Digital future beckons, says media expert
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 — Digitally integrated media is the future and industry players need to be prepared, says Margaret Lim, the executive chairman of Carat media services.
To illustrate her point, Lim says she now relies on the iPad she got from her daughter in Los Angeles for her daily fix of news, music and books.
“As soon as I came to know about the iPad, I rang my daughter in Los Angeles and told her to get me one immediately,” said Lim who was flicking through her iPad while talking to The Malaysian Insider recently.
“I can read books, the Bible, read entertainment news, download gospel music or just do anything on it.”
The move towards integrated media gadgets will also influence the way advertisers approach the market, said Lim.
She points out that with advertisements in the print media, she is not able to click on them to purchase the product or service or to find out more information.
But if it was an advertisement on a digital device connected to the Internet, she could do so right away.
“If I see an online ad for cheap airfare, I can book the ticket right away,” she said.
According to figures provided by Carat, Internet advertising expenditure has grown 55 per cent so far this year.
On a month-on-month basis, growth was even more impressive, with June Internet advertising expenditure growing 81 per cent over May.
The high growth, however, is coming off a small base as the figure advertisers spent on the Internet in the first six months of the year amounted to only RM25.9 million compared to the RM1.836 billion spent on newsprint-based media, which grew 18 per cent.
Products and services in Malaysia are advertised in four languages due to its multicultural makeup.
Television is the most popular medium in Malaysia, according to Nielsen, reaching almost 98 per cent of adults aged 15 and above during the week in Peninsular Malaysia.
There has also been a significant change in media buying habits since advertisers are now more research based and look at readership and viewership data first before investing on a campaign.
“Advertisers must be imaginative and try new things to get continuous response from consumers”, said Lim.
“Hypermarkets engage with their customers through catalogues, offering low prices on groceries and household goods. This tells us why they receive high response from consumers.”
Many Malaysians also feel that the traditional media is “old” and “controlled by the government”. As the traditional media loses its appeal, more people are now turning to blogs and news websites for information suppressed by the mainstream media.
“Consumers expect the media to be credible. The more the government tries to control news or programmes, the more people will move away and choose news from a different source,” said Lim.
“The media, however, cannot control the news today because consumers can read or listen to other sources of news.”
The emergence of the Internet has also given the public an opportunity to represent their opinions online, she added.
“Consumers articulate their own perception based on what they have read,” she said.
When asked if the current media trend would affect newspaper circulation, Lim said “there will always be shifts in circulation and readership”.
“As a general trend, circulation of most newspapers will decline because people today have access to news in many forms”, she said.
“Swings happen and it’s difficult to tell why people select one paper over another. They might have been reading the same paper for a long time and become used to it,” she added.
“People switch to different source of news for the craziest reasons,” she said.
“People say they prefer to read Nanyang over Sin Chew because it has better business features. But it’s because they haven’t read Sin Chew,” Lim said.
She said newspapers now face challenges in remaining relevant and giving readers what they want.
She pointed out that scandal sheets would continue to enjoy high readership due to the nature of the news.
“Consumers like entertainment and a wide range of news and how it’s reported”, she said.
Malaysia’s current broadband penetration rate is estimated to be at 35 per cent and the government is aiming for 50 per cent by the end of this year.
According to a recent Nielsen survey, Malaysia ranks as among the top 10 highest media consuming nations out of 52 countries.