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New Web TV service - with an edge - Feb 23, 2008 (ST)

BackFeb 23, 2008

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

New Web TV service - with an edge

Online by July, The Straits Times RazorTV will focus on local content and interactivity.

By Chua Hian Hou
Feb 23, 2008
The Straits Times

INTERNET users will be able to watch news, lifestyle features and chat shows live online on Singapore's first Web TV service - The Straits Times RazorTV - by July.

YOUNG AND HIP: The presentation style of the free Web TV service will be informal, said Dr Tan, who tried his hand at filming at the new SPH Multimedia Centre.

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) chairman Tony Tan announced the free Web TV service yesterday at the opening ceremony of a new SPH Multimedia Centre.

He said the TV service will 'offer news and lifestyle features but with sharp and edgy angles, and delivered by fresh faces from a new Web studio to be built here in the Multimedia Centre'. The centre is located at SPH's News Centre in Toa Payoh North.

The interactive service is aimed at Net users aged 18 to 40 and will also allow users to contribute content and interact in real-time with TV hosts and presenters.

The service, said SPH, would be like a combination of an interactive version of video-sharing site YouTube and social networking site Facebook.

It will be spearheaded by Mr Felix Soh, digital media editor for SPH's English and Malay Newspaper Division.

Dr Tan said unlike the more formal, tightly packaged format of traditional TV broadcasters, Straits Times RazorTV's 'presentation style will be young and hip, with an informal tone, in tune with the culture of the Internet'.

YouTube meets Facebook

THE Straits Times RazorTV will:

  • Offer news and lifestyle features with sharp and edgy angles.
  • Allow users to contribute content and interact in real-time with TV hosts and presenters.
  • Target users aged 18 to 40, with a presentation style that is hip and informal.
  • Emphasise highly localised news and events.
  • Offer on-demand videos that can be downloaded after the initial webcast.
  • Allow software developers to create their own add-ons to enhance the website.

An Innovation Laboratory will nurture creative ideas and ways of delivering them through multimedia.

Another key difference will be an emphasis on highly localised news and events to appeal to local audiences. In line with its image, Straits Times RazorTV's studio will also be modelled on a living room with colourful sofas and coffee tables rather than a formal studio.

Staff of Straits Times RazorTV, comprising presenters, content producers and technical staff, will work in the centre, alongside those working on its citizen journalism site Stomp and Web portal AsiaOne.

Besides its live news webcasts and chat shows, users will also be invited to contribute video clips of interesting events - say footage of a dramatic rescue of people trapped in a high-rise fire.

Mr Soh said because of the 'freedom and flexibility' the online platform offers, the whole, unedited clip - even if it is lengthy - can be put online, rather than the short edited segments found in traditional TV news reports.

Following the initial webcast, these video clips will be made available as downloadable digital files, which users can download and watch at their leisure.

'Traditional media companies worldwide have yet to successfully adopt and embrace new-media paradigms... SPH intends to be among the first,' Dr Tan said.

Users, for instance, can participate in an ongoing talk show via their webcams or video calls from mobile phones to offer their views.

The software code used to create Straits Times RazorTV's website will also be made available, so interested software developers can create their own add-ons for it, just as third-party software makers make add-ons for popular social networking site Facebook.

So, it would be possible to make an add-on to allow viewers to virtually 'poke' a news presenter or a guest on a chat show, if they disagree with their comments.

The Straits Times RazorTV is expected to draw 'a few million' pageviews in its first year and make revenue by selling advertisements.

SPH's other digital media projects, said Dr Tan, have also hit new heights.

Stomp's pageviews broke the 10.5 million mark last month, up 30 per cent from last September, while AsiaOne's hit 10.1 million, up 50 per cent. Meanwhile, straitstimes.com, the website of the Singapore's largest English daily The Straits Times, scored 8.8 million, up 35 per cent.

These results, said Dr Tan, 'show that our ongoing efforts in the Internet landscape are bearing fruit'.