Mr Joseph Del Mar Yap

Ambassador of the Philippines to Singapore,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning. I am delighted to join all of you here at the opening of the Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) and ScreenSingapore. I am sure we will have many meaningful conversations and forge numerous new partnerships, to write the next chapter of Asian storytelling together.

Asia is Now: Asian storytelling making waves across the globe

2 2018 has been a hallmark year for Asian content, with Asia taking the spotlight across the globe. We saw the debut of made-with-Singapore TV productions like Folklore, a horror anthology helmed by Singaporean filmmaker Eric Khoo. The anthology gathered acclaimed directors from around Asia, including Joko Anwar and Ho Yuhang, to bring to life haunting tales based on deeply rooted supernatural beliefs. Supported by IMDA and in partnership with HBO Asia, the series was shot and produced in six Asian countries in their respective local languages. Each episode has debuted at prestigious film festivals to critical acclaim. Genre programmes such as horror traverse language and cultural barriers easily, bringing audiences around the world a taste of Asian supernatural and cultural stories.

3 We are also all familiar with the success of Crazy Rich Asians, which has grossed US$236 million worldwide to date. The film featured 12 Singaporean and Singapore-based cast and a crew of close to 300 Singaporeans and permanent residents. Their success is testament to the draw of Asian content and the strength of Asian talent, and the potential to build ever-larger audiences.

Singapore Media Festival at the heart of celebrating Asian storytelling

4 The Singapore Media Festival (SMF) and its constituent events are great avenues to celebrate the best in Asian storytelling. The festival has grown from strength to strength with more than US$1 billion worth of deals and partnerships having been inked here over the past five years. Over 20,000 delegates and festival attendees from more than 50 countries attended the festival last year, and we expect an equally strong showing this year.

5 This edition of the SMF brings a rich showcase of content all across Asia, including multiple film premieres. Our country-of-focus, the Philippines, is celebrating 100 years of Philippine cinema with a captivating line-up of films. Mikhail Red’s Eerie just made its world premiere here on Monday. Eerie was one of 15 finalists at last year’s Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market. It is the first of a six-film co-production deal between the Philippines and Singapore, and what I trust will be many collaborations to come.

6 We are also excited to host new platforms for budding Asian media talent to hone their skills under the tutelage of international experts. The ATF is partnering GHY Culture and Media, a Singapore-based Chinese company, to hold the inaugural ATF Chinese Pitch to identify innovative concepts for the Chinese market. The winners stand a chance for their scripts to be bought and commissioned to become reality. Aspiring young talent with an eye on online platforms will be able to learn the ropes from Nuseir Yassin, creator of viral video series Nas Daily. Not only will he be speaking later this morning, but he will also mentor three Singapore content creators to create their own one-minute videos, to be screened at the Singapore Hour. As the current generation of content creators nurtures the next, we can expect Asian stories to continue to shine bright in the years to come.

The Government will support SMEs so they can thrive in a digital media landscape

7 The media environment continues to evolve at a fast pace. We recognise the need for stronger, more agile companies and better skilled professionals to seize opportunities in Asia and beyond. Not only must we build creative skills, which remain important in the media sector, but also digital skills, so our media SMEs and professionals can thrive in an increasingly digital environment. This is why IMDA is launching the Media Industry Digital Plan (IDP) today, to better support SMEs in the media industry. Aligned with the Infocomm Media Industry Transformation Map (ITM), the Media IDP is part of the SMEs Go Digital programme to make going digital simple for SMEs at different stages of growth.

8 As a start, the Digital Roadmap of the Media IDP will help media SMEs assess their digital readiness. The Media IDP recognises that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to going digital, and offers bite-size solutions to SMEs as building blocks. SMEs can adopt solutions to improve their basic business capabilities such as in customer relationship and human resource management with support from the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG). SMEs can also look forward to solutions tailored to the media industry in areas such as media production and contract management. Further, SMEs can seek assistance at their nearest SME Centres or be referred to the SME Digital Tech Hub for more advanced digital needs.

9 Our support extends not just to the media SMEs, but also to media professionals. The Media IDP provides a training roadmap to prepare the industry’s workforce for digital transformation. This is aligned to the Skills Framework for Infocomm Technology (ICT) launched last year and the upcoming Skills Framework for Media. All media professionals can upskill themselves through broad-based digital literacy courses or specialised training in areas including immersive media, to keep pace with industry changes. Those with an interest to join the industry will also be able to identify the competencies they require.

10 In a media landscape undergoing rapid changes, content creators need data to stay plugged into audiences’ preferences. To encourage local media players to move towards data-driven content creation, content proposals for the Public Service Broadcasting Contestable Funds Scheme (PCFS) will need to demonstrate how they are using data insights. China’s iQiyi blockbuster palace drama, The Story of Yanxi Palace, was produced after data analysis indicated demand for such content. 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. Local media players interested in picking up foundational knowledge on data analysis and application can begin by attending a 1.5-day data workshop organised by the Singapore Media Academy. It will be held on 20 and 21 December and is open to all Singapore content creators and production houses.

Conclusion

11 With all the exciting initiatives in place, we hope to position our local media companies for success. We welcome everyone to take part in building this ecosystem of strong Asian stories, and I wish everyone a fruitful time here at the festival