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Mediacorp is a state-funded media conglomorate in Singapore. Owned by Temasek Holdings, a state-owned investment company, it operates television, radio, and digital properties. It holds a monopoly on terrestrial television in the country, operating six channels in Singapore's four official languages of Malay, English, Mandarin Chinese, and Tamil.


History





1936–1965: Pre-independence era


Mediacorp's origins can be traced to the British Malaya Broadcasting Corporation, which was awarded a broadcasting license by the British crown on 1 June 1936 as a radio network. One year later, in 1937, the company officially opened its studios and transmitters at Caldecott Hill. The corporation was taken over by the Straits Settlement government in 1940 as a part of the British Department of Information, known back then as the Malaya Broadcasting Corporation, the local counterpart to the BBC. Radio news and information, as well as local entertainment, were aired on its stations in English (and later Mandarin and Malay). On the basis of the Radio Malaya broadcasters that moved to Kuala Lumpur in 1958, Radio Singapore took over the year after as the radio service for Singapore, organised into a station each for English, Malay and Mandarin listeners. Shortly after Singapore reached self-government status on 3 June 1959, there were plans to obtain television transmission rights. This manifested the founding of Television Singapura on 4 April 1961. Television Singapura aired test broadcasts on channel 5 from 21 January to 15 February 1963, ahead of its first official pilot broadcast on the evening of 15 February 1963. Minister for Culture S. Rajaratnam became the first person to appear on Singapore TV, announcing that "Tonight might well mark the start of a social and cultural revolution in our lives." The first programme aired was a documentary, ''TV Looks at Singapore''. The pilot service would broadcast for one hour and 40 minutes nightly at the time, it was estimated that only one in 58 Singaporeans owned a television. On 2 April 1963, Channel 5 was officially inaugurated by President Yusof Ishak; the service expanded to 7:15 to 11:00 p.m. nightly. By September, its broadcast day had been lengthened to begin at 6:30 p.m. Initially, Channel 5 carried programmes in all four of Singapore's official languages. On 23 November, Channel 8 launched to carry programming in Chinese and Tamil, with Channel 5 focusing on English and Malay programming thereafter. In January 1964, Television Singapura became the state branch of the new Televisyen Malaysia from Kuala Lumpur and was subsequently rebranded as sister channel "Television Malaysia (Singapura)", while Radio Singapura's stations became part of Radio Malaysia. During its time as part of Malaysia, Singapore was the only state to have its own radio and television network. The state's radio and television broadcast rights was included as an annex in the Malaysia Agreement.


1965–1980: Radio Television Singapore


After the separation of Singapore from the Malaysian federation, all of the Malaysian television and radio operations in Singapore were fused to become Radio Television Singapore (RTS), a part of the Ministry of Culture. This led to the expansions of the network, including a move to the new $3.6 million Television Centre in Caldecott Hill on 27 August 1966. On 7 July 1974, Channel 5 broadcast the first programme in colour on Singaporean television, the 1974 FIFA World Cup Final. The following month on 9 August, the 9th National Day Parade marked the first domestic colour broadcast in Singapore. Full-time color broadcasts began on 1 November 1977.


1980–1994: Singapore Broadcasting Corporation


SBC Channel 12 logo. The government officially dissolved RTS on 31 January 1980 and transferred its assets to the then-new Singapore Broadcasting Corporation, a statutory board under national supervision to free RTS from the administrative and budgetary constraints that had hampered its ability to upgrade broadcasting services to meet the growing expectations of local audiences. On 31 January 1984, SBC launched Channel 12, a new television service devoted to cultural programming. It also launched four radio stations: "Perfect 10", "YES" (airing Mandarin music), "Ria" (airing popular Malay music) and "Class 95" (initially airing classic hits). SBC began stereo broadcasting on its television channels on 1 August 1990. An educational programming block known as CDIS began airing on Channel 12 on 4 January 1993. On 1 February of that year, SBC celebrated its 30 years of television broadcasting. On 7 June that year, Channel 8 expanded its airtime on weekdays, from 3:00 pm until closedown. On 1 December that year, SBC launched a satellite television network named Singapore International Television (SITV). On 1 January 1994, Channel 5 moved its remaining Malay programming to Channel 12, and re-launched as an English-language channel. Radio Singapore International (RSI) was launched on 1 February 1994 as the official radio international broadcasting company in Singapore, airing news and current affairs, lifestyle, and music programming in English, Malay, Mandarin and Indonesian.


