Online piracy remains biggest challenge to sector’s growth
SINGAPORE – On May 22, a panel of creative industry representatives came together to discuss the future viability of online distribution at the Centre of Content Promotion (CCP) Breakfast Workshop Spotlight on Singapore: Online on Track, at Digital Matters, 2014, at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia.
Moderated by Stacy Baird, President Citrus Co. Advisors, the panel featured Steven Frank – Business Development Manager APAC, Deezer, Ho Jia Jian – Co-founder, Viddsee, Syaheed – Country Manager SG/Malaysia & Trade Marketing Manager (Asia), Believe Digital, David Simonsen – SVP Content Development at HBO Asia, and Frank Rittman – Senior VP, Deputy MD & Regional Policy Officer Asia Pacific, Motion Picture Association (MPA). The panel attracted a wide audience of representatives from the film, tv and music industries, technology sector, Government representatives and media.
The panel aimed to identify and give context to the continually shifting digital landscape in Singapore: How new players have found a foothold in the market and gained traction with audiences; how traditional media organizations have adapted to providing digital services on the go; how Singapore is faring in relation to leading and neighbor Asian markets; and how various challenges to legitimate business models are being met.
Steven Frank, Business Development Manager APAC, Deezer, said, “There are now a number of music streaming services available in Singapore compared to just a few years ago, which is a fantastic sign for the industry. Piracy is still around, but the greater availability of legal and affordable alternatives will educate the market and change consumer behaviour. With Deezer, we are offering music lovers in Singapore instant access to over 30 million tracks and a way to discover new music, anywhere, anytime. We have seen positive interest and uptake in Deezer since we launched in Singapore in 2012, and are confident that we have drawn a good number of Singaporeans away from piracy and onto a legal service.”
Ho Jia Jian – Co-founder, Viddsee, said, “Being filmmakers ourselves, we realized the pains of digital distribution and marketing in a content-saturated environment. My co-founder and I worked on Internet TV platforms, and we drew from that experience to build Viddsee as a curation of short films with the best Asian stories. Our growing platform of Asian stories is positioned for a global audience, recognizing that today’s Internet audience has an appetite for content, especially well-curated content. As online platforms continue to grow over the next few years, curation across the various interest verticals will play a key differentiating role between the various services. The central challenge for any service is to understand one’s own audience through data and to be able to find effective ways of retaining users.”
Syaheed – Country Manager SG/Malaysia & Trade Marketing Manager (Asia), Believe Digital, said, “Three years ago, Asia had the difficult task of streamlining the complicated process of getting content properly licensed from rights holders more efficiently, and at fair rates, for the region to achieve its great potential for digital music growth. Three years on, we’ve experienced a tremendous growth in legal music services, and the new challenge is to build the audience on these new platforms. In the last 18 months, Believe Digital has invested in the region, working the ground, hand in hand with artists, labels and services, to ensure the best possible experience for consumers on these platforms – allowing independent labels and artists like Tulus (ID), MONSTER CAT (SG), Kevin Lester (SG), Singho Numchok (TH) to excel, export, and help them achieve their goals and dreams as artists too.”
Frank Rittman – Senior VP, Deputy MD & Regional Policy Officer Asia Pacific, MPA, said, “Audiences now have a lot more options for digital content than they did three years ago, however there’s no doubt that Singapore has some way to go to satisfy demand. The challenges to legal digital services remain significant but there are signs that they are surmountable. While recent findings by Sycamore Research found that three quarters of young Singaporeans are active pirates, recent proposals by the Singaporean Government to prevent major rogues websites from operating in Singapore, along with a range of new legal offerings coming online for audiences to enjoy, hopefully spells the beginning of an innovative and burgeoning digital landscape in Singapore.”
Commenting on the latest ways Singaporeans can access content on the go, – Avi Himatsinghani – CEO, Rewind Networks Pte. Ltd., said, “At Rewind Networks we are committed to creating and delivering curated services that satisfy the entertainment needs of viewers – wherever they may be. HITS, our maiden franchise, has a simple proposition – we bring the greatest TV shows, all in one place – from comedies such as The Cosby Show and Seinfeld to dramas like The X-Files and Lost. We recently launched in Singapore and will soon roll out in other markets in the region. On our linear channel (StarHub Ch 519), we air a new episode every weeknight at the same time because it is habit forming, or you can watch up to five episodes back-to-back on the weekend just like you would binge watch with a DVD box set. HITS Replay (StarHub Ch 520) also allows viewers to catch-up on a selection of our shows on-demand. If you’re not at home, you have additional choices of watching HITS’ simulcast or catch-up on-demand through StarHub TV Anywhere on your various devices. We’re finalizing launch plans for our own HITS catch-up service where authenticated subscribers of StarHub TV’s Basic Entertainment Tier can watch our TV shows on www.hitstv.com or our HITS app that’s available on iOS and Android.”
About the Centre for Content Promotion:
The Centre for Content Promotion (CCP) is a consortium of industry stakeholders dedicated to digital and analogue content creation, technological standards and innovation, legitimate business models, and secure delivery. As the primary service to all its members the CCP works to generate awareness and education to the government, industry and public. We organise training seminars, public relations campaigns, and cross-industry cooperation that engender respect for content creation and secure delivery. Importantly, the CCP is an avenue to create an understanding and ecosystem between technology providers, service providers, content providers and regulators.
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