Saturday, October 30, 2004

What is WRONG with me?

I don't know what's wrong with me, things aren't just going my way & I'm almost driven crazy by just thinking about it.

I wanted so much to get away from my present job & get a marketing comm or PR-related job, it's so hard w/o the necessary work experience. Now, i realised even more that paper qualifications aren't everything, experience & past job credentials counts just as much; if not more.

Some people would probably think i'm stupid to give up almost 5 years of experience in the freight forwarding industry. But, this is not WHAT I WANT & ASPIRE to do for the rest of my life. Probably, i am indeed stupid to not get out sooner. Perhaps, it was already a mistake when i accepted the job offer 5 years,, knowing this isn't what i want. But, who can blame me? I was desperate for a job then, being a drop-out from the poly; my choices are limited when armed with only an 'O' level cert.

I have tried applying for countless jobs, been called for several interviews; but all to no avail. Am i really not good enough, not even competent for an entry/junior position? Was it my resume writing skills or my interviewing skills that sux, which cost me the potential job?

I can only pray for a better day to come along & hopefully chances come my way soon, very soon.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Pretty Chris

Chris Gone...probably deserving Posted by Hello

Alas, Chris is voted out of Singapore Idol.

He's probably the next worst contestant among the 12, after Jerry. Well, at least Jerry was humble & took the negative comments/unwanted media attention in his stride. Chris' so cocky !

My guess, Leandra is probably the next to go, followed by Daphne. Olinda, Taufik & Sly are the Final 3 & either one of them winning the Singapore Idol would be nice.

Sunday, October 24, 2004


I don't believe this, i was at Tampines Central last Friday & was stopped in my tracks by 2 guys working for the same insurance company. The thing is, the 2 booths set up are barely 300 metres apart.

Anyway, the 1st booth i passed; the "insurance adviser" stopped me & started talking about the benefits of saving & how saving with "his company" can accumulate better interest than the local banks & how they can "give" the policy holder an amt of cash every year.

Woah, sounds like a dream come true. You wish.

Well, i'm not against insurance companies coming up with saving plans/endownments; but the instrusive nature of the "advisers". They practically step in right in front of you, preventing you to venture another step ahead to avoid them. By the time i passed the 2nd booth, this other "adviser" tried to stop me & i just waved him off & said i just got stopped by his colleague earlier. He let me off then.

I figured the increase in the no. of roadshows is due to the competitiveness between the different insurance companies & the banks (local or foreign). But, it's getting too annoying to the extent that you try ways & means to "slide" pass these roadshows.

The irony of a developed society.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Sexy Babe with Great Talent/Good Voice Ousted ? Posted by Hello

Sadly, the talented always get ousted from the Singapore Idol; why??

Maia is easily the most versatile among the 12. She could tackle slow numbers like she did "Remember Me this Way" on the piano show; but was dismissed by the professional judges (are they??) that it's the wrong choice of song. Then she had another chance during the Wildcards, made the cut with a fast number. Thereafter, she has dazzled & waltzed her way through the Spectaculars.

Sigh, was it her filrt with Sylvester that sealed her fate? So so sad to see her go. But, as she said herself, we would still be seeing her doing music.

Wish her all the best, Maia Rocks, with a spunk Attitude !

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Most Hated Personality on SG Idol ?

Most Hated Personality on SG Idol ? Posted by Hello

Jerry is out of Singapore Idol! Can you believe it?

Though he's not really the best in voice or looks, i didn't think he deserves the media bashing & widespread critisms thrown at him every week. Give him a break !

He has way much more supporters than the other Idols, whom are ousted out from the much earlier than Jerry. That's not his fault.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Superman - Christopher Reeve

A Legend Laid to Rest Posted by Hello

Such a pity, Superman had passed on & it's a big blow to the many fans of his.

We witnessed his strong-willed mind & determination to carry on living & make his life work for him, despite his disability.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

David's (ah beng) Journey on Idol

Ah Beng's Journey Posted by Hello

It was such a pity to see David go, he was one of my favourites.

He was certainly not the weakest last night, at least 2 other contestants were far worse than him. Anyway, he has a good career path ahead of him being a law student.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Impact of Reality Television in Asia

Chapter 1. Definition of Reality Television

Since the evolution of reality television in the last century. We have seen many reality programmes emerging onto our television screens. Without a doubt, it has become a trend to be reckoned with.

Of course, there are also many working definitions for the new phenomenon that emerged too. [1]One definition that I gathered from the web states that, reality television is aimed at capturing human action directly, sans scripts, actors, and rehearsals, and cum extravagant and often extreme circumstances deliberately designed to provoke the most extreme reactions from participants.

Ultimately, it would be really tough to define reality television. For a simple reason, how much reality is really involved in these programmes? How much reality is the audience getting from the programme, without the interference of editing and censorship?

