SINGAPORE: A series of initiatives has been announced to help the local media sector tide over the COVID-19 period.
In a press release on Tuesday (Apr 14), the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said the initiatives were part of the ongoing national efforts to protect jobs and livelihoods.
Through the new initiatives, media companies will 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.
MEDIA PROFESSIONALS AND FREELANCERS
A new S$8 million Public Service Content (PSC) Fund will protect media industry jobs in the coming months, said IMDA.
The PSC will “catalyse more production projects” and in turn benefit media professionals in the coming months.
READ: COVID-19: Singapore makes ‘decisive move’ to close most workplaces and impose full home-based learning for schools, says PM Lee
READ: Solidarity Budget: Singapore spends another S$5.1b to save jobs, protect livelihoods amid impending circuit breaker rules
Industry players Mediacorp, Viddsee and Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) will commission short-form content for their digital platforms.
Media companies can use the circuit breaker period to start planning, conceptualising and submitting their proposals to be ready for production work when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
IMDA will also match Singapore Association for Motion Picture Professionals’ (SAMPP) COVID-19 Relief Fund contribution of S$20,000 to support media practitioners affected by the cancellation and postponement of projects.
READ: COVID-19 Resilience Budget: ‘Landmark’ S$48 billion package to tide Singapore through ‘unprecedented’ crisis
READ: Solidarity Budget: Criteria broadened for freelancers’ financial assistance scheme
The relief fund will offer grants of between S$300 and S$500 to film and TV media practitioners affected by the cancellation and postponement of projects.
To encourage the upskilling of media professionals during the circuit breaker period, IMDA will provide a training grant of up to 90 per cent of course fees, capped at S$3,000 per course under the Talent Assistance (T-Assist) Programme for self-employed persons.
In addition to subsidised fees, self-employed persons, including freelancers, can benefit from training allowance for eligible courses.
Media companies will receive help to reduce operating costs, with Film Exhibition and Distribution Licence Fees waived from Apr 17, 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.
READ: Solidarity Budget: Bill to allow firms, individuals to defer contractual obligations such as rent ‘for a period’
READ: Solidarity Budget: Jobs support raised to 75% for April, payout brought forward
To help local companies strengthen their capabilities and increase their competitiveness, IMDA will leverage the expertise of its MNC partners 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.
The CPP programme is expected to benefit 80 to 100 local media companies over the next 12 months.
READ: Solidarity Budget: S$600 cash support in total for all adult Singaporeans, other cash payouts to be brought forward to June
READ: COVID-19: Financial aid fund to be set up for freelancers in Singapore performing arts industry
“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,” said Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran.
“Media companies can look forward to more project opportunities and reduced operating costs, while media professionals and freelancers can benefit from subsidised training fees to sharpen their craft during this downtime.”