Digital Media in Malaysia
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Digital media in Malaysia has been playing an increasingly important role and the power of the Internet has immense potential to reach out to anyone in the world that has online access. This is estimated to be about 15% of the world’s population, equating to about 950 million people.  In order to succeed in Malaysia, it is necessary to tap on this growing industry since digital media in Malaysia is poised for explosive growth and it has begin to gain prominence as a digital media hub within Asia. Before diving blindly into digital media, it is necessary for any business to grasp a complete understanding of this industry.
This wiki provides essential insights and all you need to know about digital media in Malaysia. First, it provides an introduction to Malaysia’s digital media landscape with crucial fundamental information such as the demographics, users behavior and recent trends. The information will then be analyzed to offer interesting insights to digital media in Malaysia. Finally, recommendations will be presented together with case studies on how businesses succeeded or failed to effectively utilize digital media in Malaysia. Future trends will also be presented to help businesses and consumers make prudent decisions on how they want to leverage digital media in Malaysia. Visit the Digital Asia in Malaysia’s Storify page for a short and sweet read on digital media in Malaysia!
- 1 About Malaysia
- 2 Recent Developments
- 3 Digital Literacy
- 4 Digital Media Platforms in Malaysia
- 5 Traditional Media Platforms
- 6 Impacts of Digital Media in Malaysia
- 7 Controversies
- 8 Recommendations
- 9 Hear From the Experts
- 10 Case Studies
- 11 References
A British Colony in the late 18th and 19th centuries, prior to occupation by the Japanese during World War II, Malaysia became an independent nation in 1957. Today the country, which espouses nine states on the peninsula and an additional two on the island of Borneo, is one of the largest countries in South East Asia with 328,657 square kilometers in its territorial boundaries.
Malaysia's population, as of March 2012, has been estimated at 28.73 million , and has been steadily increasing at a rate of approximately 1.7% since 2003. Within this population there are four major distinct ethinic groups; Malays which account for 50.4% and Chinese which forms 23.7% of the population are the two predominant ethnic entities followed by Indigenous, Indians, and Others (mostly from the west) at 11%, 7.1% and 7.8% respectively.
Bahasa Malaysia is the official state language. However, the presence of English, Mandarin and its derivative dialects, Indian languages as well as indigenous dialects (mostly spoken in Borneo - comprising states Sabah and Sarawak) in Malaysian society is also prevalent.
For a more detailed information on Malaysia, visit Malaysia on Wikipedia.
Malaysia Social Media Week (MSMW) 2012 is an inaugural event supported by Malaysia’s Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture, with the objective to engage people with ideas through communication platforms. One of the essential topics that MSMW would be looking at is the emerging trends in social and mobile media, and these would be delivered through interactive conferences and videos will be streamed online. Some of the audiences that MSMW target are C-level executives, journalists, bloggers, marketing managers, social media strategists, students and etc. The platform thus enables and connects like-minded people into the community, where sharing ideas are made possible.
Malaysia, with a population of 28.73 million in 2012, had 17,723,000 Internet users, with 61.7% Internet penetration, according to Internet World Stats. When the Internet was first introduced to Malaysia in 1995, only about one in a thousand Malaysians had Internet access. The number of the Internet subscribers in Malaysia is expected to rise as it moves further towards advanced information, communications and multimedia services . Malaysian netizens spend an average of 19.8 hours per week  using the internet.
The majority of the Internet users are between the ages of 15-24 (38%), followed by those aged 25-34 (26%), 35-44 (23%), 45-54 (9%), and 55+ (5%). 45.8 percent of which are male compared to 54.2 percent of female users in 2011 .
TMnet, a subsidiary of Telekom Malaysia is Malaysia's largest internet service provider. While there are currently more than 10 internet service providers in Malaysia, Telekom Malaysia owns a virtual monopoly of the broadband market due to their ownership of the nation's last mile connections.
This table shows Malaysia’s rankings and results in the ICT Development Index 2011.
|Index||Rank 2010||Index 2010||Rank 2008||Index 2008|
|ICT Development Index||58||4.45||57||3.96|
|ICT Access Subindex||65||4.70||63||4.19|
|ICT Use Index||50||3.15||47||2.42|
|ICT Skills Sub-index||92||6.57||90||6.58|
Malaysia embraced mobile cellular services in the mid 1980s. Its popularity grew to the point that the number of mobile cellular subscribers eventually surpassed that of fixed line subscribers in 2000. The fixed-mobile subscription disparity advances even today. However, mobile penetration rates are levelling off, and operators are shifting focus and approach from customer acquisition to customer retention, as well as to ramping up revenues per subscriber by driving up data usage.