Chapter 2. History of Television

The broadcasting industry, be it television or radio; have come a long way. From the first invention of the cathode-ray tube by K.F. Braun [2]in year 1897, the world has gone from no broadcasting to many other mediums of broadcasting.

In year 1923, Russian immigrant, Vladimir Kosma Zworykin[3] patents the first television transmission tube, the first color television was patented in year 1925. In the same year, A.C. Nielsen Company was established to measure the ratings for viewership for television programmes. 1928 was a breakthrough in the broadcasting history of television, John Baird[4] beams a television image from England to the United States (U.S.); thus creating inter-country transmission. In the same year, General Electric (GE) manufactured the first television set with a 3" x 4" screen.

As expected, legislation came into the picture when The Communications Act of 1934 was passed, which regulates broadcasting. Two years later, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) started the world's first television service with 3 hours of programming per day.

Colour television became a possible reality in 1940 when CBS demonstrates it in New York City (NYC). WNBT, the first regularly operating television network began broadcasting in NYC with an estimated viewership of 10,000. Colour television was finally introduced into U.S. in 1951. By 1960, almost ninety percent of U.S. homes have a television set.

Since the integration from black & white television to color television, we have seen many changes in the broadcasting industry. Television networks began sprouting up in the market, such as ABC[5], CBS[6] and NBC[7]. Dramas, game shows and news programmes are a plentiful. By year 1992, there were as much as 201 million units of television sets in the U.S., our favourite sitcoms and dramas, Friends and ER debuted on television screens in 1994. The debuts of these dramas proved to be very successful and won the hearts of many viewers.

In 1997, the very first types of television ratings were enforced on cable stations and broadcast networks. The controversial ratings, TV-Y[8], TV-G[9], TV-Y7[10], TV-PG[11], TV-14[12], TV-Y7 FV[13] and TV-MA[14] would appear on the upper left-hand corner for 15 seconds. Only news and sports programmes are spared from the ratings. There was a widespread comment at that time of the effectiveness of these ratings, was it really useful in regulating the various television programmes.

Chapter 3. History of Reality Television

Before the phenomenon of reality programmes present on today's television, reality programmes is in fact not a new facet to many people. They have already existed for quite some time.

Voyeur reality had been around for years. Television historians trace it to a 1971 PBS[15] series, An American Family, in which the audience eavesdropped on the most intimate details of a family in trouble. MTV[16] did something similar with Real World [17]beginning in 1992, taping the daily lives of a houseful of young adults.

In fact, the pioneer of reality television programming started with CBS, with the debut of Candid Camera[18], which has been on television since 1948. With Candid Camera literally living with us for the many years of watching television, some might wonder why the big fuss now over the adverse effects and impacts of reality programmes on the population now where it had already existed for almost 55 years.

Maybe it is the chance to appear on national television or maybe it is the lure of all that monetary reward, we might never know what are the real motives of the contestants.

Chapter 4. Examples of Reality Television Programmes that Made Headlines

There are no lack of examples of reality programmes that made headlines in Singapore or other parts of Asia. Singapore, being the regional hub of Asia and a cosmopolitan country and moving with the global village; various television programmes are made available on the free-to-air channels, as well as the cable network. Other parts of Asia, particularly China and India; are undoubtedly markets of immense potential, with the advantage of their vast population.

In Singapore, we have seen an influx of reality programmes on Mediacorp's Channel 5. To date, we have seen all six seasons of the Survivor, all four instalments of The Amazing Race, Fear Factor, The American Idol, Extreme Makeover, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, High School Reunion; and the list goes on.

Miss Sumiko Tan, The Sunday Times' editor lamented about the 'wonders' that reality television do for her in her regular column in the paper on 31st August 2003. Sumiko mentioned in her article that in midst of all the bad news occurring around us, reality television programme becomes an avoidance avenue for some.

Another article also appeared in Streats on 26th August 2003, by Miss Yvonne Kwok. The subject of her feature was the new reality programme which premiered recently on Mediacorp's Channel 5 on Saturday nights, Extreme Makeover. The programme selects three normal folk from the crowd and attempts to transform them into Prince Charming(s) or Cinderella(s).

Chapter 5. Why is Reality Television so Popular with Media Networks

This new genre of television programming has caught us by storm. It's no wonder that several media giants have produced similar programmes to suit the viewers' preferences.

It's no surprise that reality programmes are cheaper to produce than your popular dramas and sitcoms, such as ER and Friends. Reality television shows only cost half as much to produce as compared to your typical drama or sitcom. The main bulk of production costs of producing a drama or sitcom are paid out as whopping salaries to renowned actors, such as the six man cast members of Friends. Often, producers or media network owners do not see quick profit generating from dramas or sitcoms. Usually, the first run of a high end drama or sitcom operates at a loss until it is able to garner an audience or following.

