On Tuesday (14 April), several initiatives have been introduced by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in an effort to safeguard jobs as well as assist the local media sector endure the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to IMDA, with the new measures in place, media firms can more easily benefit from reduced operating costs, production project opportunities in addition to aiding freelancers and media professionals in upskilling and training.
For example, media professionals will benefit in future months from the newly introduced S$8 million Public Service Content Fund which helps promote more production projects.
Companies such as Singapore Press Holdings, Mediacorp and Viddsee will commission short-form content for their digital platforms under the new initiative. The commissioning will be done through a call for proposal (CFP). On 23 April, the first CFP will be introduced by Mediacorp, and over S$150,000 funds will be available for each project call.
IMDA stated that media companies should prepare for production work when COVID-19 measures are lifted. They should do so by starting to plan, conceptualise, and submitting their proposals during the current “circuit-breaker” period.
Furthermore, IMDA will help with funding by matching and contributing S$20,000 to the Singapore Association for Motion Picture Professionals’ COVID-19 Relief Fund. Film and TV media practitioners impacted by the postponement and cancellation of projects will receive grants from the relief fund between S$300 and S$500.
Also, a training grant of over 90 per cent of course fees will be provided by the authority to assist in the upskilling of Self-Employed Persons (SEPs). This grant has a maximum cap of S$3,000 for each course under the Talent Assistance Programme. IMDA reminded that SEPs, including freelancers can benefit from both subsidised fees and training allowance for eligible courses.
From 17 April onwards, film exhibition and distribution licence fees for media firms will also be waived by the agency. The waiver is applicable to the renewal of existing licenses as well as new license applications. IMDA added that label fees as well as classification fees for film (public exhibition and video distribution) and video will be waived until further notice.
IMDA has also worked with international content partners to push forward the implementation of the Capabilities Partnership Programme, which will aid local media companies bolster their capabilities.
Over 800 to 100 local media companies will likely benefit in the next 12 months as the programme pairs up local media companies and multinational corporations to develop “Made in Singapore” content.
For example, in May this year, up to three regional entertainment or family content Intellectual Properties (IPs) will be developed by ViacomCBS Networks Asia. Added to this, over three regional original content IPs for HBO Asia will also be developed by WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks APAC late in June.
“The government will continue to support our media companies and professionals as they weather this trying period, so that they can continue to create content that inspires, uplifts and binds us as one united people,” as remarked by S Iswaran, who is Minister for Communications and Information.