SPH expands new media reach with 2 ground-breaking products - Jul 30, 2008 (ST)

BackJul 30, 2008

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

SPH expands new media reach with 2 ground-breaking products

Razor TV will go on air next month while Rednano recently signed a deal with NUS.

By Bryan Lee
Jul 30, 2008
The Straits Times

SINGAPORE Press Holdings (SPH) is expanding its new media reach with two ground-breaking products.

The media group on Wednesday signed a deal with the National University of Singapore (NUS) researchers to improve its Rednano Internet search service, and obtained a five-year 'niche' Internet TV licence for its soon-to-be-launched interactive webcast service - The Straits Times Razor TV - from the Media Development Authority (MDA).

It also signed on local start-up Ufinity as a technology partner.

The Rednano-NUS project, which will run over the next three years, seeks to provide more precise results not just for text queries but video and image searches as well.

'Our work aims to provide users with precise answers rather than a long list of Web pages that other search engines are providing,' said NUS computing professor Chua Tat Seng, who will be leading the project.

'This collaboration will lead to more precise location-oriented contextual searches.'

SPH Search chief executive Paul Jansen said: 'Our investment in this project, both financial and otherwise, reflects how rooted we are in this community.'

SPH is also all set to launch Razor TV - Singapore's first interactive webcast service, which goes on air next month.

It was awarded a 'niche' Internet TV licence, which carries less onerous obligations than a nationwide one. But it restricts viewership to no more than 100,000 in the country.

It also sealed a deal with Ufinity, which has worked with StarHub and the Singapore Exchange, to put in place the infrastructure for the service, that will be broadcast eight hours a day on week days.

Mr Felix Soh, SPH digital media editor for the English and Malay Newspaper Division, said: 'This is a unique convergence of Web TV with interactivity and social networking functions. It will redefine the way news is delivered and consumed in the future.'

Razor TV has won a developer grant from the Government, which said on Wednesday its efforts to boost research and development in the digital media sphere is paying off.

Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts Lui Tuck Yew cited Fresbo as an example of the programme's success.

The locally developed application is the top application on the global social networking platform Friendster, with more than 220,000 registered users.

In another move to tap the digital field, the Government is launching a new initiative to match innovative digital media companies with investors.

Called i.Match, it has secured commitment from 40 investors, including SPH, ST Electronics and MediaCorp.