Currently, there are more than 30 million mobile phone subscribers in Malaysia, with a penetration rate of 80.8 per 100 inhabitants.  The mobile penetration rate is now at 107% and is expected to rise to 123.2% by 2013. The proportion of 3G subscribers in the Malaysian mobile market stands at 12.4% and is expected to increase to 27% by 2014 . This market is one which digital media can potentially have the greatest impact upon due to ease of access and convenience.
In terms of mobile advertising, revenues are expected to reach RM175.5 million by 2012. In 2009, it was found that the Malaysian internet users generated on an average of 322 mobile page views per use in 2009, a 280.7% increase on 2008 .
Interestingly, mobile phones are allowing Malaysians to "save face", with 48% of respondents to a survey saying they preferred using their phones when they had to communicate negative messages. Furthermore, Malaysians sent each other a total of 6.37 billion SMS messages in 2009 - and 9.54 million MMS messages. 
There has been a rise in the use of social media both by customers and businesses. In Malaysia, social networking accounts for one third of all time spent online where 78% of Malaysian Internet users spend their time on Facebook and 51% on Youtube.
In comparison, the total minutes spent on web-based email on the other hand has seen a decrease in recent years. This has been attributed to the increasing number of young users that is driving email visitation down. Web-based email has been replaced by communicating via wall posts, messages, tweets etc.  This could also be due to the increase in mobile email users.
Digital Media Platforms in Malaysia
The way media is consumed has changed dramatically around the world, and it is no exception in Malaysia. The younger generation is shifting away from traditional media to the new media, especially blogs. Between 13th-17th February 2012, Malaysia held the "Malaysia Social Media Week 2012" which highlights the growing prominence of social media in the country. Part of this event included the "Bloggers and Social Media Awards 2012", held on 16th March 2012, to reward bloggers in various categories for their work. Some of the winning blogs include:
|1||http://paultan.org/||Best Auto Blog|
|2||http://www.shahabudeenjalil.com/||Best Business Blog|
|3||http://www.ohbulan.com/||Best Entertainment Blog|
|4||http://www.iluvislam.com/||Best Educational Blog|
|4||http://all-aboutiphone.blogspot.com/||Best Gadgets Blog|
|4||http://founder.limkokwing.net/blog/||Best Innovative Blog|
|4||http://chedet.cc/blog/||Best Political Blog|
|5||http://www.eqbalzack.com/||Best Lifestyle Blog|
|6||http://denaihati.com/||Best of The Best Blog|
|6||http://www.placesandfoods.com/||Best Travel Blog|
|7||http://ariffshah.com/||Upcoming Blogger of The Year|
For a full list of the award winning blogs, go to the award winners page.
It appears that Malaysians have an appetite for political, entertainment and technology blogs in general. While entertainment and technological blogs are enjoying exponential growth in number of hits, political blogs, however, have come under the close scrutiny of the government for posting negative remarks about its policies and publicizing scandals involving its officials.
According to research from blog 24/7 Wall Street Malaysia is amongst the Top Markets by Twitter Penetration with a 10.8% reach in 2011.
Malaysia Within Asia
In April 2010, a study by Sysomos found that Malaysia has the 6th greatest number of Twitter users in Asia, ranked above even South Korea, the country with the highest broadband penetration rate in the world according to Physorg.
Even political luminaries such as Lim Kit Siang, Khairy Jamaluddin, Jeff Ooi, Tony Pua and even the Prime Minister, Najib Razak reach out their supporters though the use of Twitter.
Social Networking Sites
In Malaysia’s social scene Facebook, followed by Twitter, ranks as the top social networking sites. While the number of visitors of friendster.com has gradually declined Facebook is experiencing a massive rise in number of visitors and overtook Friendster in June 2009. In fact, ComScore places Malaysia in the top 10 markets for Facebook by percentage reach of visitors, with 88.2%. Facebook is expected to rise futher in the future.
Media Trend of Social Network Sites in Malaysia 
Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) / Forums
Next to MSN, Yahoo, GTalk, and AIM the two main instant messengers used in Malaysia are iTalk Buddy and Friendplay IM.
iTalk Buddy enables people to stay connected with friends abroad by means of free internet calls. Moreover, users can send e-mails and check their friends' Facebook and Twitter updates.
Friendplay IM provides free talk, live chat and interactions over internet data plan or Wifi. Friendplay IM also supports MSN, Yahoo Messenger, Gtalk and AIM. Consumers can go connect to all friends all over the world using Friendplay.
According to Yahoo!-Synovate Net Index 2010, it was found that YouTube still remains as the top video sharing website in Malaysia of 83%, followed by Facebook then Metacafe.
Malaysians not only enjoy watching YouTube; several videos produced by Malaysians have even gone viral over the Internet as seen on Klue.