In contrast, reality television promises instant profits and yet cost less to produce than your regular drams and sitcoms. We have seen many spin-offs of reality programmes from the various major media networks. CBS produced the popular Survivor series that kick-start the craze for reality programming. Fox Television too produced the much talked-about series, Joe Millionaire. Another major media network, ABC produced The Bachelorette, another exploitation of the runaway success of The Bachelor.

Just like any business models, media networks are widening their influence with mergers and acquisitions. It all boils down to profitability and market share. It is undoubtedly that reality programmes are popular with the masses and are cheaper productions, but the returns are unfathomable. To quote Mr Randy Falco, NBC President;

"They're (reality programmes) well produced, they're cheap, they're ratings weapons." [19]

Media networks in Singapore are riding high with reality programming as well. A press release by Mediacorp after the finals of American Idol telecasted in May revealed that close to 1 million viewers[20] watched Ruben Studdard beat Clay Aiken by marginal differences.

Not forgetting the considerable amount of advertising revenue that can generated from reality programming. Depending on the popularity of the reality programme, a 30 seconds spot of advertising can cost as much as USD 400,000[21]. For example, Fox Television charged a whopping sum of SGD 400,000 for a 30 seconds spot for their airtime during the finale of Joe Millionaire.

Chapter 6. First Taste of Reality Television in Asia

With almost all the major media networks jumping onto the bandwagon to make this business so profitable, we are not spared of the abundance of such programmes appearing on our television screens.

6.1 In Singapore

Singapore's media scene just witnessed the celebration of Mediacorp's 40th anniversary of broadcasting. We have indeed come a long way from black and white television broadcasting to where we are today. We have seen many more different genres of television programmes on free-to-air channels and the improvisation of a cable network, Singapore Cable Vision; opened more doors for television viewing and coverage.

We are not totally new to reality television programmes appearing on our television screens until the recent influx. During the early nineties, we have seen TCS[22] production of Gotcha! [23]on our television screens. Hosted by the talented Mr Moe Alkaff[24], the programmes designed pranks and established fake settings to capture people's reactions to sudden situations; only to be recorded by a hidden camera, which would later be telecasted on national television.

Gotcha! was once termed the "Candid Camera of Singapore". The show is actually very similar to the format of the latter. However, it created controversy when the general public began to be overly suspicious over real-life emergencies. In 1994, when Miss Azizah Abdullah fainted outside the now defunct Dynasty Hotel; instead of lending a helping hand to assist Miss Abdullah, they began looking around for the Gotcha! hidden television camera, thinking it is just another well-devised prank by the show. Fortunately for Miss Abdullah, she was sent to the hospital in time. Doctors have gasped that she could have lost her life if she had hit her head too hard during the fall or if the blood stopped circulation to her brain.

Of course, we are not banishing this genre of programmes. However, we could have exercised more discretion and sensitivity during production of the programme. If, unfortunately; Ms Abdullah have lost her life during the incident, due to inactivity of the bystanders whom are suspicious of a hidden Gotcha! television camera instead of lending a helping hand. The consequences would have been dire. Can anyone blame Gotcha! for Ms Abdullah's mishap?

With the huge success of CBS's Survivor, Mediacorp's produced a travelogue programme, Discover Australia [25]that was broadcasted on Channel 8 earlier this year. This variety series showcases the sights of Australia in the midst of two teams pitting against each other to be the ultimate survivor. Yes, you guessed it; a similar format that made Survivor so popular. With similar programmes being shown on our television screens, it's going to be difficult to not be caught by the populist television culture rampant in our current electronic media culture.

From the findings we derived from the survey, a total of eighteen respondents gave their answers and more than half welcomed the idea of more reality programmes on our programming.

Some of the reasons cited by respondents whom welcomed more reality programmes are, they are interesting to watch and would tune in for entertainment purposes. However, there were also some disapproving views about broadcasting more of such programmes on our channels.

Some comments of the respondents whom do not want to see more reality programmes on our local television’s programming,

"It is sadistic and not as real as I think more tuned in for entertainment purposes”

"The lines are getting more standardized. Bachelor & Bachelorette sucks! It’s absolute ridiculous”

It is no surprise that more welcomed the idea of more reality programming on our local channels. The monetary returns and viewership generated from reality programmes would indefinitely boost the network and channel’s exposure to the viewers. The business model of reality programme have also proven itself to be extremely viable by some major media conglomerates in the west. It would be a big mistake if the local networks fail to recognize that.

In fact, Mediacorp’s Channel 5 recognised the popularity of reality programming and is bringing back the popular Gotcha! in November 2003. No Moe Alkaft this time though, two younger pop idols will host the programme. Hopefully, this revamp or new season would bring about better vibes with the viewers than the last.

6.2 In China

China, one of the world's largest countries with mammoth potential is also not spared. Rupert Murdoch[26]'s News Corporation[27] is eyeing for a piece of cake in the Republic's media business. He has managed to launch a programme in Beijing called The TV Court which is similar to Judge Judy[28], but with localised content; in hope to win favours with the population there.

