ShoutOUT! $8 million new fund among new initiatives from IMDA to support media professionals and companies

 Behind the Scenes shot from Channel 5's ''Titoudao"

These are trying times for media companies and even more so for individuals in the industry, many of whom are freelancers. But keep your eyes open, there is help available. Adding to a $40,000 Covid-19 Relief Fund by the Singapore Association of Motion Picture Professionals (SAMPP) in April, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has a series of initiatives to help the local media sector. Complementing the broad-based measures announced by the Finance Minister in the Unity, Resilience and Solidarity Budgets, these latest initiatives will help media companies benefit from more production project opportunities and reduced operating costs, as well as assist media professionals and freelancers build up their resilience through training and upskilling. These are part of the ongoing national efforts to protect jobs and livelihoods. 

A new $8 million Public Service Content (PSC) Fund that will catalyse more production projects that in turn, benefits media professionals and protect jobs in the coming months. Under this initiative, Mediacorp, Viddsee and SPH will commission short-form content for their digital platforms through a Call for Proposal. Up to $150,000 in funding will be available per project per call. Mediacorp will be launching the first CFP on 23 April 2020. Media companies and talent can take advantage of the Circuit Breaker period to start planning, conceptualising and submitting their proposals to be ready for production work when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. This fund comes on the back of an earlier $1 million fund launched by IMDA in March 2020 (“Content Fund to Support SG United”), which saw close to twenty proposals from local creators. 

Jayce Tham, Chief Businesswoman at CreativesAtWork said, ”We are in an unprecedented time and it is indeed challenging for many freelancers. It is only natural for some to think of switching their career and trying out other occupations which may not be a bad thing especially for the younger freelancers. However, many of the more experienced freelancers are still hanging in there. While they may look for other alternatives during this lull period, I believe it will only be a transition. Once everything is back to normal, they will be back as well.”

This will also be a good time for media professionals to bring forward their training plans so that they are in good stead for the upturn. IMDA will support the upskilling of Self-Employed Persons (SEPs) by providing a training grant of up to 90% of course fees, capped at $3,000 per course under the Talent Assistance (T-Assist) Programme. In addition to subsidised fees, Self-Employed Persons, including freelancers, can benefit from training allowance for eligible courses. 

“Both job opportunities as well as skills upgrading will be critical especially at a time like this, “Jayce added. 

Media companies will also receive support from IMDA in various ways. The Film Exhibition and Distribution Licence Fees will be waived from 17 April 2020. The waiver will apply to new licence applications and renewal of existing licences. Classification fees for films (public exhibition and video distribution), video games and label fees will also be waived until further notice. 

IMDA will also help local media companies strengthen their capabilities and increase their competitiveness by leveraging the expertise of MNC partners. IMDA has worked with international content partners such as WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks APAC and ViacomCBS Networks Asia, to bring forward the implementation of the Capabilities Partnership Programme (CPP), which pairs media MNCs with local media companies to develop “Made in Singapore” content. For example, ViacomCBS Networks Asia will develop up to three regional entertainment or family content Intellectual Properties (IPs) in May 2020. WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks APAC plans to commence development of up to three regional original content IPs for HBO Asia in June 2020. The CPP programme is expected to benefit 80 to 100 local media companies over the next 12 months. Commenting on the current situation for businesses, 

Freddie Yeo, Chief Operating Officer of Infinite Frameworks said, “Postponements and delays are the orders of the day. Production activities have now been shifted from a Q2 to a potential Q3 start but that’s pending on the evolving COVID situation as the health and wellbeing of workers remain the #1 priority. Any help at this time will give a leg up to the industry and yes, we’ll be looking to get involved for the public service content fund and CPP initiative.” 

For more information on efforts to support the media sector, please visit

Still from A Land Imagined by Yeo Siew Hwa
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