Singapore Television Twelve (STV 12) is upping Premiere 12′s kids programming from 19 to 40 hours per week. The increase is part of a restructuring of Singapore’s three terrestrial broadcasters (STV 12, TCS 5 and TCS 8), all owned by Media Corporation of Singapore. English-language channel Premiere 12 is being renamed Central and STV 12′s Malay channel, Prime 12, becomes Suria. Sportscity, a terrestrial sports channel, is kicking off. The restructured channels launch January 30, 2000.
Central’s kids programming will be branded Kids Central, with the tagline ‘Because I’m a kid. . . ‘ Kids Central will house English-language programming for ages zero to 12, and TCS 5, which airs 27 hours per week of English-language kids TV, will shift its focus to teens. Kids Central will air 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The restructuring is a move to create a strong terrestrial alternative to cable options, says Harry Seow, assistant manager of Kids Central. Cartoon Network and Discovery Kids (airing as part of Discovery Channel) are available on Singapore Cable Vision (SCV), as is SCV’s homegrown children’s channel, Eureka Learning Channel. SCV’s subscriber penetration is about 20% of households. TCS 8, which targets Mandarin-speaking viewers (the majority of Singapore’s population), will continue to offer kids programming in Mandarin.
Kids Central will showcase animation and live action, primarily acquisitions from territories including Canada, the U.S., the U.K., France and Australia. Its license fee is US$400 to US$600 per half hour for foreign animation. Seow’s big buy at this year’s MIPCOM was 130 20-minute episodes of the BBC and Tell-Tale Productions co-pro Tweenies, a coup because Kids Central has the series before SCV. ‘Anything that’s 3-D CGI for kids, I’m buying,’ says Seow. Kids Central will also pick up Japanese animation and programming from Singapore.
As well as acquiring the best kids programming from around the world, Kids Central’s goal is to support the Singapore production community by commissioning four and a half hours per week of local productions in the long term. At launch, Kids Central will air at least one hour, including Hip-O & Friends, an in-house production of TCS 5, and KIC (Kids in Charge), commissioned from CVA Film and Television. TCS 5′s Soo Siew Lee, executive producer of Hip-O, begins as manager of Kids Central this month.
The Singapore Broadcasting Authority requires Kids Central to air at least 12 hours per week of informational or educational programming. Seow has picked up such shows as the Children’s Television Workshop and Sony Pictures Family Entertainment Group co-pro Dragon Tales to meet this requirement.