Singapore: MDA adds $20 million to media pot

Singapore's Media Development Authority announced last night S$20 million (NZ$20.1 million) of new funding over five years for its media and entertainment incentive schemes.
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Singapore’s Media Development Authority announced last night S$20 million (NZ$20.1 million) of new funding over five years for its media and entertainment incentive schemes.

Last September MDA rationalised its funding schemes from 46 to five, making it easier to apply once for assistance rather than trying to cobble together a single figure from a range of government sources.

The new money announced yesterday is all targeted at improving productivity within the sector, and three quarters of it is directed at talent development, in particular a recognition of the importance of freelancers in the industry.

Previously, freelancers had been able to apply for fee costs to support attendance at training courses or conferences. The new money allows MDA to pay freelancers an allowance to cover their time as well, in recognition of the fact that most freelancers have to choose between upskilling and earning.

Singapore offers some fancy statistics to support the value of the investment (which comes on top an existing S$88 million allocation). The MDA claims that the 72,700 workers in the sector (broadcasting, publishing, printing, games & software, online media, film & video and music) each contribute an average S$98,500 “value added” to the economy annually.

Of those 72,700, freelancers account for 29,000. MDA expects the $20 million of new investment to increase that value added figure to $119,700 per worker by the end of 2013.

The media and entertainment sector created 2.4% of Singapore’s S$304 billion GDP in 2010, the last year for which figures are available.

The MDA claims “A vibrant and dynamic media sector contributes to Singapore’s attractiveness as a global business hub; while offering career paths that fulfil the creative aspirations of Singapore.”

The additional spend is a small one when compared with neighbour Malaysia, which earlier this year announced more than double Singapore’s amount of additional money to develop skills in its media sector, although Malaysia is starting from a much lower-profile base when it comes to attracting international work.

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