1994–1999: Privatisation


On 1 October 1994, SBC was privatised into a new holding company, Singapore International Media (SIM), with four business units: Television Corporation of Singapore (TCS), Radio Corporation of Singapore (RCS), and SIM Communications and Television Twelve (TV12). On 1 September 1995, Channel 8 expanded into a 24-hour network focusing exclusively on Mandarin-language programmes, while its Tamil programming was assumed by Prime 12—a relaunch of Channel 12 which focused on multilingual programming. TV12 also launched a spin-off channel known as Premiere 12, which featured arts, children's, and sports programmes. TCS launched its own film production studio Raintree Pictures on 1 August 1998.


1999–2015: Media Corporation of Singapore


On 1 March 1999, TCS launched Channel NewsAsia (CNA), a local news channel. On 15 June that year, the Singapore International Media group of companies restructured into MediaCorp. On 30 January 2000, Prime 12 and Premiere 12 were renamed Suria and Central respectively. Suria became a Malay-language channel while Central was divided into three timeshare networks: Kids Central, Vasantham Central and Arts Central. SportCity, a sports channel, was also launched the same year. On 12 February 2001, the Television Corporation of Singapore, Radio Corporation of Singapore and Singapore Television Twelve were renamed to Mediacorp TV, Mediacorp Radio, Mediacorp TV12 respectively as part of a new management plan following their dissolution. MediaCorp's monopoly on free-to-air television was broken in May 2001, when the Singapore government granted new free-to-air licenses to SPH MediaWorks, a subsidiary of publisher Singapore Press Holdings. The company launched two channels in English and Chinese respectively, TVWorks (later Channel i). In late-2004, citing financial issues and a small market for English-language programmes, SPH sold the channels to Mediacorp, resulting in Channel i shutting down at the end of the year with its frequency and channel space was re-used by Okto three years later until 1 May 2019, and Channel U continuing as a complement to Channel 8. On 11 November 2007, Mediacorp launched HD5, the first high definition television channel in Singapore. MediaCorp also launched MOBTV, an online television service. On 19 October 2008, Central's three timeshare networks were divided into two independent channels: the children's and arts programming blocks were spun out into a new network known as Okto, and Vasantham expanded into a full time service. Owing to the diminished effectiveness of a shortwave radio service over time with changing technology and media consumption habits, RSI was dissolved on 31 October 2008.


2015–present: New headquarters, transition to digital


On 8 December 2015, Mediacorp officially opened a new headquarters at one-north's Mediapolis development. The 12-storey complex was designed by DP Architects and Maki and Associates and features a "fenceless" design with four studios, a 1,500-seat "broadcast-ready" theatre, and an integrated multi-platform newsroom. The company expected to complete the migration from its previous Caldecott Hill facilities by July 2016. Alongside the new headquarters, Mediacorp also unveiled a new logo, which was designed to reflect the broadcaster's "vibrancy" and "multiplicity", acting as an "a window to the world and a reflection of life". At midnight on 2 January 2019, Mediacorp's analogue television signals signed off, completing Singapore's transition to digital terrestrial television. On 1 May 2019, Okto was discontinued as a standalone channel, with its children's programming becoming a daytime block on Channel 5 under the ''Okto on 5'' branding. Okto's sports programming was moved primarily to other Mediacorp outlets. On 30 January 2020, Mediacorp rebranded its digital media platforms Toggle, MeRadio and MeClub as meWATCH, meLISTEN and meREWARDS respectively. The rebranding came as part of the broadcaster's "Made for You" initiative to build multi-platform services "designed around consumers' preferences and consumption habits".