This is amazing for a country which had a broadband penetration rate of only 10.9% a mere 5 years ago . However, while Malaysia does have the largest online video watching population in South-East Asia, Malaysians spend the least amount of time actually watching videos online in the region.
As of 2010, 59.8% of Malaysian households enjoy Internet access.
|Malaysia became the 42nd country in the world to have an official local youtube page.|
Traditional Media Platforms
1) Short Background of Traditional Media in Malaysia
The Printing Presses and Publications Act of 1984 requires all publications in Malaysia to obtain licenses that can be revoked at will by the Minister for Home Affairs. The minister's decisions are final, and there is no judicial review available. UMNO (Malaysia's ruling political party) and its allies in the ruling Barisan National coalition directly own or control all major newspapers, radio and television stations, making it difficult for alternative voices to be disseminated to the public. The government halted the production of four newspapers in 1987 as they publicised criticism of its policies. As such, the Malaysian press is extremely careful when dealing with Malaysia’s multicultural foundations. To date, there are more than 80 daily and weekly newspapers in various languages such as Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil (size of segment of each newspaper language also in this order). Though the government advocates freedom of speech and a free press, it is said to restrict the flow of information in practice. Certain issues such as citizenship for non Malays and the extraordinary position of Malays in the social order are considered sensitive and citizens must refrain from discussing these issues. The media generally practices self censorship and often provides optimistic and noncritical reports of governmental activities.
2) Newspaper Statistic
According to The Audit Bureau of Circulations Malaysia, as of the end of June 2010, the total newspaper circulation is Malaysia was around 4.5 million. Selangor state, where the capital of Kuala Lumpur is located, accounts for 40%, or 1.8 million copies. Bahasa newspapers were most purchased at close to 40%, followed by Chinese and English dailies at around 20% each.Today, traditional media in Malaysia is facing a growing threat from online news platforms. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations Malaysia, the average daily newspaper circulation in the country dipped 1 percentage point, about 50,000 copies, as compared to the previous year. The tables below reflect circulation figures for the period ending 30 June 2010.
|Sin Chew Daily||Chinese||382,578|
|New Straits Times||English||109,341|
|New Sunday Times||English||129,554|
|Metro Ahad Was||Malay||431,418|
|The Sunday Star||English||295,552|
3) Radio Statistics
Although radio has become a less prominent source of information and entertainment over the last decade, it still remains one of the more popular platforms for Malaysians. In fact, in the latest Radio Audience Measurement Malaysia study by The Nielsen Company, radio listenership remained strong in Peninsular Malaysia, with 15.5 million or nine in 10 people aged 10 years and above tuning in every week. The study also found that the average listening duration increased by 5% to 22 hours a week.
The table below list the top radio stations in Malaysia. (Source: Nielsen Radio Audience Measurement)
|Position||Station||Listeners Weekly||Share of Listenship|
|5||MY fm||2.03 Million||11.9%|
|6||Suria Fm||1.88 Million||11.0%|
|9||Klasic Nasional||1.26 Million||7.4%|
Advertising spent on radio grew 14.5% to RM 255.7 million during the period of January to August 2010. The growth in adspend was attributed to the increased spending by financial education institutions, telecommunication services and electronical firms. Advertising expenditure on radio makes up 4.6% of the total adspend, where Free-to-air television continues to register the lion's share of the market with 32.9% of the total adspend.
|Jan-Aug 2009(RM '000)||Jan-Aug 2010(RM '000)||% YOY Growth||%Share Jan-Aug '10|
|Others (Magazine, Cinema, In Store, Media, Outdoor & Internet)||253,259||292,280||15.3||5.3|
Impacts of Digital Media in Malaysia
With the burgeoning level of internet penetration in Malaysia, digital marketing is now a major consideration in the marketing efforts of many. According to Asia Digital Marketing Yearbook 2011, the number of internet users in Malaysia have reached more than 17.50 million in 2011, and that user growth rate from 2001-2009 stood at 356.8%. It is also estimated that the total number of internet users would reached 25 million and social networking penetration would hit 80% by 2015. The social networking penetration rate in Malaysia is currently at 64.6%. Nevertheless, the proportion of Malaysia's share of Internet users in Asia is at a low number of 2%. . The rapid development of the internet and digital media on the global level and in Malaysia means that digital marketing had come to the forefront as the preferred method of marketing for companies due to both high penetration rates and low costs.