Murdoch's intentions are understandable. With the Republic's immense potential of an estimated figure of 340 million households [29]that owns a television set, it is truly a massive market beneficial for News Corporation. With this intention in mind, News Corporation introduced a totally new channel, Starry Sky[30]; which has already produced 700 hours[31] of programming based on western programmes, such as Wanted! In China, Women in Control and Late Night Talk (similar to David Letterman). Jamie Davis, President of News Corp. China has this to say about the strategy to explore and widen its influence over the population in China;

"We wanted programming like they'd (China's television audience) never seen. We wanted that international format and energy - but you have to go local to succeed."[32]

However, it has not been all plain sailing for Murdoch's network and they have indeed lost a considerable of money in their venture into China. The situation is worsened with China's authoritarian government that fears that foreign-produced entertainment content would surpass domestic and local productions and that inappropriate programming would corrupt the citizens. Hence, they have practiced stringent controls over the distribution of western programming.

6.3 In India

Similar to China, India has the advantage of a vast population that had attracted many potential investors whom yearned to get a share of the profitable market there.

ZEE-Turner Ltd[33], whom forged a strategic alliance with London-based international thematic channel producer and distributor Zone Vision, has launched a Reality TV channel in India early 2003. The Reality TV channel broadcasts 24 hours a day to cable and satellite homes in India, reaching a mass audience of at least 27 million subscribers[34]. While most of the programmes and content are fully localised and dubbed to suit the different groups of audience across the other broadcast regions, all programmes and content would be telecast in English.

Mr Sunil Khanna, CEO of ZEE-Turner Ltd has this to say about the channel in India;

"We are confident that Reality TV in India will be successful. Some of the reality shows on channels such as AXN and Discovery have been doing well in India…They have an audience that is really interested in this kind of programming…Most of these programmes have visuals with high impact and so language is secondary."[35]

However, while some of the programmes may be popular with the audience; is Indian population really ready for reality television programming? A media planner reflected his thoughts below;

"Culturally, Indians differ from their western counterparts. While a soap such like Kyunki would ignite the imagination of the Indian masses, a show like Channel 4's Wife Swap would be dammed as blasphemous. Stark naked reality is not appetising enough for the Indian viewers; it has to be blended with fiction."[36]

It all remains to be seen if the Indian audience are ready to embrace reality television programming with a different attitude and mindset.

Chapter 7. AXN Phenomenon and its Impact on Reality Television in Asia

Reality television has certainly established a foothold in the U.S. as well as Asian countries. However, as mentioned earlier in Chapter 3, this is not a new phenomenon. The genre of reality programming has existed for as long as when the television was invented.

There is also a growing phenomenon of reality programming in Asia as its popularity and evidence of high ratings in the western counties have attracted Asian broadcasters to begin buying the rights to broadcast these programmes on Asian television. AXN[37] has gained a foothold in Asia since its establishment five years ago.

AXN's has branded itself as the action and adventure channel that offers the best in television action dramas, adventure reality shows, anime features and action movies from the east and west. We have seen some quality shows on the channel since its launch in Singapore. For example, we have seen the popular drama series; CSI : Crime Scene Investigation. There were also several reality programmes, such as The Amazing Race and Eco Challenge. There were also some Oscars-nominated movies, the famous movie by much-acclaimed director, Ang Lee; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

According to a report published in the August 2003 issue of Advoice, it's reported that AXN has a reach of 70 million households in Asia[38]. In addition, Nielsen Media Research findings have revealed AXN has the highest average weekly reach of cable channels for the first half of year 2003; with a 36.6 per cent share.

However, despite the success of the channel's programming; AXN is not complacent and thrive to continue producing and acquiring quality prgrammes for the viewers. AXN's Managing Director, Mr Todd Miller has this to say about the future developments of the channel;

"We've not fulfilled our potential. I think we have made a lot of progress, but we still are not completely iconic in the action adventure genre. So there's room for growth and we will continue to work hard to become the best channel that we can."[39]

AXN has indeed surpassed its expectations with exceptionally good results from its television programming. During the recent Emmy Awards[40], their programming received a total of 31 nominations, all these accreditations shows that AXN's programming is able to put together a channel that offers quality programmes.

In fact, AXN has spread its wings to other Asian countries as well. One good example would be India, which was mentioned earlier as having great potential for reality programming due to its massive population. AXN brought the popular reality programme, Who Dares Wins [41]to Mumbai, India and achieved huge success. 9.26 million[42] people in the country watched the special. Riding on this experience, they have decided to adapt the popular American reality programme; Are You Hot[43] to entice Indian audiences. Of course, AXN definitely has to practise sensitivity when bringing in foreign programmes; not to even mention a highly controversial reality programme like Are You Hot. The local adaption would be known as Hot 'n' Wild[44], there would similarly be a panel of judges and auditions.

