Parliament Sitting on 9 January 2023


50. Mr Leong Mun Wai: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) for each year from 2011 to 2021, how much is the Government’s annual spending for advertising on (i) traditional media such as print and television advertisements (ii) online media such as Facebook and TikTok advertisements and (iii) sponsored posts and videos by online content creators and influencers; and (b) what is the total number of impressions and clicks for each advertising medium for the same period.


In a written reply in July 2016 to Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong’s question, the Government explained that it did not keep track of the total amount Ministries spend on online advertisements. This is because Ministries are responsible for their own advertising budget and expenditure. 

2. Since then, with the introduction of Whole-of-Government demand aggregation for advertising procurement in October 2018, the Ministry of Communications and Information has been able to track a significant proportion of annual spending for advertising. 

3. MCI estimates that Government’s annual spending for advertising was between $150 million and $175 million or around 0.2 percent of total Government expenditure in FY2019.  It increased between 30 and 50 percent in FY2020 and FY2021, due to the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis during which the Government needed to reach wide segments of the population, get messages to them frequently to keep them up-to-date on the unfolding nature of the pandemic crisis as well as to apprise them of essential information including the benefits of vaccination and vaccination locations. Regular advertising to encourage take-up of the bivalent vaccine is on-going and continues to be needed. The Government also increased spending for advertisements to disseminate information on support schemes, employment assistance, upskilling and reskilling training for career development and pivoting to jobs in growth sectors. 

4. For the first half of FY2022, estimated spending is between $50 and $75 million under the demand aggregation contracting for advertising on traditional and online media. Of this, more than half went towards advertising in traditional media like print, Free-to-Air television and radio. Further breakdown of the spending cannot be released because it is market sensitive and affects MCI’s bargaining position with media owners on pricing of advertisement placement rates.

5. MCI does not track the total number of impressions and clicks for each advertising medium for all Government advertising because Ministries themselves are responsible for measuring the effectiveness of their advertising. As an indication from MCI’s own advertising initiatives, COVID-19 vaccination and safe management measures on e-Getai shows that are targeted at Chinese seniors received over 7.5 million views in total. MCI also advertised several catchy music videos on the benefits of vaccination to appeal to different age groups and these have received over 9 million views online. One of the music videos, “Get your shot, Steady Pom Pi Pi” which features the character Phua Chu Kang, received over 1.7 million views on YouTube and 1.8 million views on Facebook. Polls show that 3 in 4 members of the public think that the Government has provided sufficient information on COVID-19. Over 86 percent agreed that vaccination messages helped in their decision to get vaccinated. 



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