THE Media Specialists Association (MSA) will soon launch the country's first award show that honours media planning excellence.
President Margaret Lim said the Malaysian Media Awards was tentatively scheduled for June and the call for entries would be made this month.
We expect to announce the details next week, she told StarBiz on the sidelines at the Malaysian Media Congress in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.
Non-MSA members are eligible to enter the association's competition, unlike other ad industry award shows such as the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents' (4As) Kancil Awards.
Lim said that while creative work could be physically seen, a lot of the media specialists' work dealt with strategy the thinking behind the campaigns. So we must have a format that enables us to judge based on the criteria that we have set up, she added.
She said the MSA had developed a format that was relevant to the Malaysian market and was actionable.
Another programme being planned by the one-year-old MSA is a media training boot camp for media planners, advertisers and media owners. Lim said details were being worked out.
On the progress of the Joint Industry Committee for Print Audience Research (JICPAR), Lim said the committee, which she chairs, was currently reviewing the current newspaper readership measurement system and had started talking with Nielsen Media Research, the incumbent supplier of such data to the industry.
MSA was instrumental in getting the major newspaper publishers together to form JICPAR which, she said, would play an active role in ensuring credible and acceptable readership data. Though covering a different medium, JICPAR's function is similar to the Joint Industry Committee for Television Audience Research (JICTAR) spearheaded by the 4As.
JICTAR, a company owned by all the local private TV stations, has yet to award a TV ratings measurement contract after two years of discussions, but Lim expected JICPAR to move faster as there were less obstacles such as funding, and the newspaper publishers were anxious to see results. In fact, she said that she hoped to receive industry-accepted newspaper readership data by as early as next January, either through modifications to Nielsen's existing research system or the appointment of another data supplier.
So far, JICPAR had not approached any other market research house, she said. Addressing the congress earlier, Lim said the way companies connected with their consumers would keep evolving towards the greater use of the digital and interactive platform.
Currently, digital communications account for only a small share of advertising spending. I foresee it will eventually take the lion's share of our focus and budgets, she said.
Grey Direct InterActive Sdn Bhd regional director (Malaysia and Singapore) Rod Strother, another speaker at the congress, expressed concern about the effects of the recent rise in postal rates on the direct marketing industry, which he felt this would reduce the amount of direct mailing activities in the country.
The Direct Marketing Association of Malaysia really needs to lobby Pos Malaysia to change that, he said, noting that Malaysia was doing the opposite of the US, which had cut postal rates to encourage direct mailings.