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Draw audiences with content that has a local spin, says Cheah Chee Kong

The creative head wants you to tune in, and stay tuned.

Today, the digital platform cannot be ignored. Especially when nearly eight out of 10 Singapore residents use two or more connected devices, reported Google’s Consumer Barometer last October.

This is the new way to capture audiences, says Cheah Chee Kong of US media company Scripps Networks Interactive. It owns popular TV channels Food Network and Cooking Channel.

With over 20 years of experience in content creation, Cheah emphasises the importance of quality content with a local spin to keep it engaging. And the director and scriptwriter of local film Chicken Rice War (2000) would know, judging by the international awards his film garnered.

One example he brings up is Food Network’s hit TV show The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Instead of mimicking the US version of 30-minute episodes featuring food personalities sharing their favourite dishes, Cheah felt vignettes would work better for Asian viewers who prefer succinct content. So he got local personalities like popular Singapore food blogger Dr Leslie Tay to participate in two-minute clips. “We had many viewers leaving comments on that particular clip,” says Cheah.

And shorter content spells the need for better pacing. “Opening titles used to be elaborate, but we skip the starting jangle now to get to the point and hold attention,” says Cheah.

“With good content, we can easily push it out to the digital realm and draw new audiences.”