Business sense and multi-platform delivery essential for success in content creation industry


While developing quality content is undoubtedly a priority for those working in the creative multimedia industry, the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) wants local companies to realise that it’s equally important to pay attention to the business aspect of things such as licensing and merchandising as well. 

“We have spent the last 10 years encouraging local players to create their own assets. Licensing and merchandising is about exploiting those assets to the next level,” explains Kamil Othman, vicepresident of the creative multimedia division at MDeC. “This will provide us with some new key revenue streams and facilitate greater job creation for future years.” 

In the past, MDeC had placed more emphasis on looking into the production aspects of content creation when it issued grants to Malaysian content creators.

“We are now shifting our focus to look more closely at the pre-production and developmental stages,” says Datuk Badlisham Ghazali, chief executive officer at MDeC. 

According to the MSC Malaysia Creative Industry Baseline Study, the creative multimedia industry in Malaysia is currently worth RM16bil and contributes 1.6% to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). This figure takes into account content creation in areas like advertising, TV and film productions, animation, game development, music, interactive software and other new media segments. 

The industry was responsible for the creation of 1,887 jobs in 2012. In 2013, MDeC recorded the presence of 309 MSC status companies within the industry. 

Around RM6.99bil revenue was generated, which was an increase of 35% when compared to 2011. Meanwhile, new investments that have ploughed into the industry amounted to RM0.3bil in 2012, a growth of 32% from 2011 figures. 

Going for growth

“We intend to breach the RM7bil mark this year,” says Badlisham. 

He says that revenue growth in the creative content industry can also be measured through the value of Malaysian content that has been exported overseas. 

“Revenue through the export of Malaysian content was worth RM400mil last year. This year our target is to increase that to RM450mil.” 

He adds that one of the ways to stimulate more growth within the industry is through encouraging local players to utilise a wider range of platforms when delivering their content. 

“This is the year of convergence for us. We want to raise the awareness amongst multimedia companies about the possibilities (available to them) so they can realise the full value of their intellectual property,” Badlisham says. 

Kamil adds, “MDeC views content within an converging environment, so we can’t just see things based on their final medium.” 

Badlisham also points out that having a good story to tell is not enough. He says that content creators need to understand the needs of their target audience and should work towards ensuring the commercial success of their projects. 

“Moving forward, these softer skills will certainly help in making our local companies more competitive,” he says. “If they don’t learn how to use what they have to seize more opportunities, it would be a waste.”

In terms of job opportunities, Badlisham says MDeC is aiming to grow the numbers by as much as 50% this year. It also seeks to encourage a greater inflow of foreign talent into the industry. 

According to him, most companies within the industry depend on around 8% to 12% of foreign labour.

“We encourage the infusion of foreign talents into the creative multimedia, shared services or information technology industries. This is important,” Badlisham says. “We also help facilitate companies who want to bring in these foreign talents into their production projects, be it on short or long term assignments.” 

He believes that it will be easier to attract such talent now since the quality of Malaysian production have improved vastly over recent years. 

“We get many people asking us about the productions that we are doing with (Malaysian) companies. We view this as a sign of recognition.” 

However, Badlisham says that currently employment figures reported for the industry are being understated. 

“This industry is full of freelancers, but we can only capture the movements of full time employees within these companies,” he explains. 

Cultivating creativity

Among the ongoing efforts being carried out by MDeC to promote the growth of the creative content industry is the annual Kre8tif! Conference which serves as a platform to gather top creative minds from around the globe to share their experiences, insights and knowledge in the field of creative multimedia and digital animation. 

The event recently took place on March 15 to 16 at the Damansara Performing Arts Centre and recorded an attendance of 300 people. Besides Malaysia, five other countries were represented at the conference: Australia, the United States, Japan, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. 

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