The RM35 million allocation that the government is channeling to the local digital creative content industry, via the National Economic Regeneration Plan (PENJANA), is expected to reinforce the continued growth for this sector.
Called the PENJANA Dana Kandungan Digital (Digital Content Fund – PENJANA DKD), it will further expand and enhance two existing digital content programmes that the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) – an agency under the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia (KKMM) – manages.
The PENJANA Digital Content Creators Challenge (PENJANA DC3+) initiative, a long-running programme that MDEC created, was designed to enable local talents to hone their creativity and ability in conceptualise new ideas for content. It also includes accelerating the development and commercialisation of these concepts. The end-goal is to increase the participation and capability of local talents in producing world-class digital content.
As an enhancement platform, PENJANA DC3+ will replace the previous DC3 structured programme with a concept that encourages the use of Malaysian themes. This includes adaptations of local stories, historical folklore, or making the setting identifiable as Malaysian. The PENJANA DC3+ programme also places more emphasis on works that are commercial in nature, containing a strong social message, or a combination of these elements in the form of short animated films, short films with visual effects and digital comics.
As for the second intiative, the PENJANA Digital Content Grant (PENJANA DCG), it was created to help local creative industry players adapt to the ‘new normal’ amidst the continuing global pandemic. Local studios can take advantage of this programme to assist in their marketing activities, digital distribution and the creation of new and exciting intellectual properties (IPs). The goal is to ensure companies can continue to produce quality creative content in the field of animation and related digital content.
PENJANA DCG is an extension of the existing MDEC Digital Content Grant, an initiative that promotes the development of local digital creative content. The programme’s main goal is to drive forward the digital creative content industry.
Both original initiatives were the result of increased public-private engagements that continue to empower the digital creative content industry. This also created various opportunities for Malaysia’s pool of potent creatives.
According to Saifuddin Abdullah, Minister of Communications and Multimedia, the PENJANA DKD is a critical initiative that aims to strengthen Malaysia’s digital creative content industry.
“Undoubtedly, the PENJANA DC3+ and PENJANA DCG programmes will play a big role that ensure Malaysia is already in the best position and is still the trailblazer for the digital content industry for ASEAN,” Saifuddin said.
Through DC3+ and the updated DCG, MDEC aims to support 50 digital content projects. Additionally, four new animation projects that have international appeal must also be produced.
Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, Minister of Finance, also stated that strengthening the ability to engage creative ecosystem, IP developers, award circuits and festivals and related markets are a major challenge when developing the country’s digital creative content sector.
“It’s good that this industry is dominated by Malaysian youths who have proven their ability to produce unique content that meets the taste-buds of local and international audiences,” Zafrul added.
He further commented that this sector is also very important for the long-term benefits to the country. Apart from contributing to the national economy, this sector is able to export Malaysian ideas and culture to the world stage.
“The PENJANA DKD program signifies the Government’s commitment to continue supporting local talent and expertise; producing and exporting more digital content that highlights the uniqueness of Malaysia,” Zafrul said.
By enabling more active collaborations among industry players and the public sector, these latest initiatives are expected to enhance the competitiveness of Malaysian-based artists and digital content enterprises globally.
And according to Surina Shukri, Chief Executive Officer of MDEC, she said MDEC has consistently championed the digital creative content ecosystem as it represents one of the key segments of the digital economy. The IPs and services produced with the assistance of MDEC has garnered various successes, including dominating the list of box-office collections last year. Even so, they have also been hit hard by Covid-19 and the current economic slowdown.
She believes the PENJANA DKD, channeled through the PENJANA DC3 + and DCG programmes, is timely as it can help increase business opportunities and expand market access in the short term. It will also help Malaysia’s digital creative industry sustain itself during these trying times.