SET’s[45] Assistant Vice President of Marketing, Rohit Bhandari who is in charge of AXN’s programming has this to say about keeping Indian sensibilities in mind,

"We have taken the basic framework of the show keeping Indian sensibilities in mind. There will be an audition, a panel. However, the Indian panel will not be as rude or base as the American panel...In addition we are not going to have a swimwear round. We are looking for someone with a great personality…who is fluent in Hindi and English."[46]

AXN’s programming also has set great heights for its anticipated success in India; the channel is currently enjoying reach of as much as 24 million households[47]. Managing Director, Mr Todd Miller has lay out the objective for the channel’s expansion in the country,

"We want AXN to be a core channel among the staple channels that the upscale 20-something attitudinal Indian viewer watches”[48]

All the moves and cultural sensibilities taken into consideration, it is no wonder that AXN is so popular in India and several other Asian countries; such as Philippines, Taiwan and Singapore. The brand reaches a huge market with 70 million[49] homes in Asia.

Chapter 8. Conglomerates' Influences on Reality Television

In the era of electronic age, we are constantly besieged by truckloads of information, whether we like it or not, it is entirely intrusive. In addition, with the breakthrough of
the Internet; it makes it all the more easier to obtain information while not compromising speed.

Reality programmes has become a very popular genre for the major networks, whether in the west or in the east. Media conglomerates have almost jumped onto the bandwagon simultaneously, given the assurance with the high viewership ratings and profitability.

Table 8.1 : Prime-time ratings compiled by Nielsen Media
Research for week beginning September 15 - 21, 2003

Ranking / Programme / Network / Viewership
1 / Survivor : Pearl Island / CBS / 21.5 million
2 / NFL Monday Night Football : Dallas vs N.Y. Giants / ABC / 18.3 million
3 / 55th Annual Emmy Awards / FOX / 17.9 million
4 / NFL Monday Showcase /ABC / 14.5 million
5 / Everybody Loves Raymond / CBS / 14.4 million
6 / CSI : Crime Scene Investigation / CBS / 14.1 million
7 / A Life of Laughter : John Ritter / ABC / 14 million
8 / Friends / NBC / 12.9 million
9 / Law & Order / NBC / 12.2 million
10 / CSI : Miami / CBS / 11.6 million

Source :

From Table 8.1, we can clearly see that Survivor is still appealing to the viewers; despite running its seventh season now. It is certainly a surprise to see that the all-time favourite drama Friends far from the top. It’s no wonder that most of the major networks are buying the copyrights of these popular programmes and producing their own shows to satisfy the viewers’ appetite for reality programming.

Fox Television have indeed caught the fever of reality programming and have started a blitz of such programmes on their network. Fox Television first launched Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire in year 2000. The programme’s format and presentation was raunchy as women paraded themselves, sometimes just in their skimpy bathing suits and tried their best to ‘woo’ the male subject in question; who happens to be a multi-millionaire. Fox went on to produce similar programmes that involved relationships and immense sexual tension between the genders. For instance, productions such as Temptation Island [50]and Joe Millionaire[51] began appearing on the network channels.

Other networks thought that they would not be outdone by Fox and also started producing their own brand of reality programming as well. CBS produced the all-time favourite Survivor and The Amazing Race, which garnered a huge following, both in USA; as well as Asia.

A survey done in September 2003 with a random sampling of Singaporean teens aged between 18-years to 24-years of age revealed that more respondents would rather not be part of a reality show, as they do not liked to be watched. They are maybe just fulfilling the voyeuristic characteristics of the human species; most of us have just that bit of ‘peeping tom’ nature. We want to watch what others are doing and saying, but are totally apprehensive of the idea of being watched.

One baffling comment from one of the respondents who wants to be part of a reality programme,

"I would like to be The Bachelor. So I can sleep with 25 girls & marry none.”

Another respondent, Merianne; wants the experience; being on a reality show.

"Something to do with brand. I think it would be fun if for nothing but the chance to experience something new. Wouldn’t really care about the cameras.”

The survey results might not be an outright advantage for the reality programmes, but it is definitely a sizable number of respondents that wants to be on a reality show if given a chance. The results may vary soon in favour of reality programmes, we might never know; judging by the comments I gathered from the survey.

The influence from conglomerates on reality programming is inevitable. While some Asian media conglomerates are producing their own programmes, it’s very unlikely that 100% of the programming can be entirely local productions and not acquired from other networks. AXN, for example have acquired much content from USA and other production houses to beef up their programming.

Chapter 9. Popularity of Reality Programmes among Singapore Teens

In order to understand better how Singapore teens view reality programming. I carried out a survey to determine the most watched reality programme on Mediacorp’s Channel 5. It’s undoubtedly that most teens are aware of the reality programmes on Channel 5.

Upon random sampling of thirty youngsters aged between 18-years to 24-years, from the findings obtained from the survey, the most popular reality programme among the five choices is The Amazing Race with nine respondents voting it to be their most preferred reality programme, both Survivor and American Idol came a close second with six votes each.

