Media Business

Dan Loh, CEO of Focus Malaysia, and William Kee, Editor of Pursuit of Focus Malaysia at the Telum event.

Last week, Retna and I attended a bank hosted event with Edge CEO, Ho Kay Tat as one of the speakers. He shared the media independence pre and post recent GE, which held on May 9, 2018.

This week, we attended an event hosted by Telum Media, with Focus Malaysia speaking about its publication.

Ho shown the attendees on the Audit Bureau Circulation numbers for political and non-political linked publications, which the ones linked to political parties are not doing so well.

Dan Loh, CEO of Focus Malaysia, spoke to the PR practitioners and clients or brand owners at the event, the publication removed 82% of the workforce to revamp the business in the last 2 years. He claimed not a media business or guy. He brought in the experience as an entrepreneur – how a business should run kind of mentality.

I do not know both of them (i.e. Ho and Loh) personally. Only through work occasions.

Though they do not or may view each other as competitor in the media business. One thing they both have in common – how to survive the media business in the time of internet, more so, Facebook, Google.

It is true that their business is very much impacted with print business seriously affected with the low subscriptions. I remember one of the senior editors at the event repeatedly mentioning that they work for printers, not the readers, nor advertisers. Which, in a way, not true.

Printers job is to print. Also the publication pay the printers, not the other way round.

Media business is about reporting the news, as it is.

I remember once in a social event, nothing to do with work kind of get together, a really senior editor told me that, “Sam, journalist report the news as it is, not to add flavours, personal opinions. To express your personal views, do that in the column, not in the news reporting.”

Of course news reporting like in Bloomberg, Businessweek are very much a research based reporting. Often if you read the content carefully, it seldom express the writers feeling, opinions, but perhaps only the writing styles.

For our business, aboutcom (soon to celebrate our 17th anniversary), we subscribe to almost all the media. I said almost because some of them we do not, partly our clients seldom ever appear in those news outlets. Also our clients’ development do not appeal to these groups of readers.

So, we pay for all the content, subscriptions. For some clients, we also subscribed to news outlets from abroad.

Retna and I read almost all the newspapers that come to our office daily. Be it Chinese, English and Malay. When our mother stays with us, we even get the Tamil language newspapers.

The way how WhatsApp is now a platform for elderly (research shown) to spread news (viral juicy news) is really something coming. The elderly got exposed to the technology ~ smartphones later than the gen x, z, millennial etc. So they are still learning how to utilise the technology. While I was having breakfast at Chinese coffee shop (or kopitiam), I could see many elderly do not read the newspapers now, but relying on news forwarded through WhatsApp and WeChat.

I left some WhatsApp groups which setup by church groups (in fact I left all of them) when they started to spread news about Trump as the chosen one, urgent blood donation (something someone put up few years ago), kids abducted, statements by Christian politicians (which later proven to be fake) etc etc etc.

Many years ago, we made it to the news on our fight against the school that our twins went to, due to the unfair physical abuse caused by the VP of the Parents Teachers Association. One of the Chinese media daily reported seriously wrong facts about me and Retna, also criticising our marriage. Since when the media is the moral teacher?

When we called the media to join us for our media briefing held at our home, this media outlet chose not to attend. I thanked the media attended as well as the media whom chose not to report anything which will impact the kids life. We wrote to these media to thank them for their stand later.

So my take on media business. Support the ones you like.

And, do not steal content.