore companies and talent have the chance to develop an original animation series for each of ViacomCBS’ flagship brands, MTV Asia and Nickelodeon Asia

The collaboration is expected to benefit 19 creative media professionals in roles including writers, producers, and animation artists.

IMDA hosts new partner events at Singapore Media Festival to spur on creation of local online content

The seventh edition of the Singapore Media Festival is underway via a mixed virtual and physical format and runs until 6 December. The festival, which includes Singapore International Film Festival, is joined by two new events this year – Gamescom Asia’s inaugural Singapore Games Market Bootcamp and Southeast Asia’s first virtual gaming and esports festival and awards show, SuperGamerFest.

A 2020 Singapore Media Festival banner reveals participating events such as Singapore International Film Festival, SuperGamerFest, gamescom asia and VidCon.
Source: IMDA

Singapore Games Market Bootcamp, which took place on 30 November, is part of a Digital Miniseries of events produced by the organisers of Gamescom Asia. It saw the broadcast of its inaugural hybrid event to viewers across the globe, featuring in-depth presentations and panel discussion on the Singaporean games market.

VidCon, the world’s largest celebration of online video and digital creators, also launched its first Vidcon Now Asia series in Singapore on 3 December, with new digital sessions scheduled afterward on a bi-weekly basis throughout 2021 – all of it for free!

The launch event focused on the present and future of the region’s online and community-led media. Speakers included leading creators and media players like Patrick Starrr, Mr Kate, and Wengie, as well as a special live appearance from kuki.bot, the world’s first synthetic AI transhuman and her creators.

A VidCon Now Asia event banner features event guests, Patrick Starr and the AI bot, Kuki.
Source: IMDA

For more information on Vidcon Now Asia sessions, you can view and register at VidCon.com/now.

So what do you think?

Some of these initiatives may only apply to those that are part of bigger media companies. If you are a freelancer or from a smaller media company, you might fall through the cracks… again.

Still, the only way for the local media sector to survive COVID-19 is if we continue to show our support for locally produced content and events. Be it watching the PSC-funded titles like Love Unbound or gaining new insights via Vidcon Now Asia sessions, either are good places to start.

You can also check out our round-up of 7 Art Exhibits and Music Events to attend before 2020 ends. From digital showcases to live music performances, we’ve got you covered!

Author: Desiree Goh

Desiree is a fan of anything that promises a good story with interesting characters and set in a world more interesting than this one. Alternatively, she can be found crusading Tumblr with an arsenal of GIFs.

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