Glimmer of hope for aired commercial segment

All smiles: (From left) Lee, Faridah, Khoo and Joe reacting positively to the reintroduction of the production contract.

PETALING JAYA: There is a glimmer of hope in the aired commercial segment and those involved in the business are awaiting for more positive news.

For a start, the production agreement, which had earlier been withdrawn, has been re-implemented.

The agreement would come into force by Oct 1.

At the same time, the application for the Made in Malaysia (MIM) certificate needed as a requirement before a commercial can be aired in the country has been revived and industry stakeholders viewed this as a shot in the arm for the advertising industry.

The news was recently revealed by the National Film Development Corp (Finas) chief executive officer Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri. Also present at the event were, among others, the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents (4As) president Andrew Lee, advertising veteran Datuk Faridah Merican, the Malaysian Association of Advertising Filmmakers (PPFIM) president

Khoo Kay Lye, Finas adviser Haris Sulong and artistic director Joe Hasham.

To recap, in 2015, PPFIM in collaboration with 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.

In September 2017, Finas withdrew this privilege, which was seen as a major blow to the industry.

Despite a slight setback, PPFIM’s Khoo told StarBiz that he was happy with the developments initiated by Finas and the relevant stakeholders. He was confident that things would get better for the aired commercial segment moving forward.

Khoo added that with the reintroduction of the production agreement and the requirement for a MIM certificate, it would provide for a sustainable ecosystem which would take the aired commercial and ad industry to a higher level.

“In order for the ad industry to grow and progress, it is important that a proper ecosystem be put in place to boost and regulate the industry. This is to ensure smooth operations and the continued relevance of all parties involved.

“The MIM certificate and the re-implementation of the production agreement will help to stabilise the industry.

“If the production houses are able to thrive locally rather than seek their fortunes in neighbouring countries, this will lead to higher demand for skilled labour in the country as well as maintaining a high level of professionalism standards within the ad film industry in Malaysia, ” Khoo noted.

Commenting on the production contract, 4As agreed that it is important to reinstate the contract to safeguard the profession of the crews.

It said such a contract would minimise disparity issues since the contract would guarantee the interest of the crews and the ad agencies.

Khoo also highlighted other issues affecting the aired commercial space.

“Another big hurdle impacting the advertising film business is the influx of graduates in advertising and film production disciplines offering much lower prices for aired commercials.

“This practice should be strictly regulated as it has worsened price undercutting in the industry.

“Charging a lower fee will set a wrong benchmark. Graduates charging a lower fee would eventually suffer when they started working as it would not justify their expenses, going forward, ” he stressed.

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