In particular, the Internet users in Malaysia spent an average of 789.37 hours per month and the use of Search Engines and Directories had a wide coverage of 88.2% of Internet users. The average searches per search stood at 92.4 with Google taking 70% of total searches. Compared to other regional countries, Malaysia's appetite of search engines for news and information is at a low 1.6%, which garnered less than 50% of outreach. Instead, the appetite for video sharing is substantially high with 8.1Million viewers who view an average of 74 videos/viewer and spent an average of 7hours/viewer in 2010. YouTube also dominates the video sharing market in Malaysia at 62.6%. This is also the reason why YouTube Malaysia is recently launched in March 2012, which would flag contents and videos pertinent to Malaysia. 
According to Burson-Marsteller Asia Pacific 2011 Report , the corporate use of Social Media Channels are skewed towards social networking sites at 100% level, whereas micro-blogging and video sharing stood at 80% each. Corporate blog has a marginal low level of 20%, which is due to low traffic and engagement levels. In line with global trends, Facebook was found to be the most favoured digital media domain among marketers in Malaysia, with The Star newspaper's online portal coming in second, coming ahead of even Google. The Star Online umbrella had about 4.6 million monthly visitors as of August 2010 . Greyreview even had a list of the most interesting uses of Web 2.0 by Malaysian brands, all of which were very unique approaches at the time of enactment, and proved to be successful in getting the brands noticed 
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is not as complicated as it sounds because the fundamental objective is to achieve top internet searches for your website. The simplest way to do so would be paid advertising, such as pay per click advertising or Google Adwords, which would allow you to place an advertisement on the right hand side of search engine result pages. You benefit not only by the increased prominence of your company, but also from the ability to track the statistics of people who click on your advertisement. 
The increased awareness of search engine optimization in Malaysia is best encapsulated by the burgeoning number of companies offering such services there. A simple google search brings up several hundred companies purporting to offer such services and guaranteeing that your website will appear within the top 10, top 3, or even at the top of search engine results for certain key words.
The problem with search engine optimization is that many companies claim to be at the top of the industry and promise results, but some tips to evaluate a search engine optimization service provider include checking how long the company has been established, how many clients they have served, and the methods they use to achieve their results, among others. A more comprehensive list can be found at Malaysia SEO Company Guide.
E-commerce business is expanding rapidly in the region and this had spurred Malaysia's online spending to reach UD$29.24 billion in 2010. Online shopping, banking and travel are the biggest drivers of the e-commerce sectors, which obtain a reach to more than 70% of internet users. A total average of RM 1,909 was spent on travel in comparison to banking at RM 433.
More than 8 million Malaysians (half of our internet population) bought items online and out of this number, more than 50% of the customers tend to rely on personal recommendations when making their purchasing decisions. Other main deciding factors are search engine results (37%) and online special offers (34%). 60% of online shoppers tend to visit shopping sites that they are familiar with; hence, creating the first positive shopping experience is key to capturing loyalty and sales. A look into the specific product categories and services revealed that the top purchases were clothes (24.4%), air tickets(20.2%), holiday packages (16.5%), gifts (16.2%), books (15.7%). | 
The Government Defends Traditional Media
For some time now, the government has been waging war on a group of vocal bloggers, including well-known former journalists and the former premier's eldest daughter, Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir. The blogosphere have been a thorn in the government's side, exposing all kinds of stories, including one on the purchase of a new VIP jet and the alleged misuse of development funds for political purposes. Several ministers have given warnings to several prominent bloggers, and even went as far as to suggest that they register so that the government could keep track of them. At the same time, the Malaysian government is trying to defend the role and influence of the traditional media, by making statements that say news carried by the traditional media, such as television, still plays a crucial and interpretative role that audiences cannot do without despite the pervasiveness of the internet. It suggests through the medium of traditional media such as newspapers that the ‘Internet and new media competed for people's time and left questions and doubts in the users' minds about the content, interests and sources, and that rumors and sensationalized stories and even outright lies were being spewed out in the name of news’.
"It is the reason why the television news audience expands substantially when a truly major news story first breaks, especially among those who are interested in politics and current issues," Dr Lim said in his speech at the switch of ntv7's English news edition to the 8 pm prime-time slot. "Studies have also shown that television news still leads the Internet news in viewership by a wide margin, especially with the young adults, professionals and students as well as older people, giving television the overall edge," he claimed.
In January, 2010, the Information, Communications, and Culture Minister of Malaysia, Dr. Rais Yatim, created a stir in the digital media realm when he commented that Malaysians should avoid being immersed in social networking sites and tools such as Facebook and Twitter. He also pressed that Muslims, in particular, should avoid such platforms so as to protect traditional values and beliefs from western influences.
Malaysian Twitterers did not respond favorably to the comment and created a #yorais hashtag to attach to comments on how "backwards" and "ancient" they felt he was. This move proved to be so popular that the topic soon surged and assumed the top three trending topics on twitter at one point.
