News

Singapore government withdraws funding from troubled Asian TV Awards

The Singaporean government has withdrawn its sponsorship of the Asian Television Awards.

Mumbrella can also reveal that the event company behind the awards has closed down, with staff and operations transferred to another company – both of which are owned by Singaporean media mogul Raymond Wong.

The latest revelations follow a series of troubles to hit Wong and the awards, which included a successful lawsuit by the 2017 event’s production company over unpaid fees, plus non-payment of staff pensions.

In a statement to Mumbrella, Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority said it had pulled its funding from the 2018 awards. It has also removed the ceremony from the annual Singapore Media Festival, an event supported by the country’s tourism board.

A spokesman said: “The Asian Television Awards (ATA) Pte Ltd and IMDA, which hosts the Singapore Media Festival, have mutually agreed to terminate the sponsorship agreement for the Asian Television Awards.”

Other previous sponsors including Nippon Paint, Courts, Torque5, MEASAT and Speedcast have so far declined to reveal their sponsorship plans.

Raymond Wong

The Asian Television Awards has been organised for the last five years by Contineo Media, a publishing house formerly known as Ten Alps until it sold its majority 65 per cent stake to Karay Holdings –the investment vehicle of Wong – in 2012.

Earlier this year, Mumbrella revealed that Contineo Media was suffering from cash flow problems after it was accused of failing to pay its staffs’ salaries and Central Provident Fund – essentially a pension for Singaporean citizens and permanent residents.

Last year, the government-backed CPF Board fined Contineo Media – plus another company owned by Wong, Nanyang Learning Holdings – for non-payment of pensions.

The company has now left its office in Ubi Avenue and, according to a notice posted on the front door, its furnishings were auctioned off earlier this month by the CPF Board. 

However, despite its troubles, the awards has been earmarked to take place on December 7 and 8 at Suntec Exhibition Centre.

In a call for entries seen by Mumbrella, potential nominees are now asked to send their entry forms and fees to another company owned by Wong named Clarus Marketing, which according to Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority has until now been  inactive since its inception five years ago.

Sources with knowledge of the situation have also revealed that a number of Contineo staff are now working under the Clarus Marketing moniker at a new office in Mactaggart Road.

In addition to its CPF arrears, Contineo Media was sued by Singapore-based activeTV, which claimed the company had failed to pay S$250,000 owed for producing the 2017 ceremony.

Following a court hearing held on May 10, Contineo was ordered to pay S$292,000 to ActiveTV, plus S$2,000 in costs.

Wong has not responded to Mumbrella’s attempts to reach him for comment.

ADVERTISEMENT

Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.

 

SUBSCRIBE

Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing