Singapore may have gained over $700m in exposure as host of Trump-Kim summit: Analyst Meltwater

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN) - While pundits debate whether the meeting was a success, Singapore itself may have gained more than $700 million in exposure by hosting the historic Trump-Kim summit, according to a media intelligence analyst.

It estimates the Republic reaped a 38-fold return, thanks to tourism, retail and media exposure.

Singapore spent about $20 million in total, of which half went to security costs. It is understood that less than $5 million went to media costs, including the international media centre, for some 2,500 journalists. The Government did not elaborate on other expenses.

But North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's tour of the Marina Bay area made the front pages of many newspapers, and the Singapore skyline appeared on many news bulletins, including that of late-night talkshow host Trevor Noah.

Media intelligence firm Meltwater estimates that the advertising value, based on global online media mentions over the three days the leaders were here, added up to $270 million. But take into consideration the buzz generated since last month, and advertising value balloons to about $767 million, it said.

The number would likely have been higher if the expected value of print, broadcast or social media mentions was also tracked.

While different firms use different formulas to calculate the estimated media value, Meltwater said it arrived at its estimates by multiplying the number of people it reached by 0.025, which is the probability that someone will read an article, and then by 37 cents, which is the industry formula for the monetary value of someone reading an article.
The hotels, in particular, gained the most from the attention. About half of online articles, or over 20,000, mentioned the Capella, where the one-day summit between United States President Donald Trump and Mr Kim was held. The hotels where Mr Trump and Mr Kim stayed in - Shangri-La and The St Regis, respectively - had a mention in a fifth of the articles each.

Media monitoring firm Isentia said it was also meaningful to analyse the sentiments of such coverage, estimating that 69 per cent of the buzz generated by the summit was positive, compared with 24 per cent which was neutral and 7 per cent that was negative.

Besides the media exposure, Singapore can expect at least $7.2 million from the three days based on tourism receipts, said Ngee Ann Polytechnic senior lecturer Michael Chiam. He arrived at this figure from the roughly 4,000 journalists and security personnel spending an average of $600 a day, including their accommodation, which would have formed the bulk of the costs.

However, this short-term gain might be counterbalanced by visitors who stayed away because of the summit, said Singapore Polytechnic retail and marketing lecturer Lucas Tok.

In fact, increased security measures on Sentosa and in Orchard may have deterred some shoppers, local and tourist, he said.

However, all analysts pointed towards benefits that would be reaped further down the road.

"Where is Singapore?" became one of the most-asked questions on Google and indicated an increased awareness of the country, they said.

Mr Tok said: "Usually, after a place has received some traction, visitor numbers tend to go up in the next few months."

Mr Nicholas Fang, director of security and global affairs at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said the summit boosted Singapore's branding in a global competitive environment.

"The fact that a small country like Singapore could be the focal point of global attention for so many days will do no harm to the Singapore brand, and there will be flow-down benefits to Singapore companies and individuals on the international stage," he said.

Additional reporting by Seow Bei Yi

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