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Media Future of TV Future of Media

Mediacorp on why pivoting to an audience-centric approach is the future of TV

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By Shawn Lim | Reporter, Asia Pacific

February 9, 2022 | 6 min read

Singapore’s Mediacorp has evolved from a free-to-air broadcaster to a multi-platform network. The Drum finds out why the focus of the platform’s strategic transformation has been to put its audiences front and center of everything it does.

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Since the onset of the pandemic, Mediacorp has also been ramping up its content offerings

Despite competition from streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney+, Singapore’s national public broadcaster Mediacorp believes the future of TV for the media conglomerate remains brighter than ever.

This is because it claims it engages 95% of people in Singapore in four languages across its network of digital, TV, radio and out-of-home platforms weekly.

Angeline Poh is the chief customer and corporate development officer at Mediacorp. She points to the media company’s customer-centric approach as the key to how it engages its audiences. This has stood Mediacorp in good stead through the Covid-19 pandemic and has accelerated its pace in embracing new norms, she says.

“Our audience-centric approach is anchored on a fundamental understanding of how our audiences consume content today – across various platforms and devices, languages and genres. It calls on us to leverage the strength and reach of our platforms, intellectual properties and personalities to deliver content that engages our audiences and celebrates the diverse communities in Singapore.

“In essence, it is about going where consumers are, which also means delivering our content beyond Mediacorp-owned platforms. So, today, you will find us on platforms like Youtube, Tiktok, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram and Telegram. CNA is one such example of how Mediacorp has transited into a fully transmedia, multiplatform mode of operation and identity over time.

Poh continues: “Since its launch in 1999, the news network has established a sizeable presence and following on social media. This allows CNA to reach consumers beyond its owned and operated TV, radio and digital platforms. For example, we adapt news highlights into succinct and visually-engaging pictorial content for publishing on Instagram, while on YouTube, uploading video snippets from news bulletins has worked well with viewers who prefer consuming the news in bite-sized formats.”

Since the onset of the pandemic, Mediacorp has also been ramping up its content offerings as part of its audience-centric approach, especially through various periods when people were urged to stay home over the last two years.

It does this by leveraging advanced data analytics to understand audience behavior and preferences to maximize audience and commercial outcomes across its network. This allows Mediacorp to move away from a platform-centric view and have a more holistic view of its audience, regardless of how many devices or platforms they are on.

These offerings include a range of entertainment content such as virtual concerts, movies and drama series. Despite the many production challenges brought about by Covid-19, the platform also tried to continue producing engaging and entertaining content, while ensuring the health and safety of its artists and crew.

For example, it launched #StayHomeCookOff, a celebrity cooking show where artists filmed entire episodes using their digital devices and GoPros sent to their homes, with the production team supporting them remotely. This concept provided an opportunity for Mediacorp to develop a new model of remote creative collaboration.

On the drama front, Mediacorp’s Chinese drama series My Star Bride was popular not just in Singapore but also in China, where clips were uploaded to social media platform Douyin, which has garnered more than 141m views to date. My Star Bride has proven to be such a hit with viewers that Mediacorp has produced a telemovie based on the series. In addition, its Tamil drama series Naam garnered more than 30m views on YouTube to date in Malaysia and India.

The platform also showed its audience how it turned adversity into an opportunity for creativity. Following the annual Star Awards show’s cancellation at the height of the pandemic in 2020, the show returned the following year. Mediacorp converted Changi Airport’s tarmac into a red carpet runway, as well as the Terminal 4 departure hall and airport’s Jewel mall for the live award show.

“To us, the TV is just a content viewing device and we have multiple ways to serve up our content to audiences via this device. This includes free-to-air broadcasting, over-the-top delivery via meWatch and our channels on Youtube. Via this device we can deliver a wide range of content experiences, including live viewing, video-on-demand and even time-shifted viewing of specially curated digital-only linear streams. Hence, reframing the way we think about TV has opened up new vistas for audience reach and engagement.

“In addition to our platforms and establishing our presence on third-party platforms, we are also growing the Mediacorp network through partnerships with content creators. In 2020, Mediacorp was appointed as Singapore’s first YouTube multi-channel network (MCN). As an MCN, we will develop a new generation of content creators by building on our existing Bloomr.SG network, which currently reaches about 14 million subscribers.

She adds: “In October, we unveiled Mediacorp SocialHub, a new self-service platform that connects marketers and media agencies to one of Singapore’s largest networks of social media talents. It brings together the universe of Mediacorp’s celebrities, digital content creators, talents from partner agencies and independent influencers all under one roof.”

On the content front, Poh says Mediacorp will continue to tell local stories that resonate with local audiences and share these Singapore stories with the world through regional content partnerships.

These collaborations will allow Mediacorp to gain exposure in new and potentially lucrative markets and are part of its efforts to create more “made with Singapore” content.

“With the easing of Covid-19 border restrictions, we intend to continue pitching and securing co-produced projects. Such content collaborations will build on the growing appetite for Asian content in the region.

“By 2024, revenue for the online video sector is projected to grow to at least US$11bn in South East Asia. So, there is much promise in the Asian media market.”

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