Malaysian digital media users felt that there was a discrepancy between the government's moves back in the 1990s (introducing the Multi-media Super Corridor that promised no censorship) and the minister's comments that aimed to discourage the use of internet digital media.
According to Nielsen's Malaysia Advertising Expenditure Report 2011 , the digital media component only amounted to 0.4% of the total advertising market in Malaysia. This is surprising, considering that the internet penetration rate in Malaysia was as high as 66.4% in 2010. 
An international comparison shows that Australia, with a similar penetration rate, spends 15% of its advertising expenditure online. The difference lies in the consumption pattern of Malaysian internet users. Malaysian internet users spend more time on global-based websites as opposed to domestic sites. In fact, there are only 3 local sites in the top 15 most visited websites in Malaysia. If we eliminate Google and the local bank websites, there is only a single local site left.
With the Malaysians flocking to global-based websites over Malaysian-based ones, it is of little surprise that advertisers prefer to spend their money on international websites. In comparison, advertisers in Japan and Australia have much more local choices to spend their advertising money on.
The Malaysia government recognized that in the new era of digital media, the proliferation of citizen-generated content is inevitable. As such, in view of the popularity of the digital media and the potential influence it has especially on the political landscape, the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission was entrusted with the responsibility to "grow and nurture local information resources and cultural representation that facilitates national identity and global diversity. Based on the powers provided for in the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission Act (1998), the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission is the regulator for the converging communications and multimedia industry and the Communications and Multimedia Act (1998). Malaysia was one of the pioneers amongst Asian countries in its legislative efforts to protect consumers using e-commerce. Cyber laws that were enacted include the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, the Digital Signature Act 1997, the Computer Crimes Act 1997, and the Copyright Amendment Act 1997. Most recently, the Malaysian government allocated RM 12.9 billion for it in the Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006-2010). 
In August 2009, the Malaysian government revealed a plan to start filtering pornographic content in Malaysia. This is despite Malaysia's earlier commitment outlined in the Bill of Guarantees under the national ICT intiative MSC Malaysia to not censor the internet.While the ban will focus on pornographic content, many fear that the filter may lead to a more stringent policy such as that of China. However, due to much outcry from the public and experts (who deemed it to be a potential failure), the plan did not materialise in the end.
However, in August 2010, The Malaysian Insider reported that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had commissioned KPMG to carry out the “Study on Positive and Safe Use of the Internet” to evaluate the "implementation of Internet Filter at Internet Gateway level", which renewed fresh criticisms from the public. 
Attempts to regulate the blogosphere
In 2006, realizing the influence and the size of the audience certain bloggers command, the government requested that bloggers using locally hosted websites register with the authorities. This was done in hope that the Government will be able to better regulate and prevent the spread of information that is in opposition to itself on the Internet. Unfortunately, it was met by a furious back lash from the cyberspace. Nonetheless, the existence of free blog-hosting services like Blogspot.com and Wordpress.com make it hard to enforce this policy.
Aware of the censure heaped on him on the Internet after Deputy Minister for Energy, Water and Communications Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor made the announcement in the parliament, he replied "I only said 'maybe' we would do it (registration). I never said the word 'censor', "We just want to know the number of bloggers, how many are active, how often they update their websites, and what kind of info is posted. It has nothing to do with censoring."
Top 5 Strategies for Individuals
|Top 5 Strategies for Individuals|| 1) Build an interactive page.
One way to get repeat visitors to your page, be it for youtube, your blog, or your website is to have a page that engages people. Having a comments section or even a forum feature for web sites creates a community of sorts, or at the minimum gives the viewer a platform to have their voices heard.
2) Have a search function.
Often, pages with too much content are difficult to navigate due to either poor organization, or the sheer volume of information available on the page. A search function will be a welcome tool to viewers looking for something specific without the patience to scroll through page after page of results which are at best tenuously related to what they are seeking.
3) Highlight related results.
Visitors who have found a particular portion of your content interesting would probably be attracted to related content. Highlighting any such content that exists on your page would not only be much appreciated, it could also mean viewers spend more time on your portal going through content they would not otherwise have noticed.
4) Highlight key posts and categories in your portal.
Significant portions of traffic to most internet portals do not enter these portals with a clear objective. Having striking lists, or at the minimum easily noticeable menus where you highlight key areas, categories or pages in your portal which either focus on the objectives of your site, or which list the pages that have proven to be popular could be a useful technique to increase viewership. An extension of this could be to have compilation pages which list, for instance the top 20 results on your portal which viewers might like to view. This could serve as a tool to introduce new visitors to your page to different aspects of your portal they might otherwise not have encountered.
5) Use excerpts or summarized lists.
