PETALING JAYA: Learning from the past lockdowns, the local media and communications industry is unfazed by the current one as it looks to explore ways to raise the bar in the industry amid challenges.
Media Specialists Association (MSA) president, who is also GroupM Malaysia’s CEO Chanchal Chakrabarty(pic) said many have adapted to the new norms and found innovative ways to thrive the latest lockdown, adding that it’s just another bump in the road for most.
“Call me an optimist, the current lockdown could not be worse than movement control order (MCO) 1.0.
“Everyone was taken by surprise during MCO1.0 and it took a while to understand the situation, recalibrate the technology needs and adjust to the new ways of working, doing business as well as the new way of living.
“However, with the experience of 2020 behind, all industries including ours have evolved themselves to this new norm and are finding newer ways to reduce the impact.
“Crisis brings with it opportunities and our industry is also creating them to survive and thrive in these uncertain times.
“One such pertinent example would be leveraging e-commerce which has provided a lifeline to many sectors, from large marketers to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
“And hence also to the media communication industry it has become a critical platform to communicate and convert, ” he told StarBiz.Since the lockdown was first announced some 15 months ago, Chanchal added that the power of human endurance has taught new ways of how to sustain the industry during lockdowns.
So. while the growth definitely gets impacted but since almost all sectors have learnt new ways of sustaining, MSA expects media communication activities to continue, not full throttle but more than enough for the industry to ride the current lockdown.
In raising the level of the industry, he said MSA is working closely with tax consultants in appealing to the government to resolve some unwieldy tax problems faced by the industry.
The association is also doing its part by motivating the industry’s talents through MSA awards which recognises the great work done in the face of such adverse unprecedented situations as well as the rising stars of the industry.“But needless to say, the government has a critical role to play in providing both monetary and regulatory assistance to minimise the impact on the media communication industry.
“Almost all members of this industry can be considered small and medium sized, hence monetary stimulus injection and tax reliefs by the government to support is equally essential for this sector as it is for the rest of the SME sectors.
“Some of the hardest hit sectors in the media communication industry like out-of-home (OOH), events and production, to name a few, and media communications agencies which get a direct impact when these sectors get affected, can surely do with some stimulus injection and tax reliefs from the government, ” he pointed out.
Chanchal said among the challenges facing the industry amid the current lockdown is the increasingly visible work from home fatigue for many.
Humans are social beings so they thrive in physical interactions, even at work place, he said, adding that these 15 months of virtual interactions have impacted that and also eroded the cultural assimilation within the organisations.
“For many sectors and especially so for the creatively driven media and communication industries, face-to-face collaborations, brainstorms, workshops on the growth of the industry are much better to trigger a lot more ideas and innovations.
“And while many online platforms to facilitate these have come up, it still only partly mitigates the barriers and so the full potential of physical collaborations could not be realised, ” he noted.
To spur the growth of the industry, MSA, among others, is playing an active part in industry initiatives by partnering with authorities and other associations.
For example, in the area of single currency for video measurement, the association as a key stakeholder and user, is working closely with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) 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.
MSA is also looking to have common out-of-home measurement currency for the market.