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Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Media Company in Singapore
Media is everywhere, and it offers lots of opportunities for profit and growth. If you are good at coming up with unique ideas for content development and distribution, then starting a media company is the ideal business endeavor for you. The industry has a lot of avenues that you can use to gain an audience and popularity. Digital media is also a big trend you can join in, and it takes minimal capital to start.
However, the media industry is very competitive and has big brands already dominating the market. To survive this level of competition, you need thorough planning and a strong differentiator to make your business stand out. We want to help the planning and startup activities more convenient for you with this guide to starting a media company in Singapore. Here, you’ll know more about the industry, what you need to start, how to register, and the licenses to start a media company.
What is a Media Company?
Media companies create, publish, and distribute content in both digital and paper formats. Examples of media companies include newspapers, magazines, mass media companies like Disney, and streaming services like Netflix. In contrast to the e-commerce industry, the media industry does not aim to make a sale. Rather, its goal is to produce content, whether it be news, investigations, reviews, etc.
Publications, films, music, graphics, and art are some of the types of media content media companies produce. Social media is also part of this industry as they are channels for sharing user-generated content. Digital media is now a big field that continues to grow, and it is now an entirely different industry in itself. Proof of this is in the projected revenue of SG$ 533M in 2021.
Moreover, Singapore is also rising to become a center for content creation because of its strong Intellectual Property (IP) protection. The country’s large pool of IT and programming talents also makes Singapore attractive to animation studios and development companies. Singapore’s proximity and connectivity to other markets make the place ideal to base a media company in. With its reach of talents, digital resources, and markets, media companies gain more growth opportunities.
Some of the big media companies in Singapore are ABC, Universal Studios, Tencent, Ubisoft, and Walt Disney Company. The gaming segment is the industry’s biggest revenue-generating activity, followed by the broadcasting, film & video, and publishing segments. However, amidst all the big breakthroughs through the years, the media industry still faces challenges. The strong competition and the prices of products perceived as less competitive are only a few of the hurdles starting Singapore media companies will face.
How to Start a Media Company
The media industry is large. You have a lot of options for what type of content you want to produce and who you want to deliver it to. Picking a particular group of the audience will narrow down your service and activities and plan it to the very minute detail. For example, you may choose to start a blog about sports either for a particular age, gender, location, etc. Once you’ve chosen a target market, then you can start researching- their interests, behaviors, and preferences.
Distribute & Promote Through Various Channels
More modern channels you can choose today are websites, video, audio, and other digital platforms. You can distribute your content through the radio, TV, website, or publications. Every time you post content, share it on social media to reach more audiences. You can also use email marketing and other strategies to promote your content, notifying them of any newly published information that may interest them.
Build a Network
Having connections is very important in the media industry. Build connections by attending events, joining organizations, and meeting people with connections. Keep their business cards and contact information so you can contact them once you launch your business. When contacting them, always do it strategically and give them a reason for what’s in it for them. You can announce your launching via tools like MailChimp and include promotional offers like 20% off to the initial subscribers.
When creating content, your number one priority should be providing value. What this means is that you have to create something that will interest your target audience, and that will also make them tune in with you. The most common form small media companies start with are blogs, podcasts, or visual content. If through any of these mediums you can provide useful information, then they will come again to look forward to what you’ll offer next.
How to Register a Media Company in Singapore
Starting a media company will put you in a lot of legal intricacies, so it also needs the right structure for protection. Therefore, it is advisable to register the business directly as a private limited company to mitigate the risks inherent to the business. Company registration is with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority. Here is a guide to company registration in Singapore.
To register as a private limited company, you have to first register an acceptable company name. For a company name to be acceptable, it has to be unique, not bear any expletive words, and have Pte. Ltd. indicates it as a private limited. After the approval, you will need to furnish your company address, business description, and the details of the directors and shareholders and submit the necessary documents. In appointing a company director, at least one should be a citizen, permanent resident, or EntrePass holder.
The documents you will have to submit are the company constitution, articles of association, and the signed consent of each director and company secretary. On or within six months from the date of registration, the company must appoint someone to act as a company secretary. Additionally, some of these documents need not be submitted at the date of registration. You can choose to submit the constitution at a later date. The registration will cost S$15 for the company name application and another S$300 for the company registration. Once the registration is complete, ACRA will issue a certificate of incorporation, evidencing the legal incorporation of the company.
Even if the process is pretty straightforward, these processes can still get overwhelming, especially in addition to the plans you need to complete. And remember, after the registration, the company still has further responsibilities to comply with, like opening a bank account. If you think you will need assistance, do not hesitate to get assistance from an SG corporate service provider. With professionals handling your registration and post-registration activities, you can feel more at ease in fulfilling your other startup tasks.
Licenses, Permits, and Other Regulations for Media Company
There are many different licenses you need to acquire depending on the media activities you wish to operate. When starting a media company in Singapore, you may need to apply for the following licenses:
- broadcast TV license
- film distribution license
- film exhibition license
- Internet service and content provider class license
- printing press license for printing companies in Singapore
- subscription international television service license
- TV receive-only system license
- radio and TV license
- DTV label mark usage license
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is the statutory board that regulates the Infocomm and media industries in Singapore. You may apply for licenses with the IMDA online or through their offices. Further, it is also the IMDA that oversees that companies follow the regulations relating to the industry. The agency also has a code of practices that starting business owners may look over and use as a guide in their dealings and activities.
Further, the IMDA requires media companies to rate their content according to a prescribed classification guideline. In the classification for film and broadcasting media in general, parental guidance (PG), PG13, NC16, M18, and R21 are put in place to inform viewing choices and aid parental guidance. Advertising of such content must also follow relevant content codes. In particular, media companies are not allowed to put promotional trailers for content with a PG13 tag in programs intended for children.
Other regulations you may need to look over when starting a media company are:
- Info-communications Media Development Authority Act
- Broadcasting Act
- Newspaper and Printing Presses Act
- Public Entertainments Act
- The Spam Control Act
- Intellectual Property Rights
Expert Company Formation Services in Singapore
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