Singapore Media Festival: IMDA tie-up with audio content company Audible announced

Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran at the opening ceremony of the Asia TV Forum & Market and ScreenSingapore on Dec 1, 2020. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - Over 70 media professionals and at least 10 Singapore media companies are expected to benefit from a partnership between the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Audible, one of the world's largest producers and sellers of original spoken-word entertainment and audio titles.

Up to 10 scripts developed by participants in the Audible Accelerator programme will be produced into an up-to-30-minute audio pilot which will be tested on Audible's services to an international audience. The call for participation in the Audible Accelerator programme closed on Oct 25.

The partnership was announced by Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran on Tuesday morning (Dec 1) at the opening ceremony of the Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) and ScreenSingapore, held as part of the annual Singapore Media Festival (SMF).

He spoke at the Hybrid Broadcast Studio at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. The event was streamed live on Facebook.

The IMDA's collaboration with established global media companies such as Audible and multimedia company KC Global Media Singapore - to develop projects with a regional appeal - fall under the Capability Partnership Programme (CPP), which was launched in 2018 and aims to grow local talent and bring made-with-Singapore content to an international stage.

"We have developed a pipeline for local SMEs to partner and learn from global media players... This series of collaborations is expected to benefit nearly 90 local media companies and over 700 media professionals in 2021 through job creation and opportunities for upskilling," Mr Iswaran said.

In a prepared statement, Ms Karen Appathurai Wiggins, vice-president for content, Asia Pacific, at Audible, said: "We are thrilled to work with IMDA and to tap into Singapore's rich talent pool. It is a nation ripe with artistic talent but the audio and spoken-word category is still emerging.

"We hope to develop the capabilities of the artistic talent who have faced challenges as a result of the pandemic, and lay a foundation to new creative pathways and opportunities in the audio content field."

In addition to the CPP, Mr Iswaran talked about the IMDA's initiatives to support the local media sector through the Covid-19 pandemic. These include the $8 million Public Service Content (PSC) Fund, launched earlier this year.

Created in partnership with Singapore Press Holdings, Mediacorp and short video platform Viddsee, the fund aims to help create projects through commissions of short-form content for digital platforms.

Following a call for proposals, the fund was awarded to 78 new commissions, benefiting 67 local media companies. These include August Pictures, Verite Productions and Butterworks. Twenty-two new titles were released on meWatch, Viddsee and SPH's digital platforms in November, with more titles to be released progressively by September 2021.

The Singapore Media Festival opened on Nov 26 and runs till Sunday. Hosted by the IMDA, it brings together the Asian Academy Creative Awards, Asia TV Forum & Market and ScreenSingapore and Singapore International Film Festival.

The festival facilitated $2.3 billion worth of deals between home-grown and international media companies from 2014 to last year.

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