Friday, August 22, 2008

And then there was Mediaworks...




About 8 years ago Mediaworks. owned by SPH and with initial capital of $50m started two free-to-air channels Channel i (English) and Channel U (Chinese) . It was issued a licence by the Government to compete with the dominant broadcaster Mediacorp so as to improve the quality of programming and increase viewers choice. Channel U seemed to fair better than Channel I mainly because most of English programmes were already bought by MediaCorp and Channel U had good Chinese programmes syndicated from Taiwan, China and Hongkong. Channel U also had substantial local productions to attract the Chinese viewers from Channel 8. Both situations increased the costs of operations sky-high. Also because of competition the costs to MediaCorp for programming also went up. As a result both companies bled ( A big gun said both MediaCorp TV and Mediaworks TV are "haemorhaging") After careful consideration both parties decided to close down Mediaworks and let MediaCorp run Channel U. Channel I being not commercially viable went of the air on 1 Jan 2005. By then MediaCorp got bruises all over and its plan for a public listing did not materialise. A new TV holding company was created to operate Channel U, Channel 5, Channel I and TVMobile ..owned jointly by MediaCorp and SPH with SPH having a small stake. The rest of the channels Suria, Central and Channel NewsAsia continued to be 100% owned by MediaCorp.
Among the reasons given for the failure were that the free-to-air market in Singapore was not big enough for competition….and the other reason was the strategic error in programming by Mediaworks….. clashing headon with MediaCorp…some say it should have adopted the strategy of complementary programming and be contented to be second instead of trying too hard to be the first….....

2 comments:

James said...

I miss Channel U by SPH alot... really alot..

That was the time where we can watch all Hong Kong TVB Dramas, which will be broadcast 6 mths after cable TV.

And very few by Channel 8 at that time.

That was the time where we can have quality entertainment show and have Quan Yi Feng back onto the TV.

I can't forget the first variety show by Channel U(SPH), which is the Domino competition...

Alot Alot.... That's when I feel that there is hope for our free channel...

But too bad....

Competition does improve the quality.

Matthew said...

SPH did a much better job in running channel u. Its a waste for the merger to have taken place. Mediacorp has no intention to groom channel U at all, and it is being childish to "punish" those who had jump ship to Mediawork before, examples of such artise are ann kok, chen hui hui, wang yan ching and lastly gave the best new artise award to ponsak to leave the impression that if you jump from other media company, you will be will taken care of. And please take a look at the quality of channel 5 now.