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Shaping a New Generation of Visual Media Experiences through FutureTV Initiative

Jun 16, 2009

Imagine this: A day when you could pre-programme a slate of television programmes beyond the traditional television sets and watch them on virtual space together with your friends from different parts of the world. Or watching an entire movie seamlessly, beginning with the cinema, continuing on your handphone while on the train and then finishing it on your TV set when you reach home. These are some examples of the innovative services that could come true under the FutureTV initiative. In response to changing consumers’ lifestyles and media consumption, several leading industry companies, with the support of the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA), have come together to form a FutureTV partner network to leverage on the capabilities of one another, to shape a new generation of media experiences.

Leading the FutureTV network are local flagship companies such as MediaCorp, StarHub, PGK Media, ServTouch-ETI, Glocal Media Networks, SingTel, EON Reality, and Ufinity. Rounding off the founding members are MNCs like Motorola and Microsoft. Together with MDA, the partner network is jointly calling for proposals from Singapore media companies and start-ups to submit ideas, technologies and approaches. Through the Call, the partner network hopes to seed ideas and collaborations on innovative services that incorporate greater interactivity and personalisation in the consumption of visual media.

The launch of the FutureTV initiative comes amid the unveiling of the Singapore Media Fusion Plan (SMFP) at this year’s BroadcastAsia. “The FutureTV initiative is one of the key efforts under the SMFP aimed at galvanizing the industry to secure a foothold in niche sub-sectors of the emerging new media arena. It will be one of the supporting pillars to attain Singapore’s vision of being a Trusted Global Capital for New Asia Media,” said Dr Christopher Chia, Chief Executive Officer of MDA.

For a start, the partner network will offer greater interactivity and personalization in the experience of the consumption of visual media. They aim to go beyond the traditional TV screen in the living room to enable the seamless consumption of rich visual media on multiple screens over the internet, mobile devices and large format out-of-home displays. Eventually, the partner network intends to make Singapore a visual media hub by building the capability to aggregate content from around the region, and re-distribute this content globally. New ways of monetizing content, for example through inserting of digital advertising will be explored.

FutureTV Partner Network and MDA Anchored by two co-chairmen, Mediacorp and StarHub, the partner network will collectively offer access to global markets, to advertisers and partners for promotion needs, payment and infrastructural support. In terms of access to customer base, MediaCorp and StarHub combined reaches almost every Singaporean consumer. The partner network aims to cluster up to 100 companies, ranging from start-ups, small and medium enterprises and flagship companies and is encouraging the industry to be part of this network. Refer to Annex A for the companies under the partner network.

Mr Shaun Seow, MediaCorp’s Deputy CEO, said: “I am personally very excited about the possibilities that the Future TV partner network brings. It holds out the promise of a new television viewing experience that’s more engaging and interactive, delivered either online or via the Next Generation Broadband Network that’s being built. As co-chair of the partner network, MediaCorp hopes to partner local companies in developing applications such as advanced video search, contextual advertising and user interface personalization. We have a range of media assets and original content for deploying such technologies. Through our media, we also hope to raise awareness of some of these Future TV initiatives, and assist industry players to break into regional markets via another association, called SMART Alliance, formed between MediaCorp and other major Asean broadcasters.”

Mr Tan Tong Hai, Chief Operating Officer of StarHub and Co-Chairman of the FutureTV Partner Network, said, “I would encourage companies with the relevant expertise to step forward to join us in this collaboration to position Singapore as the international hub for aggregating and distributing innovative new media TV content and services worldwide. StarHub will contribute its experience and knowledge in the TV, Mobile and Online platforms and serve as a test-bed for partner companies to try out 3D programmes, preference-detecting technology and the personalisation of TV across multiple platforms anytime, anywhere.”

“In this global market, there is compelling need for industry to collaborate and leverage on one another’s capabilities. We are heartened that the major players of TV sector have come together to provide combined offerings to help support start-up innovation,” said Michael Yap, Deputy CEO and Executive Director of Interactive Digital Media Program Office hosted by MDA. “Through this partner network, MDA is better able to marshal its resources to support the collective aspiration of the industry. Singapore consumers can also look forward to more innovative services and enjoy a whole new world of the latest interactive visual media offerings to empower digital work-styles and lifestyles,” added Mr Yap.

The partner network will use Singapore as a hub in its test-bedding of applications which would be rolled out beyond Singapore shores. In addition, the partner network will foster grassroots innovation among start-ups and media companies in Singapore. This will be done through various calls for proposals to seek participation from the industry. One such company under the partner network PGK Media is offering its immersive out-of-home media network and its digital TV broadcasting network for other members as open platforms for experimentation and test bedding. Even as the partner network is calling for participation from industry in the FutureTV initiative, PGK and Glocal Media Network have already come together to kick-off innovation.

“PGK has signed a number of MOUs and partnerships with local and international operators and providers. The highlight is the MOU with Glocal to launch the first digital terrestrial Pay-TV ethnic channel in Singapore,” said Giulio Dorrucci, Chairman and CEO of PGK Media Pte Ltd.

Said Mr Tom Navasero, Managing Director and Founder of Glocal Media Networks Pte Ltd: “We are dedicated to making Singapore the NEW MEDIA DIGITAL HUB of ASIA. We are building a new media platform to enable the music artists, content producers and media stakeholders to publish, manage, secure, distribute and monetize their media. “We have recently signed a Joint Venture agreement with Out There Media to establish Out There Media Asia-Pacific. With this arrangement, we add another 120 million users in the European Union, and target to have up to 200 million users in Asia-Pacific."


Calls for Proposals:

The joint call for proposals by the FutureTV partner network and MDA seeks ideas for creating, aggregating, managing, distributing and monetizing visual media to anticipate and shape future patterns in the consumption of visual media. The FutureTV partner network expects that this will result in technologies, applications and services that would leverage the core offerings of network’s anchor companies.

MDA will support the partner network by providing support in the form of industry contacts and collaboration including match-making with government agencies and demand drivers. It offers foundation built through R&D support, help in matchmaking companies and bringing in demand drivers as well as co-funding of proposals.

Under the Call, the FutureTV Partner Network hopes to solicit exciting ideas to enhance consumers’ experience of visual media, innovate with tools and devices to allow content to be delivered to a variety of access devices, and create a variety of value added services such as media (rather than text-based) search, advertising engines, interactive video, customizable interfaces, and next generation advertising engines. In particular, the Call also offers Singapore start-ups a jumpstart by collaborating with established players to access bigger markets globally, leveraging on the network of user base, marketing channels, promotion tie-ups and sharing of market intelligence offered by the FutureTV Partner Network.

The proposals submitted will be evaluated by a joint MDA and FutureTV Partner Network Evaluation Panel based on criteria such as innovativeness and market potential. More details of the Call can be found at www.idm.sg - Ends -

Source: http://www.mda.gov.sg/wms.www/thenewsdesk.aspx?sid=950

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Email: bd@ufinity.com

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