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IMDA launches S$20m fund to boost funding of regional media projects in Singapore

[SINGAPORE] To boost financing for media projects - be they television shows, animated features or movies - Singapore's government is setting aside S$20 million in a call for media-fund partners to jointly fund such projects in the region.

There are no restrictions on the types of projects involved, but interested parties must set up in and invest out of Singapore, and have an established track record in media fund management.

The announcement was made by Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran at the Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) and ScreenSingapore at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre on Wednesday morning.

Calling the programme by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) the first of its kind in South-east Asia, Mr Iswaran said: "Singapore aims to do more to involve the private sector as we develop a deeper financing ecosystem to support regional productions and talent."

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The call for more co-funded media projects are among several initiatives that are expected to boost the number of what the authority calls "made with Singapore" productions, or projects borne out of collaborations between local content producers with international partners.

Mr Iswaran said: "From 'made by Singapore' to 'made with Singapore', we believe Singapore can serve as a gateway between the world and the region - facilitating exchanges, creating partnerships, and enabling regional talent to fulfil their aspirations."

Other initiatives furthering this intent are a number of new deals between IMDA and major global players such as Viacom International Media Networks, the international division of American media giant Viacom, as well as CJ ENM Hong Kong, the regional office of South Korean entertainment company CJ ENM.

Both partnerships will give local small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the media industry the chance to co-produce content made first for online platforms.

 

Meanwhile, CJ ENM Hong Kong will also conduct training workshops led by its executives and its industry partners. CJ ENM is known for producing hit South Korean dramas such as Hotel Del Luna (2019) and Guardian: The Lonely And Great God (2016).

Local media talent and companies will also be given the chance to produce content that will be distributed to other South-east Asian and Indian markets through the collaboration between IMDA and streaming company Hooq.

Hooq's streaming service is available throughout the region.

IMDA will also launch a second call for proposals for a fund which encourages Singapore media players to collaborate with international partners to develop public service content for digital platforms.

This follows the inaugural run announced last year.

Called the Public Service Media Digital Partnership Fund, it is supporting four projects across various genres so far.

Among them is an animated anthology series co-produced by Singapore's Robot Playground Media and Malaysia's The R&D Studio, which will consist of seven short films inspired by the shared heritage and culture from both sides of the Causeway.

IMDA said it is also partnering Singapore's mm2 Entertainment, a wholly-owned subsidiary of mainboard-listed mm2 Asia, to produce five Chinese infotainment series that will be released on mm2's upcoming video streaming platform, mPlay Asia.

The ATF and ScreenSingapore run until Friday and are constituent events of the Singapore Media Festival, which covers film, TV and digital media trends and trade deals.

THE STRAITS TIMES