If your portal is content heavy and the posts can be rather long, often you might end up with a front page that features only one or two articles/results. A simple solution to this would be to post excerpts on the front page instead, for instance if the content is word based, a short blurb or summary with a catchy headline. This would be easier for the viewer to digest as opposed to a large chunk of text, and would also mean more results can be displayed on the front page, meaning potentially, the interest of a much greater number of viewers would be engaged.
Top 5 Strategies for Corporations
|Top 5 Strategies for Corporations||
1.Recognize that digital media is not only for the young
Social networks are no longer only utilized by the younger crowd. Today, the role of social networking sites has developed beyond just a tool for socializing. Sites like Twitter and Facebook have evolved to be utilized by users as means to retrieve information about a product or service. A study conducted by Datamonitor reveals that 41% of global online users rely on a variety of online tools to make financial decisions. 
2.Know your customers
Before jumping onto the bandwagon of digital media, it is imperative that the banks perform an in-depth analysis of their customers and their online behaviors. Do your customers retrieve information from forums or networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter? Or do they connect on Linkedin instead? These are questions which an organization should know before developing their strategy. Use websites like Google analytics, Compete.com, Omniture etc to gather information regarding your customers.
3.Develop a cohesive digital media strategy
Winning the digital media battle requires a cohesive strategy. Companies without a strategy will soon be underwhelmed by the lack of results.
4.Engage to develop relationships
The Web 2.0 era saw a fundamental shift of power from organizations to consumers. Consumers today do not just want to be part of a brand but rather, they would like to play a role in shaping the brand. As such, it is critical that brands engaged their customers instead.
5.Be prepared for the unexpected
The online world offers a host of opportunities for companies to develop their brands. However, companies must know that in a world of user-generated content, relationships can sour overnight. Companies must have a comprehensive plan to resolve any unexpected negative publicity and attempt to resolve them quickly.
Top 5 Up & Coming Digital Media Tools in Malaysia
Hear From the Experts
| Digital Media in Malaysia Interview - David Wang
David Wang is an online marketing evangelist on The Buzzmedia blog. He covers topics which includes inbound marketing, digital media and email marketing.
1. Tell us more about yourself
My name is David Wang, and I’m an entrepreneur running a small marketing consulting business called Buzzmedia Online Marketing. I’m also a co-founder at Level5 Creative Sdn Bhd, a boutique creative agency. In 2011, I’m trying to move my business model to an online business, where I make the majority of my income online through the internet.
2. A study done by CommunicateAsia reveals that digital media is being use more for leisure than for professional reasons. Do you agree? In your opinion, how is digital media being utilize by Malaysians?
I think CommunicateAsia’s findings may be true or false depending on the demographic. For younger digital media users, for example college students, digital media will definitely be used more for leisure than professional reasons. I think this is also true for adults who are employed with full time jobs. However small businesses and entrepreneurs are making full use of digital media professionally. Marketing and promotions for Buzzmedia and Level5 is done almost exclusively through digital media and word of mouth.
3. What do you think are the key digital media trends in Malaysia for 2011? In 2011 I think we will see location based services like Foursquare and Facebook Places become increasingly popular. In Malaysia and Singapore we are already seeing innovation in this area with services like Wootfood and HungryGoWhere. We will also see advertisers increase momentum and spending in digital media. For consumers this might mean that we see a lot of noise, clutter or even spam as big brands try their hand at digital media marketing. Finally I think we will begin to see some interesting Augmented Reality services. This will build on the fast-growing location information available, and high powered mobile devices like the iPad.
4. How different is the blogosphere in Malaysia as compared to the other countries?
The blogosphere in Malaysia is interesting when compared to western markets. In the western markets advertisers tend to spend money on independent media publishers like Techcrunch or Mashable. However in Malaysia the popular blogs among advertisers are lifestyle blogs of individual bloggers like Kenny Sia (kennysia.com).
a) Which Malaysian traditional media do you frequently read and why?
I consume very little traditional media. The most is TV because it’s easy to just have it playing the background. That being said, the channels I usually watch are international channels like Star World, AXN, etc. The most common local media I consume is news. I prefer the English language dailies and will read them online instead of buying the newspaper.
b) Which Malaysian websites and blogs do you frequently visit and why?
Not many actually, reason provided above News websites – thestar.com.my, sun2surf.com, malaysiakini.com Friends and local bloggers – nikicheong.com, liewcf.com I spend most of my time on Twitter and Facebook. I use it not only for leisure but also business.
c) Which do you find to be more trustworthy and credible, the traditional media in (a) or the online content in (b)? Online media is more credible. Many Malaysians are aware of the unfortunate fact that the traditional media is tightly controlled here. With regards to online media, there many bloggers who are in the advertiser’s pockets. However there is a lot more variety of opinion among smaller bloggers and therefore it is easier to verify information.