The Amazing Race gained quite a following in Singapore, especially during the third instalment, when the teams came to Singapore as one of their stop-overs and completed several tasks on our little island. They had to race to The Botanical Gardens, The Zoological Gardens, Suntec City’s Fountain of Wealth, Mount Faber and even our HDB flats in Chua Chu Kang.

The episode showcased Singapore to the millions of other viewers in the West and many other countries. They got to see the various major tourism attractions on our island and the exposure of Singapore to the rest of the world enhanced tremendously.

The Amazing Race was probably more popular than the other reality programmes as it involves a travel element. The race also sets the competition in pairs, two individuals with blood relations, friends, and married parents/couples; engaging themselves in a variety of action and adventures.

Chapter 10. Conclusion

After conducting the survey, it’s not hard to realise that most people have mixed feelings about the genre of reality programmes. It’s a love-hate relationship.

It’s perhaps the voyeuristic aspect in many of us that explains the wish to see more reality programmes on our local programming. A recent survey (please see Chart 4) done by MediaCorp Singapore further accentuates that reality programmes are popular and are watched by many.

Figure 10.1 : MediaCorp’s Survey on what the public would
Like to See More on Television

Source :
(last visited on 09th October 2003)

From the poll conducted by Mediacorp, we can see that the respondents to the polls have indicated that they would like to see more reality programmes on our local television programming. Reality shows topped the polls with a percentage of 31.94, local dramas came in a close second with 31.89%.

There is also clear evidence that the television-watching crowd in Singapore is watching more reality programmes than ever. These can be seen from the viewership ratings of Mediacorp’s Channel 5 for past month. There is almost definitely a reality programme among the top ten English programmes.

Source :

From the programmes’ ratings table above, it’s indeed a fact that reality programmes are still popular with the local audiences. Fear Factor scored a high as the fifth most watched programme in the week, even out-doing the popular sitcom, Friends.

However, it’s both interesting and heartening to note that the most watched programme on Mediacorp’s Channel 5 is a local production, Singapore’s Brainiest Kid. The programme aims to find the ‘brainiest’ kid among the numerous hopeful contestants. The programme serves as an educational programme as well, the questions asked during the show are entirely based on general knowledge and some specific areas, such as Mathematics, Science, Geography, Nature and many others.

Source :

The new season of Survivor debuted on Channel 5 on 19th September. Though it didn’t make an impact on the programmes’ ratings during its debut, it certainly did on its second week of telecast.

It was ranked seventh on its second week of telecast, with a viewership of 200,000 viewers tuning in to the show filmed on Pearl Islands at the Panama. Survivor has always been a regular fixture on the programming of Channel 5, we have seen all the past six installments of the show and Survivor : Pearl Islands is the seventh series we are now watching.

The British character, Mr Bean, dominated this week’s ratings. It was a ‘Mr Bean’ weekend and the three programmes were shown simultaneously, one after another. It’s no wonder that their ratings were also in chorus.

It is evident from the ratings and the poll shown in Chart 10.1 that reality programmes are still largely popular with the television-watching crowd. It is therefore wise to introduce more of reality shows into our programming to attract more viewers and perhaps obtain more income for the advertising airtime that the programmes might draw. Mediacorp’s Channel 5 programming has changed a great deal since the popularity of reality programmes surged locally.

Now, there is almost a reality programme every weeknight. From Channel 5’s programming, we can clearly see that there is a steady influx of reality programmes on the channel. We get to watch Survivor, The Bachelor, Fear Factor, Extreme Makeover, Star Search, Meet My Folks and many others. Judging by the reality programmes we see on the channel, it averages about six hours per week and most of them are shown during prime time between 7 pm to 11pm every weeknight. This further shows the emphasis the channel has placed on the prorammes.

Besides the influence from the local channels, there is still the regional influence from other conglomerates and cable television. As mentioned earlier in the report, AXN has proven to be a force to be reckoned with. AXN has established a strong foothold in Asia and have proven to be a quality channel who has broadcasted numerous Emmy-nominated programmes.

If we look at AXN, it has proven its forte as the action and adventure channel in the region. There is a wide spectrum of programmes on the channel that contributes to the statistics of reality programmes. There is a wide proportion of airtime dedicated to action and adventure programmes, as much as a average of ten hours per day of airtime devoted to this genre of programmes.

Likewise, AXN has seen the viable business model that has worked so well for the major media conglomerates and has similarly adopted a similar programming fashion to attract viewers.

10.1 The Issue of Privacy

Loss of privacy has always been the bane of most celebrities, losing the freedom that they have to shop at the supermarket and enjoying a meal. That is definitely the price to pay for fame and stardom.

In some reality shows, you loses your privacy as an individual as well. For instance, the popular reality show, Big Brother[52]; produced by CBS. Viewers are able to get log onto the internet and view whatever is going on in the house. Viewers can literally see what is going on in the house and what the developments in the house are.

