MediaCorp’s eDM to clients offering to make an ad for US$9,680 riles agencies: ‘We’re funding them to undercut us’

Singapore’s public service broadcaster MediaCorp has raised hackles among agencies for approaching their clients and offering low-budget ad-creation services.

An eDM from a production agency boss, shared in an email titled “This is what MediaCorp has been sending our clients…” features an offer from MediaCorp’s digital parenting platform SmartParents to produce a “brand collaboration video” for S$13,800 (US$9,680).

MediaCorp eDM to clients

The eDM offers a 90-second video for what one agency boss suggested would cost at least twice the amount if produced by an agency or production company.

The package includes a 15-second “trailer” and exposure of the “online quality” video on the Smartparents homepage and social channels for a limited period. Use of MediaCorp’s talent may cost extra.

MediaCorp making ads is not new, with a service available since the 1980s, albeit under a different name (the Commercial Production Unit, when MediaCorp was the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation). But a production company boss, who was forwarded the eDM by his client, objected to the encroachment on his client.

He told Mumbrella: “They’ve [MediaCorp] been doing this for so long. The worst thing about it is, we pay taxes, and MediaCorp is funded by these taxes, and they’re funded well. We’re funding them to compete with us. We’re funding them to undercut us.”

Another agency boss, who’d been forwarded the eDM by a client, pointed to the closure or near-closure of a number of agencies over the last year as evidence of how difficult it is for agencies to survive in Singapore in the current climate. “The only saving grace is that our clients know that the quality would not be as good,” they said.

In an emailed response, MediaCorp acknowledged the role of agencies and production houses as “important parts of our creative ecosystem” with which MediaCorp actively collaborates.

The media owner also pointed out that it is funded “largely” by ad revenue, and only receives limited funding on selected programming due to its public service remit.

Chief commercial officer Jack Lim said in a statement:

Creative agencies and production companies are important parts of our creative ecosystem and we actively collaborate with them all the time. We offer a range of production and advertising services to clients – not to take business away from anyone – but to provide affordable solutions to businesses of all sizes. We aim to provide clients effective ways to brand themselves and ultimately succeed. In the long run we hope to help build more successful companies.

MediaCorp is largely funded by revenues generated through our commercial activities, including advertising services, content distribution and subscriptions. Public service broadcast (PSB) funding supports selected programmes that play an important role in fostering a cohesive and informed society, as well as celebrating our shared identity.


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