5. How has the government supported/discouraged the use of digital media in Malaysia?
Call me a cynic but the government supports digital media when it is useful for them. For example, Prime Minister Najib Razak has been using his Facebook Page and YouTube channel to reach out to Malaysians. On the other hand, there were recent reports that the government may want to amend the Printing Presses and Publications Act to include online media. The proposed changes would severely curtail freedom of speech, and some parties saw it as a move by the ruling government to prevent the opposition from using digital media to their advantage when campaigning for elections.
6. The recent events in the Middle East have certainly highlighted the power of digital media. Do you think this will have any impact on the Malaysian government in how they regulate the use of digital media?
I don’t think so. The realities of the Middle East are quite different from the realities in Malaysia. The Middle Eastern regimes that fell were autocratic dictatorships, while Malaysia is a (controlled) democracy.
7. In your opinion and experience, what is the hardest barrier to break in persuading the businesses in Malaysia to engage in Digital Media?
1. Lack of good advice. Many digital agencies in Malaysia area also very new to digital media. Their key competencies are building flashy websites. However they are quickly learning the new rules of digital media.
2. Lack of good talent. Businesses need smart managers and / or marketing consultants to guide them, as well as programmers and technical resources to create engaging digital media experiences. For example, agencies are resorting to hiring individuals who have no advertising or marketing experience, but are digital media power users. Also, there are very limited developers who can create Facebook apps, social games, etc.
3. Lack of support from management. While many tech-related brands have started using digital media, many of the more conservative brands are still blocking Facebook and YouTube in the office. Therefore many businesses’ first steps in digital media are very calculated and minimal, and don’t generate good results.
The following case studies illustrate how Malaysia companies and brands use Web 2.0 to promote their business, products or services. While several case studies highlight successful practices practiced by businesses, others show how these companies can fail to use digital media effectively. Nonetheless, it seems that Malaysia companies in general are very proactive in leveraging on the power of digital media.
Foldees is a great case study of how a small company can use digital media to engage it's community of artists and customers.
How does Foldees work?
1. Foldees run a contest
How does Foldees utilize digital media in Malaysia?
Foldees runs on the principle that good ideas do not just come from one person sitting in an office continuously churning out ideas. In fact, Foldees operate on the belief that there are millions of people out there, each with at least one great idea. Thus Foldees serve as an aggregation for all these people with good ideas.
According to Lau Chak Onn who is the CEO of Foldees, the following are the takeaways when using Digital Media:
1. It's an economy - incentivize everything
2. Momentum matters - don't lose it
3. Casual beats formal
4. Transparency is important
5. Think long term
Foldees may be a small company but they are thriving because of their engagement in Digital Media. As of now, they have:
Tiger BeerTiger Beer is an example of how the blogosphere can build a brand. They not only used consumer insight to repackage its product but also generate excitement among influential endorsers in the online space.
The Malaysia beer market is crowded, with an array of seemingly generic brands jostling for attention and share. Tiger needed to remain relevant among its young target audience of 21- to 30-year-olds, strengthen brand positioning and increase loyalty, and ultimately increase share of the market.
With big-budget marketing efforts by many competitors focused on branding and sponsorships, Tiger needed to cut through to potential consumers by creating a campaign that stood out. With this in mind, Tiger set out to position itself as a unique, cool and contemporary beer that young people would want to associate with.
A proprietary research tool found that the target audience wanted to be associated with cool and trendy brands and products that offered them a ‘differentiator’ image. Focus groups showed that opinion leaders and social influencers demonstrating these traits served to reinforce the credibility of a brand. Tiger needed to excite target consumers by injecting an element of surprise through its packaging and presentation. Three different designer bottle sleeves were developed, based on music and artistic themes. The shrink-wrapped bottles featured Tiger’s branding in a stylised manner and stood out from the competition.
The strategy was to position Tiger as a brand enabling consumers to ‘stand out’. The initiative focused on the online social space, with endorsements from key opinion leaders and social influencers, alongside above-the-line advertising and PR. It was executed in four phases. To begin with, to stand out from the typical green glass bottles, Tiger beer bottles were repackaged with contemporary designs by internationally acclaimed artistes.
With restrictions on advertising alcohol products on TV, online endorsements by key influencers served to promote Tiger to its critical audience. To generate interest around its brand and the repackaged product, Tiger made use of Malaysia’s top blog aggregator, with 55,000 blogs including work by the country’s best-known bloggers, and organised a ‘Stand out’ blogger party. The party was Malaysia’s first by an alcohol brand for bloggers.