It is as good as you are living in the house, you are getting all the action; first-hand. Perhaps the contestants are not too bothered about the existence of the cameras and microphones, as they are there to win the money, they are motivated by the end reward if they were the last one standing; US$ 500,000 richer.

We could maybe see the same thing happening to us in the future, an affixed camera in our home which records our daily routine, chores and conversations. In fact, MTV has done it with Real World; maybe it might really become reality in the near future to see yourself in a reality show.

Chapter 11. Recommendations

In this era of media onslaught of information, we are constantly bombarded with images and make-believe perceptions, many things and issues are left to our own self-censorship and self-regulation.

We should be critical of what we see and hear over the television or radio, exercise our judgement and believe in our values. Undoubtedly, legislation and government plays an important part of what should be televised and what's not. The Censorship Review Committee (CRC) has to work doubly hard with the increased "threat" from foreign programmes.

The CRC 2003 had just recently released the report this year in 04th September 2003. Many changes were highlighted in this year’s report. There were recommendations to introduce ratings for television programmes so that more quality programmes, but rated R(A)[53] in the theatres could be shown on FTA[54] channels after 10pm.

The recommendations made are significant to the media developments in Singapore. As we progress economically as a country, we should also learn to be critics of ourselves. We should start it right when our future generation is young.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Media Development Authority (MDA) should work together to introduce media education in the curriculum from upper primary levels onwards. It is only when our children are able to decide for themselves what content they see on television are for real or what are being fabricated, we can say that we have succeeded. The journey to achieving that is extremely tough and full of obstacles as Singaporeans are used to being sheltered by our leaders and have slowly degenerated to be listeners, rather than thinkers.

Also, with the extremely profitable business model adopted by the major media conglomerates, it is going to be hard not to adopt the same business model. The trend of following the business model is evident with the recent spate of reality programmes on our programming. Local media networks are buying franchise rights of the foreign reality programmes and producing the local versions of them.

The strategy of the networks is understandable as it is profits that they are after ultimately. However, the local networks could try to encourage more creativity by prompting producers to formulate a reality programme as well, instead of being dependant on foreign media networks. The two companys, Mediacorp and SPH[55] Mediaworks should strive to work together as a unit to produce quality programmes, instead of diversifying their financial and talents with the intention to be number one in Singapore. The developments for our local market are already limited; we might stand a greater chance of making breakthroughs in the region, such as China; Hong Kong or Korea if the two media giants join forces to bring the media industry in Singapore to a new era.

In recent years, we have seen many talented individuals produced works of high quality. We have the multi-talented Jack Neo directing movie after movie for distribution in Singapore, as well as Malaysia and Hong Kong. Let’s not forget Glen Oei and Eric Khoo, and the new kid on the block, Royston Tan; who directed the controversial movie, Fifthteen. It would be such a pity to see these talents restricted by the resources and opportunities in Singapore and chooses to hone their skills elsewhere.

There aren’t many people whom are as talented as them, if we do come across interested individuals as brilliant as them, all the more we should help him/her to develop their talents and skills in Singapore. Mediacorp and SPH Mediaworks could also work together to identify these individuals while they are still in school. They can offer him/her a scholarship and hence keep the talent under their wing. That should minimise the loss of talented people in the media industry to overseas market.

In order for the media industry to propel to greater heights, the industry leaders should lead the way and be more daring to make changes to the current situation. We have witnessed the deregulation of the media industry with a second broadcaster, SPH Mediaworks; two years ago. Hopefully, we can enjoy more quality programmes from these two networks.

Perhaps the finest moment might be when we see a Singapore-produced reality series being showed on the other networks, when Mediacorp or SPH Mediaworks logos are illustrated during the running credits.

That has to be the finest moment and truly a paramount achievement and evidence that the media industry in Singapore has evolved and developed itself to be a force to be reckoned with in the global market.




2) BBC News :

3) MediaCorp Singapore :

4) TIME Magazine :,13675,501030303-425955,00.html

5) Agency FAQ :

6) Indian Television :

7) Columbia Broadcasting Company :


