Media Prima Digital’s IP extension strategy gets Ejen Ali boost
By Karamjit Singh June 20, 2016
- First app of 15 launched garners 260K downloads after 3mths
- Plan is to leverage on parent media group’s IP and market reach
COMBINING the still potent reach of traditional media with the discoverability of digital, Media Prima Digital’s (MPD) latest foray into the apps and games market has scored a hit with its Ejen Ali: M.A.T.A Training Academy game registering some 260,000 downloads as at June 7, slightly more than three months after it was launched on March 4.
The mobile game is based on an animation show on TV and was developed by MPD’s MP Labs gaming unit. MPD itself is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bursa Malaysia-listed Media Prima Bhd.
From being a traditional media company with assets in print, radio, TV, out-of-home and production studio, Media Prima has evolved into a fully integrated media company with various digital assets.
Its digital initiatives are led by MPD, a holistic digital consultancy which encompasses creative solutions, diversified platform services, and e-commerce expertise.
MPD specifically set up MP Labs to execute its strategy of extending the intellectual property (IP) assets of the Media Prima Group by creating apps, while leveraging on the reach of the Media Prima group to promote these apps.
Indeed, MPD chief executive officer Rafiq Razali credits this synergistic approach.
“The success of the game is mostly due to the power of advertising on traditional platforms. It goes to show that the integration of all these platforms within the group can bring these products to greater heights,” he says.
Ejen Ali the game is adapted from TV3's newest animated series of the same name, and was built to provide further engagement for players, with an updated version offering a more challenging experience already available since the March launch, and with a 3D version slated for launch in September.
“This is MP Labs' first game in the market and is based on the IP owned by the Media Prima Group,” says Nicholas Sagau Tony Ngimat (pic below), group general manager, Product & Media Prima Labs.
The business model is currently based on native ads.
“We have been flattered by the overwhelming response from users and don’t want to jeopardise the game experience,” says Sagau, who adds that the team is also exploring sponsorship opportunities with large corporate partners. In-app purchases will come in the next stage.
The game is currently promoted primarily through TV to relevant audiences already familiar with the show.
According to Sagau, almost RM500,000 (US$122,000 are current rates) of media equity has been invested in promoting the game and there’s more to come, specifically on performance marketing through various digital platforms.
“We will continue to promote the game, especially highlighting updates of new stages and characters as and when they are made available,” he says.
The most recent update promises a more challenging playing experience through three modes: Arcade, Time Attack, and Survival.
For Sagau, the rapid rollout of the Ejen Ali app also proves the model of MP Labs, which is to rapidly develop games with minimum outlay but leveraging on existing Media Prima IP.
There are two strategies here: Partner with experienced game developers, locally and internationally, and through hackathons, which is how Ejen Ali came about.
“We have already engaged two local game developers introduced by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), whom we work closely with, while Ejen Ali was developed by four fresh graduates (pic below) from KDU University whom we discovered through a hackathon,” says Sagau.
MPD has invested close to RM300,00 (about US$74,000) to organise the hackathon and develop the two versions of the game.
“With the overwhelming response we’ve been getting for the first game, targeting 9-14 year olds, we are looking forward to the launch of the 3D version in September,” he adds.
Besides the commercial side to the games that it will develop through MP Labs, showcasing and unearthing local talent is another objective of MPD.
“For instance, through our hackathon, we are able to uncover the four KDU students,” says Sagau.
“We also helped them along through mentorship by industry heavyweights where in this case, Unity3d evangelists were very involved in the development,” he adds, referring to the cross-platform game engine developed by San Francisco-based Unity Technologies.
Meanwhile, Ejen Ali: 3D to be released in September is being developed by an MDEC game developer company, Common Extract Sdn Bhd.
Moving forward, MP Labs plans to continue working with more Malaysian teams, in collaboration with global partners, to develop more games based on Media Prima Group’s IP.
“With the early success of Ejen Ali, we’re definitely looking forward to creating more games based on the other internal IPs,” says Sagau.
MP Labs is scheduled to launch up to 15 new games and apps. Its most recent release was Syukur Selalu based on Media Prima’s Islamic content. The next game will be based on Malay-language print daily Harian Metro’s popular yearly Mountain Bike GP event.
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