Post-campaign publicity was amplified with content distributed across a range of digital media platforms. Directly after the party, the media covered the event in the national dailies and ‘Stand out’ bloggers flooded the web with footage of the party on their blogs, Facebook profiles and Twitter accounts. Thousands of party pictures were posted on Flickr and Twitter, while videos were uploaded on YouTube.
According to Synovate, perception of Tiger as 'a beer for good times and fun' increased by 14 per cent; an additional 12 per cent of consumers described the beer as one 'my friends approved of'; and consumption among young adults increased by six per cent. (Source: Synovate BBT May 09)
Coffee O MalaysiaCoffee O Malaysia is an example of the importance of conversation in Digital Media. Their inability to distinguish between noise and conversation has caused a World Wide Rant, or at least in Malaysia.
| How Coffee O Malaysia Started
Coffee O Malaysia, a coffee brand in Malaysia, does not have any sort of official website. Instead they initiated a Facebook campaign by creating a lot of user profiles and simply going around adding people. They also started a fan page and suggested their "friends" to be a fan.
There are many ways to initiate a Facebook campaign. One can either create quizzes, games, applications, giveaways, contests or by feeding quality content so as to build trust with the fans. Despite the fact that Coffee O Malaysia fan base was growing tremendously, there was neither any Facebook ads on them, applications or anything. Since the brand is unfamiliar to some, there was no reason for them to be able to grow that fast provided that they have a very big fan base or user database.The thing was, the brand was riding on a very common topic to Malaysians - coffee, and there were sure a lot of coffee lovers in Malaysia.
Missing the Opportunity
Given the big fan base that they have, Coffee O Malaysia was missing an important part which is to monetize their fan base. They did post messages such as, "Do you go anywhere to drink coffee?", "Please provide information about this coffee O..." and "how to make good coffee...". However, Coffee O did not seem to provide any sort of reply when a number of fans responded to such postings and even asked a few questions. The constant posting of the number of fans on their Fan page status did not help either.
What Coffee O could have done for a change was to post a note, listing down participating outlets. They could even start a contest to give away their samples. Alternatively, they could just engage in a conversation with their fans as this would in turn build trust.
From this case, it was obvious that Coffee O had the opportunity to ride on a common interest and monetize their social marketing effort but yet, they end up doing funny things on it. It seemed like they decided to build something on Facebook because others were doing it and they do so without an idea of what to do next. An advise for local businesses and brands when embracing digital media marketing is to have a plan before jumping in.
KFCKFC is a successful example of how a company can mitigate social media crisis.
| KFC Social Media Crisis
KFC Malaysia found itself in trouble when a staff shot a footage of how a colleague was tampering with the food. The film was sent to the police and an internal investigation was also conducted. Nevertheless, the issue was dealt and settled within the HR department.|
However, the inevitable event happened on June 25 2011 when the video was leaked onto YouTube. KFC responded quickly and the first step it took was to set up an area within their Facebook page entitled “KFC responds”. This was to make sure that they could take control of the crisis by preventing it from stifling other communications activities.
'KFC Responds' - the crisis Facebook page
The page contains an FAQ channel that anticipates all questions that were likely to come up and they had uploaded two videos featuring the chain’s Director of Restaurant Operations and upload them on YouTube. It is obvious that KFC had thought ahead about crisis communications because the video is available in both Malay and English. This is essential in ensuring that they would not further enrage customers by excluding them from their communications. The film contains an apology and description of the steps that have already been taken in order to help reassure customers that this sort of issue won’t reoccur. They explain how (a) cameras have been installed in kitchens of all KFC outlets in Malaysia, (b) all kitchen preparation staff are now going to be directly supervised and (c) the firm is providing hygiene training for staff.
The next step KFC took was to invite upset citizens to express their concerns on the Facebook page. A few days later, the number of negative comments had decreased and it looks like this will come to a close for KFC in Malaysia.
- Asia Digital Marketing Year Book 2011
- Asia Pacific Digital Marketing Yearbook 2010
- Asia Pacific Digital Marketing Yearbook 2010
- Asia Pacific Digital Marketing Yearbook 2010
- Malaysia Social Media Week 2012 http://www.socialmediaweek.com.my/about.html
- World Bloggers and Social Media Awards 2010 http://www.socialmediaweek.com.my/awards/about.html
- Asia Digital Marketing Yearbook 2011
- Asia Digital Marketing Yearbook 2011
- Asia Digital Marketing Yearbook 2011
- Burson-Marsteller Asia Pacific 2011 Report
- Asia Digital Marketing Yearbook 2011
- Asia Digital Marketing Yearbook 2011
- Asia Digital Marketing Yearbook 2011
- Asia Digital Marketing Yearbook 2011
- Source: Consumer Lifestyles – Malaysia - Euromonitor