1) August Issue of Advoice


[2] Prize Nobel for physics in 1909. Constructs a valve with electronic bundle completely contained in its covering, that it will be to the base of modern cinescopi the television ones.
[3] Russian inventor. July 30 1889 - July 29 1982.
[4] Scottish scientist. Born on August 14 1888.
5 American Broadcasting Corporation. Built from ABC Radio network.
[6] Columbia Broadcasting System. Built from CBS radio network.
[7] National Broadcast Company. Built from NBC radio network.
[8] Appropriate for all children.
[9] Suitable for all ages, contains little or no violence/sexual dialogue or situations.
[10] Designed for children age 7 and above. Programme may include mild fantasy violence or comedic violence.
[11] Programme contains material unsuitable for younger children. The theme itself may call for for parental guidance.
[12] Programme contains material that parents find unsuitable for children under 14 years of age.
[13] Programmes where fantasy violence may be more intense or more combative than other programmes.
[14] Pogramme to be viewed by adults and may be unsuitable for children under 17 years of age.
[15] Public Broadcasting Service
[16] Music Television Network, owned by Viacom.
[17] A reality show of the lifes of a group of young adults.
[18] A prank-motivated programmes, aims to capture the embarrassing moments of public.
[19] Shiels, Maggie (March 7, 2003). "Bitter reality for TV writers" Retrieved Aug 24, 2003 from
[21] Shiels, Maggie (March 7, 2003). "Bitter reality for TV writers" Retrieved Aug 24, 2003 from
[22] Television Corporation of Singapore. The earlier name foe the now Media Corporation of Singapore.
[23] the local answer to Candid Camera
[24] Local celebrity, star of movie “One Leg Kicking”.
[25] Local production of a travelogue programme which is filmed in Australia.
[26] Australian-born media mogul
[27] Conglomerate owned by Rupert Murdoch; has MTV, Nickelodeon.
[28] Programme produced by News Corporation, a courtroom-inspired show.
[29] Forney, Matthew (March 3, 2003) – TIME Magazine, Vol. 161 No. 8 : “A Dose of Reality”. Retrieved Aug 24, 2003 from,13675,501030303-425955,00.html
[30] A Mandarin channel introduced by News Corporation’s Asian Subsidiary, Hong Kong-based Star Group Ltd.
[31] Forney, Matthew (March 3, 2003) – TIME Magazine, Vol. 161 No. 8 : “A Dose of Reality”. Retrieved Aug 24, 2003 from,13675,501030303-425955,00.html
[32] Forney, Matthew (March 3, 2003) – TIME Magazine, Vol. 161 No. 8 : “A Dose of Reality”. Retrieved Aug 24, 2003 from,13675,501030303-425955,00.html
[33] subsidiary of Zee Telefilms Ltd
[34] Vaid Dixit, Sumita (Jan 29, 2003). “ZEE-Turner to launch Reality TV in India”. Retrieved on Aug 24, 2003 from
[35] Vaid Dixit, Sumita (Jan 29, 2003). “ZEE-Turner to launch Reality TV in India”. Retrieved on Aug 24, 2003 from
[36] Vaid Dixit, Sumita (Jan 29, 2003). “ZEE-Turner to launch Reality TV in India”. Retrieved on Aug 24, 2003 from
[37] Started broadcasting on 21st Sept 1997. The first 24-hour cable and satellite TV channel in Asia exclusively dedicated to action and adventure programming
[38] Advoice (Aug 2003). "AXN – action ace goin’ places”, p. 22.
[39] Advoice (Aug 2003). "AXN – action ace goin’ places”, p. 22
[40] An annual award presentation to reward the best in television.
[41] An Australian-produced reality show, daring people to perform bizarre stints for cash.
[42] Pinto, Ashwin (April 2, 2003) “Interview with AXN Asia managing director Todd Miller”. Retrieved on Aug 24, 2003 from
[43] Contestants compete for the crown of the sexiest man or woman in America. Talent, personality and strategy were not required, just physical beauty and innate sexiness.
[44] India’s version of Are You Hot.
[45] Sony Entertainment Television.
[46] Pinto, Ashwin (June 28, 2003) “Interview with SET’s Assistant VP Marketing Rohit Bhandari”. Retrieved on Aug 24, 2003 from
[47] Pinto, Ashwin (April 2, 2003) “Interview with AXN Asia managing director Todd Miller”. Retrieved on Aug 24, 2003 from
[48] Pinto, Ashwin (April 2, 2003) “Interview with AXN Asia managing director Todd Miller”. Retrieved on Aug 24, 2003 from
[49] Pinto, Ashwin (April 2, 2003) “Interview with AXN Asia managing director Todd Miller”. Retrieved on Aug 24, 2003 from
[50] Four unmarried couples in long-term relationships, travels to a remote Caribbean island to test their devotion to one another, with the seduction of attractive singles.
[51] Women unaware of the plot, starts a whirlwind romance with a man who they think is a dashing American millionaire.
[52] A reality series that follows a group of strangers sharing a house, equipped with cameras and microphones to record their every move, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Competition requires players to use brain, brawn and charm to win.
[53] Rated (Artistic), for 21-years and above only.
[54] Free-to-Air, such as Channel 5 / Channel 8 / Channel U and Channel I.
[55] Singapore Press Holdings

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Unbelivable Idol Exit for Jeassea

Surprise ~ Surprise Posted by Hello

Seriously, i thought Jerry was going to be gone. Is he that good or if it's because he's Singaporean..hmmm?

Jeassea was easily the best on Thursday's night, she didn't screw up like Beverly did; why her?

Anyway, the whole show could be manipulated by the producers & Mediacorp; they might have already picked their winner. Who knows...