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MDA: Singapore gears up for the Future of Media

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Singapore is gearing up to exploit the opportunities in a rapidly-transforming media landscape with initiatives that seed the development and delivery of next-generation consumer applications, services and experiences. These include the start of 3D TV trial across multiple platforms and the award of funding to innovative industry projects that are expected to change the way media and entertainment are consumed in future.

In addition, plans are underway to develop a prototype of the future Mediapolis@one-north. Known as Mediapolis Phase Æ (pronounced “Phase Zero”), the 16,000 square metres interim space which is expected to be ready for occupancy by first quarter of 2011 will cater primarily to the incubation of start-ups as well as test-bedding and prototyping of new, innovative concepts in the various media sectors including interactive digital media, film and broadcast.

Launch of 3D TV trial

Stereoscopic 3D is set to migrate from the cinemas to homes with the start of a one-year 3D TV trial by the Media Development Authority of Singapore. The trial kicks off today on terrestrial TV, cable TV and Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) in partnership with MediaCorp, Starhub and SingTel and involves the 3D recording of the National Day Parade. In addition to the broadcasters, other technology partners participating in the trial include Panasonic, Ross Video, Evertz, XpanD and Multimedia Maestro.

The trial enables the trial partners to test their transmission signals on different platforms, and address technical challenges in the delivery of 3D content to homes, whilst allowing service providers to explore viable business opportunities as they harness 3D technology to provide consumers with wider choices and better quality.

Apart from leading the trial with the partners, MDA will also launch a S$5 million fund to facilitate the trial and drive the development of content, talent and media services in the area of 3D. Depending on the progress of the trial, the broadcasters may choose to extend the trial to include consumers.

Dr Christopher Chia, CEO, MDA said: “The success of 3D movies and advances in digital technology has sparked strong interest in 3D developments worldwide. Our strategy has been to boost the development of stereoscopic 3D content, applications and services and build an industry of 3D production experts to meet future demand. Today, Singapore is one of the first territories in the world with one-stop, end-to-end production and post-production capabilities in theatrical stereoscopic 3D.

“With the 3D TV trial laying the groundwork to bring 3D experience to homes, Singapore is once again harnessing the latest digital technology to develop and deploy cutting-edge media services.”

Says Chang Long Jong, Deputy CEO, Television, MediaCorp, “As the national broadcaster, MediaCorp is constantly exploring new avenues to deliver valued content to our viewers. MediaCorp is firmly committed to the 3D TV trial and will produce content in 3D, starting with the recording and post production of NDP2010. Concurrently, MediaCorp will commence technical trial this month to determine the most suitable technology standard.”

Mr Titus Yong, Vice President of Satellite, SingTel said: “SingTel has over 20 years experience in the broadcast industry, and we are excited to play an important role in the national 3D trial. We are the first to enable content providers to deliver 3D content to consumers in Singapore and the region via satellite and platforms such as mio TV. We also offer essential tools to aid in the end-to-end production of 3D content. These include solutions for processing raw footage into formats for tapeless delivery, as well as editing and post-production services.”

“We know how much Singaporeans like exploring new gadgets and staying abreast of the latest technologies. For the Broadcast industry, we believe 3D TV is the next wave of innovation. SingTel is proud to be part of the 3D TV revolution to offer enhanced viewing experience to our customers,” add Mr Edward Ying, Chief of Content and Media, SingTel.

Mr Chan Kin Hung, Head of Products & Solutions, StarHub said: “As the leading innovative pay TV operator in Singapore, StarHub is committed not only to offering a compelling range of programmes to local viewers but also to keeping abreast of technology developments that boost our capabilities to deliver a superior viewing experience to our customers. We recognise the great potential of 3D TV which offers a new level of viewing experience to our customers, and we will work towards providing local viewers with the ultimate user experience by ‘bringing the 3D cinematic experience right to their living room’.”

Ramping up innovation in Interactive Digital Media

Industry players will be awarded S$10.5 million for some 23 projects that are expected to propel the local interactive digital media (IDM) sector to the next level and change how we consume content in the near future.

Selected from 156 proposals through the Future of Media Calls for Proposals last year, these projects are expected to commit close to $50 million of total investment in Singapore and create 200 new jobs over the next 2 years. The Future of Media initiative envisions to catalyse growth in the IDM sector by clustering our industry to create leading positions in targeted areas to leverage on each other to create a collective vision and strength to shape the media landscape.

Through this initiative, MDA has also marshalled five groups of partner networks bringing together more than 160 companies including large media companies and start-ups to collaborate on the projects and explore strategies on how best to expand their footprints into high growth regions in Asia such as China.

Interestingly, the Future of Media initiative has spurred digital media companies to move beyond the media sector and develop projects to embed IDM into other sectors of the economy such as healthcare and education. For example, ST Electronics will be creating virtual 3D environments for stroke patient rehabilitation and cognitive study of dementia patients while the Singapore Centre for Chinese Language is working with publishing partners such as Pearson and Wholetree to roll out interactive media applications to facilitate Chinese language learning. Such positive outcome will further enhance and consolidate Singapore’s position as the preferred place for research and development in IDM.

Singapore strengthen ties with our international partners

Building on the strong bilateral relationship Singapore have with Korea, MDA will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation for a Safer Broadcasting and Communications Environment with the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC) on 15 June 2010.

As Korea’s media arbitration commission, the KCSC plays a key role in determining public value and fairness of broadcast and Internet content in Korea. The MOU will serve as an important platform for both sides for greater exchange of information on matters of mutual interest and to develop cooperative mechanisms and best practices relating to media content regulation especially in this increasingly converging world where lines between broadcasting and communications are increasingly blurred.

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