Going beyond Astro: Only real men need to watch

  • Online channel maxman.tv to make a splash in September
  • Content will be multi-device with smart TV widget

EVERY now and then, someone bursts onto the scene and creates a stir by the sheer gumption of their ambition and their fearless attitude towards competition. Ahmad Izmir (pic, click link at bottom to watch video), the 30-year old chief executive officer of Izi Media Group Sdn Bhd, falls into this category.
Come September he is going to launch his Internet TV site with about 200 hours of Video-on-Demand content spread over 60 titles.
Going beyond Astro: Only real men need to watchThe titles will run from sports to fighting shows, reality TV, movies and documentaries. What they will have in common is lots of hot women, clothes dropping to the floor, lots of fighting, shooting, bloodied faces, blowing up and … well, you get the picture. Fun, boys’ stuff.
If you still don’t get the picture, perhaps the name of his online TV site will give you a strong clue – maxman.tv. “It’s not males, nor guys, but men. So, Man Up!” urges the promotional material.
Izmir’s motivation for setting up an all-men channel stems from his frustration that real men’s programming has been painfully diluted over the years and it is hard to find all the content in one place. Enter maxman.tv and its raw, gritty, aggressive and action-packed content.
Izmir himself doesn’t look so tough, but he sure talks tough. Self-funded, from savings and profits of his previous businesses, Izi Media did not seek government grants available for content because “I think our idea is too bold, too aggressive, too Silicon Valley for them,” he says.
What about Astro? “They can’t beat us unless they pay you to watch their content.”
What he means is that since Maxman.tv will be offering its content free, it is going to be hard for Astro to compete with them. Plus he cites the big three sins of Astro – it is expensive, it repeat shows heavily, and there is that thing with the stormy weather.
Plus, he accuses Astro of blocking other players from buying content from Lionsgate, a company Astro has a stake in through Celestial Tiger Entertainment.
“They lock out players like us from certain shows they won’t air here, such as Girls Gone Wild, but won’t let others buy them even though we can and want to. Is this their strategy for monopolizing the market?”
He does not see Astro as direct competition, “but, if they come up with a men’s channel, we will still be better as we will not repeat shows, all our content is HD quality, you can watch what you want, when you want and we are multi-device from launch.”
Oh, and it is free. Izi Media will also be tying up with some smart TV manufacturers next month with their “maxman” widget embedded in some smart TVs.
Not all good content expensive
His ad-supported business model is certainly not new in the online world and he agrees that scale is important to attract advertisers.
“I agree with those who say that the Malaysian online population is too small. That’s why when I launch in September, it will be simultaneously in Indonesia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. That’s a combined 50 million online population.
“That will be enough eyeballs to attract advertisers,” he says.
Having access to the eyeballs is one thing but it will be the quality of the content that will attract the eyeballs to his maxman.tv. With popular perception being that the multibillion-ringgit revenue Astro is able to buy any content it likes, why does self-funded Izmir, who declined to share how much he will invest into this venture, think he can compete?
Because not all good content is expensive, he argues. Some may just be revealing too much apparently, which the good family-oriented people at some broadcasters will recoil from.
But not Izmir and his maxman.tv. “Some of the shows we have were easy to win [bid for] as no one dares show them in Malaysia as they are a bit too ‘everything’ but not for maxman, where everything is not too much,” he says.
At the same time, he has also gone up against Astro a number of times and actually won. Little wonder that he says he is proud of those wins. His criteria to bid aggressively for some content is dependant on the shows already being popular in the United Kingdom or the United States, it fits the target market, and no one is showing it here.     
The teaser site is up today at http://www.maxman.tv/

Related video: DNA man ups to Ahmad Izmir. Did we survive?

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