The business side of a content play

  • Success of Leon Tan’s Goliath will not be decided in Malaysia
  • Is pursuing online game development a losing cause for Asean developers?

The business side of a content playI AM excited about the third installment of our Disrupt series which will focus on what it takes, beyond talent, to build successful companies in the multimedia content space. Digital News Asia (DNA) wanted to get the discussion away from the talent issue because so much has already been discussed about it.
Malaysia now has been involved in the multimedia space for at least a dozen years and there is enough experience in the industry to move the discussion beyond talent. Of course, talent is a never-ending discussion simply because everyone wants more of it, and wants that talent to be good, not just average.
And we will talk about talent, but our panelist Chun Chong Leong, who has worked with Electronic Arts in Los Angeles and Shanghai, and headed Disney Interactive’s studio in Shanghai, thinks the question of talent should be approached from the input angle (the teachers) rather than the output (students).
Having worked for over 10 years in the cosy confines of some of the biggest names in the multimedia content space, Chun has taken the big step to become an entrepreneur as co-founder of, a small studio working on mobile games.
With the amount of support the Malaysian Government has thrown into multimedia content, it will be interesting to hear his experiences in that space, especially after I heard Ganesh Kumar Bangah’s opinion about online game development.
I have to say, the interview I had with Ganesh of MOL Global in August still sticks to mind.
He was essentially saying that it was pointless to be a game developer in Malaysia or anywhere else in South-East Asia because the economic realities of developing online games favor developers in China, a market where the cost base and market size just overwhelmingly tip the odds of success.
In response to this reality, Malaysian game publishers have begun taking stakes in Chinese game developers. Will this trend accelerate or can the likes of Chun prove that if you start with a global market in mind, it does not matter where you launch from?
I know there will be a number of game developers in the audience. Has their experience shown Ganesh to be wrong? There will be at least one leading venture capitalist in the audience too. What has the experience of his portfolio of companies under the multimedia content space? Will he stand up and share his experience?
Meanwhile the senior executive of one studio which set up in Malaysia suggests that local entrepreneurs develop international markets and partnerships in order to make up for the smaller regional market they are in.
For sure Leon Tan will be sharing his experiences. His most recent Facebook posting on Thursday gives a hint of what he went through.
“We've done all we can, given the resources, time and talents available to us, to craft a movie that was, from Day One, fraught with some of the toughest challenges any animation producer would face.

"The Herculean task of coordinating a production spread over 300 people in three countries. The challenges posed by restraints in resources, time, budgets, and the fact that this is our first animation venture of this magnitude and complexity -- even for our experienced teams in Los Angeles and Seoul, let alone the emerging talents in Malaysia.”
I dare say he packed in more experiences in the past three years with Goliath than he has in all his previous years as an entrepreneur.
And here’s the downright scary part: The success of his 3D baby will not be decided in Malaysia by Malaysian audiences. It will be decided by audiences in the United States, Mexico and whichever country Tan manages to convince distributors to carry his movie.
Ah, talking about distributors. Tan can now spend an hour talking about that portion of the industry value chain. And it makes for fascinating listening. So see you on Tuesday!
You can register here to secure your spot.
Related Stories:
Disrupt #3: Malaysia’s got creative talent, but is that enough?
Technopreneur Leon Tan gets his dream geek-fest

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