Terrestrial stations




Radio


Mediacorp offers eleven FM radio channels. The company's digital audio broadcasting service was discontinued on 1 December 2011.


Television


Mediacorp offers six terrestrial channels in Singapore, each catered in one of its four official languages. Since privatisation, Mediacorp's television channels offer some amount of commercial advertising.

Digital platforms



meWATCH

meWATCH (formerly Toggle) was launched on 1 February 2013 as an OTT service. On 1 April 2015, xinmsn was closed down and merged with Toggle. It is Mediacorp’s digital video service that redefines TV viewing, bringing Toggle Originals, catch-up content, live coverage of key national events, news, entertainment, and behind-the-scene exclusives to viewers across multiple devices – computers, tablets, smartphones, Smart TVs and Apple TVs.

meLISTEN

meLISTEN (formerly MeRadio) is an audio digital platform focusing on live audio streaming of Mediacorp's eleven radio stations as well as audio podcasts.


Mediacorp Partner Network


In 2018, Mediacorp launched the Mediacorp Partner Network. Under the MPN, Mediacorp signed agreements with brands like: * ESPN on 6 August 2018, where Mediacorp will be the exclusive representative for all ad sales in Singapore for ESPN.com, while ESPN will launch a dedicated Singapore edition of the ESPN site to deliver a mix of local sports news and features in addition to coverage of global sports. * 99.co on 29 August 2018 to create property related news and information for consumers. * Edipresse in November 2018 to co-develop content across digital editorial platforms, TV, live radio and events. Such content will be made available on both Mediacorp and Edipresse Media platforms, utilising the regional reach and influence of both companies. * VICE on 23 April 2019 to bring original VICE digital and TV content to a new Singapore audience via Mediacorp's multi-platform reach.


Flagship programmes


Some of Mediacorp’s flagship programmes include: * Star Awards – Mediacorp’s awards event * 118 – long-form Channel 8 drama. 255-episode 118 I aired from 2014 – 2015, 218-episode 118 II ran from 2016 – 2017, and a special 23-episode 118 Reunion aired in 2018. * Tanglin – long-form Channel 5 daily drama that centred on the lives of multiracial and multigenerational families in a middle-income neighbourhood, in the Holland Village, Tanglin. The 823-episode show ran from 2015 to 2018. * KIN – ongoing long-form Channel 5 weekends drama launched in 2018 (after Tanglin’s conclusion). * Getai Challenge – singing talent search competition that aimed to promote the Getai culture and discover aspiring Getai singers. Season 1 was shown on Channel 8 in 2015, and Season 2 in 2018. * SPOP SING! –  an initiative launched by Mediacorp in 2018 to showcase and curate local music compositions. * Abang Teksi - Suria only Malay sitcom aired season 1 from 2017 and season 2 from 2019. * Forensik - Suria drama and spin-off to Code Of Law Singapore launched in 2020.


Production


In 2000, ''MediaCorp Studios'' was created to produce content for MediaCorp TV channels, such as Channel 5, Channel U and Channel 8. In 2001, ''EagleVision'' was created to produce content for Suria and Vasantham. They co-produce programmes with regional broadcasters and production houses such as Media Prima Malaysia, Radio Televisyen Malaysia, Radio Television Brunei, Eightgeman Taiwan and Taiwan Television.


See also


* Mass media of Singapore * Censorship in Singapore * List of programmes broadcast by MediaCorp Channel 5 * List of programmes broadcast by MediaCorp Channel U *


References





External links



Official website
{{DEFAULTSORT:Mediacorp Category:1999 establishments in Singapore Category:Temasek Holdings Category:Magazine publishing companies Category:Newspaper companies of Singapore Category:Singaporean companies established in 1999 Category:Mass media companies established in 1999 Category:Mass media companies of Singapore Category:Government-owned companies of Singapore Category:Multilingual broadcasters Category:Singaporean brands