2021 Malaysian Media Review

2021 Malaysian Media Review
Nuraaina Asri

2021 is such a roller coaster ride for the Malaysian media industry with some major media moves and industry updates. Here are some of our highlights:

Quarter 1 (January - March)
Pioneering member of Astro AWANI, Ashwad Ismail took the wheel as the Head and Editor-in-Chief of the 24-hour news channel. Former Chief Executive Officer of REV Media Group, Rafiq Razali is now the Group Executive Director of Media Prima Berhad, and Free Malaysia Today welcomed Azeem Abu Bakar as their Managing Director. From Star Media Group, Executive Editor Rozaid Rahman moved to Sinar Harian as their Editor-in-Chief, and the Executive Content Officer Brian Martin has been made The Star’s Managing Editor. The publisher’s radio arm, Star Radio Media Group has also named Roslinda ‘DJ Lin’ Abdul Majid as their General Manager. On the luxury lifestyle side, Naseem Randhawa became the Editor of PRESTIGE Malaysia, where she spearheads the content and editorial team of the magazine including its annual supplement, PRESTIGE Watch Supplement - Cachet and PRESTIGE Property Supplement.

As far as changes to media organisations go, PETRA News introduced The Vibes’ Malay sister digital title, Getaran, helmed by Managing Editor Zulkifli M. Jalil. The quarter also witnessed the rebranding exercise of NTV7 to DidikTV KPM, an educational TV channel following their partnership with the Ministry of Education Malaysia, and the transformation of the 48-page broadsheet-styled Chinese newspaper, Oriental Daily News into a fully digital platform. Few lifestyle titles also were making their comebacks to shelves, which are Harper’s BAZAAR Malaysia, The Peak Malaysia, ICON Malaysia, EH!, GLAM Malaysia and GLAM Lelaki.

Quarter 2 (April - June)
Throughout this quarter, senior leadership change was taking place across Media Prima Berhad’s radio arm with the appointments of former Astro Radio’s Nazri Noran as the new CEO, Aaron Pinto as Chief Content Officer and Datuk Jake Abdullah as the Consultant. Astro Radio on the other hand appointed Hakimi As'ari as the AVP, Head of Podcast to manage the overall content offerings under Astro Radio's podcast category, Catch-Up Radio, SYOKcast Originals, and shows from Astro's content partners.

Joining the radio parade is CaiJin, a Chinese sister brand of BFM 89.9 radio which specialises in podcasts and business and finance articles, visual business, and economy content. Some other news includes the appointment of Elyza Khamil as Head of Branded Content for Tatler Malaysia, former Astro AWANI’s Social Media Editor Khairulnizam Bakeri is now the Head of Digital at Media Selangor, and Jamilah Lim spearheads Tech Wire Asia as the Editor.

Quarter 3 (July - September)
The biggest move of the quarter goes to the rebranding exercise of Ripple, Media Prima Berhad’s radio arm, to Media Prima Audio. Two of their radio stations, Hot FM and Fly FM were refreshed with new sound, logos, look and feel, while Kool FM and One FM were rebranded to Buletin FM and 8FM respectively. Two new players entered the media scene, which are Sinar Karangkraf-owned Sinar Premium, a news portal that aims to feature more thought-provoking, in-depth quality news reports and articles, and Lumi News Malaysia, an all-in-one news app featuring breaking news and headlines reported by over 30 quality publishers across this country with the ability for users to follow publishers in their preferred languages, select topics they are most interested in, and receive notifications whenever something of interest trends.

In this quarter as well, Khaw Chia Hui has been named as the Chief News Editor of The Vibes. This quarter also remarks the new era of digital titles entering the e-commerce scene, with the launch of the beauty-niched e-commerce platform, Insider Mall by Beauty Insider Malaysia, and VP Label by Vulcan Post Malaysia to support local entrepreneurs and homegrown brands.

Quarter 4 (October - December)
The final quarter of the year is graced by significant key moves and industry news. Digital publisher REV Media Group named Samuel Wee as the Chief Executive Officer and Nicholas Sagau as the Chief Operating Officer. The group also promoted Noraniza Azmi to Head of Malay Network, while Lowyat Media Group on the other hand welcomed former New Straits Times’ Specialist Writer, Jafwan Jaafar as Head of English Content. Moving to foreign news outlets, CNA promoted Malaysia-based Editorial Assistant Pamella Lim to Producer and welcomed Rashvinjeet Singh Bedi as its Digital Correspondent. The lifestyle media industry was also buzzing with appointments as Sharuna Segaren joined PRESTIGE Online Malaysia as Digital Content Director, Ian Loh being made Editor-in-Chief of L’Officiel Malaysia, and Syahirah Mokhtazar to spearhead the upcoming Sinar Daily’s lifestyle content as Head of Lifestyle. At the industry-scale, TRP unleashed their own tech arm called TRP Tech, and EdgeProp Malaysia’s weekly digital issue came to an end after 332 publications being published.

While the quarter was sprinkled with appointments and promotions, it also witnessed some of the biggest farewells towards the end of the year. The Editor-in-Chief of The Edge Malaysia Azam Aris has retired after 27 years of services since the title’s inception back in 1994, and Astro AWANI’s Rizal Zulkapli opened a new chapter at Khazanah Nasional Berhad as the Vice President, Strategic Communications and Media. The country also mourned the passing of our legendary football commentator, Ross Yusof earlier a few weeks back. May he rests in peace.

And that is 2021 wrapped up! We are excited to see what 2022 holds for the Malaysian media industry. Here’s to a bigger, better year for everyone in Malaysian media.

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