STARHUB and the Media Development Authority (MDA) will together spend up to S$10 million this year to commission over 80 hours of original local productions on television and digital platforms.
MDA will provide its share of the money under the public service broadcast contestable funds (PCFS) scheme for 2015. The PCFS aims to extend the reach of public-service broadcast (PSB) content to multiple broadcast platforms beyond just free-to-air TV; it also aims to provide content producers with more opportunities to produce innovative, high-quality PSB programmes.
A StarHub spokeswoman said the content produced under the scheme will incorporate PSB values; these include the celebrating of Singapore's culture and heritage, enhancing of racial and religious harmony and the promotion of the Singapore identity.
StarHub, in evaluating the proposals submitted by production companies, will look out for innovative concepts that can engage audiences on TV and online platforms and are well produced, she added.
This is the second time StarHub has been awarded funding. In 2013, it became the first pay TV operator in Singapore to be awarded funding under the PCFS.
Titles that were commissioned with the funds include:
- My Secret App, a family drama about a precocious boy who helps his family tide over difficult times with an out-of-the-world gadget;
- Pursuit of Champions, an edu-tainment programme documenting the challenges faced by Singapore athletes who pursue their sporting dreams in overseas; and
- Saturday Night Lights, a documentary on how soccer brings meaning, hope and inspiration to a group of boys from broken homes and troubled families.
Content produced under the scheme will be showcased on StarHub's self-packaged channels, E City and SuperSports Arena. Viewers who prefer to watch these shows on StarHub TV Anywhere, the telco's internet TV platform, will be able to access the content within six months, free-of-charge.
Lee Soo Hui, StarHub's head of its Media Business Unit, said the telco was pleased to be awarded PSB funding for the second time. "Our first wave of PSB content was well-received, with better ratings than the programmes shown on the same time-belts. This goes to show that compelling storytelling infused with a local flavour are integral in drawing viewers' attention.
"To address the rising trend of viewers going online, we hope to produce short-form content that will appeal to online consumers."
Dorothy Lai, MDA's director of Public Service Broadcast, noted that as media consumption habits shift towards online platforms, Singapore content producers can benefit from having more resources and opportunities to create innovative and quality content on different platforms to engage a wider audience. "Through this round of PCFS funding, viewers can also enjoy greater programme variety, including short-form content on platforms beyond free-to-air TV."
Starhub will run a briefing for production companies on the commissioning of original programming on Aug 17.