Film advertising ecosystem heading to a slow death?

Khoo: With the absence of collaboration between the relevant industry stakeholders, the growth of the industry is not sustainable.

THE future of the aired commercial industry in the country is at stake. With no proper ecosystem to boost and regulate the film advertising industry there is danger that it could lead to its demise and affect the livelihood of the people in the industry.

There are several fronts pointing to the crumbling of the ecosystem. Lack of cooperation between the relevant stakeholders in the film advertising fraternity and the absence of a production contract are the main factors affecting the film advertising ecosystem.

Several production houses, requesting anonymity, say there is a need to urgently address the two issues urgently for there to be a proper ecosystem that will spearhead the industry to greater heights.

Malaysian Association of Advertising Filmmakers (PPFIM) president Khoo Kay Lye, when contacted by StarBizWeek, admits that there is a weakness in the ecosystem. “There is no collaboration and cooperation between the relevant stakeholders like multimedia universities offering courses in film-making and commercials with National Film Development Corp Malaysia (Finas) and PPFIM. With the absence of collaboration between the relevant industry stakeholders, the growth of the industry is not sustainable and will lead to its slow death.

“To take a harsher view, what is the use of higher learning institutions offering advertising and film related courses if there is no collaboration to have a strong ecosystem in the industry?

“Students pursuing such courses should ask themselves whether they should enrol for the tertiary programme if eventually it will affect their livelihood once they begin their career. This is because the industry currently is not properly regulated in the absence of a production contract, hence leading to rampant price undercutting,” he says.

For example, he says a student with a digital camera can produce a commercial for a few hundred ringgit, adding that this is a bad precedent as it will undercut those professional production houses charging higher fees, leading to price undercutting in the market.

Charging a lower fee will set a wrong benchmark in the industry. The students charging a lower fee will eventually suffer when they start working as it will not justify their expenses going forward.

Khoo hopes the relevant stakeholders will realise this predicament and start working together to have a concrete film advertising ecosystem that will ensure better regulation and professionalism.

PPFIM has written a letter to the Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo urging him to look into the need for production contracts in the industry.

The reason for the state of the industry is the mockery made to the requirement of the Made in Malaysia (MiM) certificate which has resulted in the absence of production contracts,” he says.

Now with the privilege, ie MiM not in practice, any production houses can air their commercials without being members of PPFIM.

In 2015, PPFIM and Finas made it mandatory for advertising film production companies to become members of the association in order to apply for the MiM certificate – a requirement before a commercial can be aired in the country.

Upon being granted this privilege, PPFIM implemented a production agreement which was supported by the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents (4As).

This ensured that all parties knew their responsibilities in the production of commercials and areas such as payments and proper working hours.

Finas abruptly decided to withdraw this privilege last September without giving any clear reasons.

This is a major blow to the advertising industry. Finas could not be reached for comments.

Khoo says if production houses were to register with PPFIM, there will be professionalism and proper industry etiquette which will ensure a sustainable future for the industry and the entire entertainment industry.

During the 80s, the industry boasted of 100 advertising film companies with an annual turnover of about RM300mil compared with about RM30mil currently. — By DALJIT DHESI

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