TH Chong
Aug 18, 2014

Raised on radio: Venerable medium still a key platform in Malaysia

Radio still provides impressive reach and influence in Malaysia. But as TH Chong, chief commercial officer of Astro Radio, explains, that doesn't mean a broadcaster or its clients can ignore multiplatform trends.

TH Chong
TH Chong

We are fortunate to operate in a growth environment and in a growing industry. Our radio penetration is the highest in the region with a 90+ per cent penetration rate for Malaysians above 10 years of age. It is considered as a reliable medium in terms of reach.

Our opportunity is underpinned by significant socio-economic, consumer behaviour and industry trends which include:

  • Increasing household size, with a 2.7 per cent compound annual growth rate
  • Increasing wealth, with average household income growth of 7.2 per cent;
  • A growing young and educated population; and
  • Strong infrastructure investments, resulting in rapid urbanisation and increased connectivity.

Within five years, with the proliferation of technology and devices, we will see smart devices in the hands of every Malaysian, making consumers increasingly wealthy, enabled and connected. It follows therefore that demand for content, products and services will rise.

The shift to Android devices show no sign of slowing down. Social media has truly changed the way people get news and share it. From a cultural point of view, social media seems to have changed the way we communicate and the way we react to information. It brings out both the best and the worst in people. Media companies are now competing well and innovation is growing as a result of that; consumers are on the winning side.

Embracing more content windows

Our focus remains content that resonates with the depth and breadth of our customers’ interests. Today, we have to embrace the needs of each and every member of the household and increasingly wherever and whenever our listeners want it. 

The biggest change in the last 10 years has been the evolution of the media landscape. We started as radio stations and today we are content creators and providers. Consumers are shaping today’s content with their increasingly discerning tastes and need for interactive engagement.

As a radio business, our primary objective is to serve content where our users are. In the last few years, we saw the shift to digital and we followed suit by introducing different content services and content types to meet that need.

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We drive all our content now through a filter that incorporates social, local, mobile, video and data.

With digitalisation in place, what this means for our advertisers is that we are able to define who and what we communicate to our target audiences through streaming audio networks, identifying and targeting individual listeners based on gender, age, location or even published music preferences. 

We see a large percentage of our on-air advertisers who are shifting to digital advertising as the consumer trends become increasingly sophisticated. In terms of digital revenue, we have grown by over 60 per cent from 2010 to 2014, in the process claiming a significant portion of the market. With the high growth rate, multinational clients are moving increasingly towards marketing innovations on digital platforms with 15 per cent to 20 per cent of their budgets focused on digital advertising.

Case studies

We are currently seeing increasing fluidity in content consumption, across the watch, listen, read and play spaces. Mobility, interactivity and social are the new normal, and consumers expect the same quality experience across all devices, anytime, anywhere. We want to continue to innovate our listener experience as we are in a position to make a difference in the radio/entertainment industry.

Astro is a consumer and content focused company, and we aim to reach out to Malaysians of all ethnic, cultural and social backgrounds by creating, aggregating and distributing the best of local, regional and international content across all platforms: TV, radio, online, OTT, mobile, publications and on ground.

This group shares a similar vision in ensuring our content is available wherever and whenever our listeners want it, therefore all of our branded content is integrated across all platforms and also, harnessing and synergizing our radio brands and all other assets across the Astro Group. Hence we are able to provide advertisers with a truly integrated cross-platform branded content solution.

We have found that a combination of traditional media, web and social properties can really drive a campaign's success. No longer can one isolate digital and traditional media for campaigns. Agencies that have adapted this hybrid mentality are the true winners.

Some examples of successful campaigns launched as a group initiative and across all platforms are as follows:

Nippon paint home makeover

The Nippon paint makeover campaign ran across three Astro radio stations, My FM, Era FM and THR Raaga in 2013 with the campaign phasing coinciding with the key festive periods of Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Deepavali.

Phase one of the campaign saw our personalities sharing their personal experiences of using the Nippon Memento paint range, sharing their renovation stories and adventures.

These stories were related on air and then online as customised video content.

The second phase of the campaign then encouraged listeners to go to our station website and register for the opportunity to win an RM 10,000 makeover. To add further impact all those who entered the competition had to nominate which of their favorite announcers they would want to come and renovate their home.

The final phase of this campaign saw the announcement of the winners of the home makeover with the station announcers and the station events along with expert tradesmen from Nippon paints turning up at the lucky winner’s home.

The New Ford Fiesta Presents The hitz Birthday Invasion

This partnership gave Ford unparalleled access to our premium content space. All our on air promotion of the forthcoming birthday invasion carried client branding while the campaign was also leveraged on all our social media platforms to actively engage with our listeners creating hashtags with strong client branding including #fordfiesta

The campaign culminated with hitz birthday bash event. As our key partner Ford had extensive branding and site presence with their branding prominently displayed everywhere around the campus. Ford banners were hung on the buildings. There were also 6 giant banners tied up on the 6 main buildings opposite Syopz Mall and were custom made light balls placed on the lake with the wordings “New Ford Fiesta”.

The event also provided a unique opportunity to showcase the new Fiesta range in front of a captive audience in excess of 12,000 people. The new Fiesta range was on display within the event so those attending could actually see the new Fiesta as they enjoyed their favorite artists at the birthday bash.

Rev-kan Your Padang

Rev-kan Your Padang was a campaign initiative dreamed up by Astro Radio's chief executive Dr Jake Abdullah in response to a brief from Permanis to create an event that had never been done before.

We also needed to create a connection with Malaysian foot fans in the lead up to the 2014 World Cup and heighten market awareness for the Pepsi and Revive brands.

Jake's idea was to revive the spirit of the field, the original home of football with the Rev-kan Your Padang, a campaign that would see us create three on ground events across peninsular Malaysia.

The Rev-kan Your Padang campaign ran across Era FM , My Fm , hitz FM and THR Raaga and Gegar.

Listeners were invited to register themselves and their HOME Padang for the chance to be picked as player to play against our All Star Team at the Padang of their choice The All Star Team, which was comprised of former state players and the most talented footballers from our five radio stations.

The campaign was a huge success, in terms of exposure both on air and on ground  for the Revive and Pepsi brands The first match was held at Padang Kenangan , Dewan MPSPK’ on 7the June 2014, the second at ‘Padang MPK2, Kuantan with final match at  ‘Padang AwamSemenyih’ on 21st June 2014.

The client’s brand was prominently displayed at all the on ground events exposing them to the crowds that turned up for the matches with both traditional signage and unique branding opportunities created by Astro radio especially for the event.

TH Chong is chief commercial officer of Astro Radio


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