Ever wondered how much the govt is paying for all those YouTube and Facebook ads you see? Our man in blue, NCMP Dennis Tan Lip Fong 陈立峰 asked the Minister in Parliament and managed to extract some info, though not all:
Last week in Parliament – 11 July 2016 – Government Expenditure on Advertisements and Sponsored Posts on Online Media Platforms
Last week, I asked the Minister for Communications and Information (MCI): (a) for each year from 2011 to 2015, how much has the Government spent on advertisements and sponsored posts on online media platforms including but not limited to Facebook, YouTube and Google; and (b) what is the breakdown of this spending by each Ministry.
Assoc Prof Dr Yaacob Ibrahim replied in writing that “the Government does not keep track of the total amount ministries spend on online advertisements. However, MCI itself spent approximately $4.3 million last year (or 0.5% of our operating budget) on digital advertisements to support a wide range of major policies and initiatives such as the Pioneer Generation Package, SkillsFuture, Marriage and Parenthood and Integration issues. This was spread out across multiple online media platforms, including YouTube, Facebook and Google.”
I find it quite hard to believe that the government does not keep track of the total amount all ministries have spent on online advertisements each year. Surely such figures can be obtained if it wishes to. Nevertheless the amount disclosed for MCI alone gives us a little idea of the bigger picture of the government’s likely spending on publicity for its policies.