New initiatives all set to boost industry

MSA president Chanchal Chakrabarty (pic) speaking to StarBiz said it is playing an active part in industry initiatives by partnering with authorities and other associations.

PETALING JAYA: The marketing communications industry is set to thrive with various initiatives being undertaken to spur its growth.

Media Specialists Association (MSA) is collaborating at several fronts in a bid to put the industry on a higher level.

MSA president Chanchal Chakrabarty (pic) speaking to StarBiz said it is playing an active part in industry initiatives by partnering with authorities and other associations.

For example, he said in the area of single currency for video measurement, MSA as a key stakeholder and user, is working closely with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) (pic below) and other stakeholders to take it to fruition.

“Once completed, Malaysia would be one of the first in the region to have a cross-platform video measurement.

“We are also looking to have common out-of-home (OOH) measurement currency for the market.

“Digital out-of-home advertising (DOOH) though is on a rapid growth trajectory but it also doesn’t have a robust measurement.

“There are few players with certain claimed measures so MSA is leading the initiative in partnership with the Outdoor Advertising Association of Malaysia (OAAM) as well as the Malaysian Advertisers Association (MAA) to get a common OOH measurement currency for the market, ” he said.

Chanchal, who is also the CEO of GroupM Malaysia, said as MSA is part of the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia (CMCF) council, it is also involved in the finalisation of the new content code development.

Furthermore, MSA as part of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) council is also working towards protecting consumer rights by driving a consumer awareness campaign towards truthful and honest advertising and hence ensuring messaging standards improve.

Broadly speaking, the MSA’s main role is to further the interests of the marketing communications industry and more specifically the media agencies in Malaysia.

It has been the representative body of all member media agencies of the country since the last 17 years. MSA is the apex body made up of representation from both local and global, small, medium and large media agencies in the country.

As for media agencies, he said the association has undertaken multiple initiatives. Some of them include pushing for various certification opportunities in partnership with the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents (4As) and other partners for upskilling and developing the talent pool.

Chanchal added there is a sub-committee formed within MSA which is working on developing pitch guidelines for all member agencies.

“The team is also gathering learnings from other markets where such guidelines are already in existence, ” he said.

While digital spends have been growing year-on-year making it now the largest share of the pie, but unfortunately he said there was no digital advertising spends reporting available that covered all platforms.

He said MSA has now developed with the contribution of its members, the digital spends tracking for the market at category-platform level.

The data has been backdated to 2017 so it provides a robust perspective on the growth trajectory of each digital platform over the past four years, he said.

Chanchal said MSA has also taken the lead in hiring reputed tax consultants and working closely with them to resolve issues impacting the industry due to tax regime changes.

As for the outlook of the media agencies, he said the industry has direct correlation to the economic growth and consumer spending.

So as the economy is getting back on the recovery path with the MCO getting relaxed and consumer sentiments and spending on an upswing, he said the industry is experiencing good recovery.

Besides business growth, he said the best sign of recovery is how the hiring of people is coming back.

“Some media agency networks had to unfortunately lay off people in 2020 due to the effects of the pandemic on business. They have now all started hiring back.

“At GroupM, we didn’t have any layoffs in 2020 but we are expanding our teams with expansion of business, hence adding many new people, ” Chanchal said.

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