Singapore – Addressing key members of the industry at its annual Media Business Forum, the Media Development Authority (MDA) announced that the Government aims to spend S$250 million (US$163 million) this year to sustain the growth momentum of Singapore’s media sector amidst the economic downturn. This spending, which includes funding from the National Research Foundation (NRF) to boost research and development in interactive digital media, as well as support for public service programmes, is projected to support about 2,000 jobs when the projects come onstream in the coming year. Singapore’s media sector has enjoyed steady growth since the industry’s national blueprint Media 21 was unveiled. As at 2006, the media sector contributed US$3.2 billion value-added and US$12.7 billion revenue to the economy, employing 54,700 workers. The compounded annual growth rate of the media sector from 1996 to 2006 was 8.0%, higher than 5.2% for the overall economy. The Government announced in Parliament last month that it will set aside S$230 million over five years under the Singapore Media Fusion plan to develop the local media industry, representing a 40% increase in funding from the previous Media 21 blueprint. That is on top of existing NRF support of S$500 million over five years for interactive digital media research and development.