SINGAPORE, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- With new opportunities arising in the media industry from technological shifts, business and industry consolidation, and heightened interest in Asian content, the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) of Singapore has unveiled a series of new initiatives to raise the vibrancy of Singapore's media ecosystem.
Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran made the announcement on Wednesday at the Asia TV Forum & Market and ScreenSingapore, which is part of the annual Singapore Media Festival.
Noting that Singapore is at the "crossroads of the East and West", it has the potential to contribute further to the "evolution and development" of the media industry in Singapore, the region and globally, he said.
ENABLING MORE "MADE-WITH-SINGAPORE" CONTENT
To foster more of such regional collaborations and to reach a wider market, the Singapore Film Commission will launch a Southeast Asia Co-production Grant next year.
The grant encourages collaborations between Singaporean creative producers and Southeast Asian filmmaking talents, with funding support of up to 250,000 Singapore dollars (about 183,800 U.S. dollars) per project.
"Local producers can be supported in their overseas expansion and growth, in order to create even more compelling content that appeals to a much wider audience," Iswaran added.
IMDA will also step up its funding support by launching a Public Service Media (PSM) Digital Partnership Fund, with a view to helping content producers tell Singapore stories on digital platforms.
IMDA is also embarking on partnerships to bring about more skills exchange in digital content creation.
For instance, under Disney's proposed two-year collaboration with IMDA, content creators can be involved to develop and produce the content studio's first slate of digital-first, multiplatform original series, targeted at the Southeast Asian markets.
DEVELOPING "FUTURE-READY" INDUSTRY TALENT
To complement these new collaborations, Singapore needs a "targeted and deliberate approach" to develop the pool of media talent to take on more "interesting and exciting opportunities", said Iswaran.
In 2017 alone, more than 20,000 media professionals were employed across the economy, and "this demand will certainly grow as there is a keener appreciation for the talent in this sector to contribute to the overall growth of businesses in the digital era," he added.
Iswaran on Wednesday also launched the new Skills Framework for Media, which was jointly developed by the IMDA, SkillsFuture Singapore which gives out grants and funding for lifelong training for Singaporeans and Workforce Singapore, together with employers, industry associations, unions and education and training institutions.
The framework provides guidance on new skills in demand and career progression for over 100 different media jobs, ranging from content production and management, game design, media business management and so on.
Local companies such as Mediacorp, Singapore Press Holdings, MM2 Entertainment, and ShopBack have already come on board to adopt the framework.
Separately, the IMDA also rolled out its Media Industry Digital Plan, which was announced by Sim Ann, senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information.
The plan will help small and medium enterprises in media assess their digital readiness.
Pointing to how China's blockbuster palace drama "The Story of Yanxi Palace" was produced after data analysis showed demand for such content, Sim also urged local media players to "move towards data-driven content creation".
"With data guiding content creation, local viewers can look forward to the next blockbuster hit, or the next defining TV series that celebrates Singapore culture and becomes part of our collective memory," she said.