By Digital News Asia May 1, 2020
- Digital Content Grant, Digital Content Creators Challenge to support studios & creators
- Need for creative content industry to assess current models in new normal world
Malaysian Minister of Communications and Multimedia Saifuddin Abdullah recently met with various leaders from the animation and video games sector in a webinar organised by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). His message? While the stimulus packages have been a welcome boost, especially for SMEs, more can be done to sustain and grow the digital creative content economy for a very different future.
Saifuddin reiterated how the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM) is looking into providing dedicated support for the creative sectors under its supervision, specifically for those that have been hit hard by the movement control order (MCO) and new social distancing norms due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I appreciate the efforts of the digital creative content industry for producing fun and educational public service announcements utilising their Intellectual Property (IP) as their contribution. It’s troubling to learn that this sector is hit hard by Covid-19,” says Saifuddin (pic, left) during the panel.
“My ministry is looking at the support available for the immediate and near term. As I have said before, I may not be an immediate expert in this space, but using a basketball analogy – as a point-guard, I need to distribute the ball in play to the right players. That is why having industry consultations such as this is important so I can learn from the industry experts. As an immediate measure, digital creative content companies can consider two ongoing programmes that may provide some relief.”
The aforementioned programmes are the Digital Content Grant (DCG) and Digital Content Creators Challenge (DC3), which are both under MDEC’s purview. They serve specific functions – the DCG, for one, is designed to support local digital creative content companies in producing and commercialising their ideas.
The goal, according to MDEC, is to create a sustainable digital content ecosystem for job creation and market expansion, as well as boosting talent development and generating Malaysian-owned intellectual properties.
DC3, on the other hand, is a platform that enables local creatives to hone their creativity and develop new concepts. This industry-wide contest, which offers grants as prizes, aims to accelerate the development and commercialisation of these ideas into world-class digital content.
Prior to Covid-19, the Malaysian video games and animation segments enjoyed a tremendous growth surge, with locally-produced animated movies garnering large grosses at the box office. The goal of the programmes, MDEC notes, is to quickly address the slowdown experienced by the sector, and ultimately ensure they can continue to sustain their business and quickly recover in post-MCO.
Discussions in MDEC’s industry engagement, which saw over 100 participants, highlighted that even if most studios are managing costs for now, many project timelines and attached talent resource planning were revised to ensure suitable bandwidth is in place to deal with new challenges.
While immediate issues such as re-routing workflows to avoid production pipelines from being significantly impacted turned out to be easier to remedy, more critical was managing team morale, company cash-flow, and sourcing for new business.
“There is a need for animation and game industries to reassess the current business models, adapt to this new normal, and how we can collectively re-energise the digital creative content ecosystem post MCO,” says Hasnul Hadi Samsudin, MDEC vice president of Digital Creative Content.
“MDEC plans to initiate and encourage cross-collaborations between non-related industries that will nurture new growth tracks. Indeed, there are many upcoming opportunities in the new digital playgrounds, immersive content space and digital distribution platforms.”
More information on the digital creative content programmes can be found at www.mdec.my.