PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (K-KOMM), through Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC), has been successful in assisting many digital creative content companies to develop new content or commercialize existing content in the fields of animation, interactive media and digital games, among others. through its Digital Content Grant (DCG) initiative.
To date, it has approved 55 projects worth more than RM34.5 million since 2016. Projects developed by grantees include Didi & Friends of DD Animation Sdn Bhd, Ejen Ali the movie by Wau Animation Sdn Bhd, and AstroLOLogy Animation by Lemon Sky Animation Sdn Bhd. Ejen Ali the movie clinched the record for highest-grossing local animated film with a domestic box office collection of RM30.05 million.
The DCG was introduced in 2016 and aims to help Malaysian digital content companies with a minimum paid-up capital of RM20,000. This year, companies can apply for either a grant worth up to RM300,000 for development costs or up to RM500,000 for intellectual property (IP) commercialization and licensing costs.
The grant is one of the first in a series of grants tailored to the digital creative content industry, as it is a high-growth industry. This is a key area of MyDigital and K-KOMM is committed to ensuring the industry receives the support it needs to stay competitive.
MDEC CEO Mahadhir Aziz said the grant has been used to fund big, successful projects around the world, such as 7th Beat Games’ Rhythm Doctor, which received a very positive rating from Steam.
“The grant addresses the issue of seed funding, traditionally the riskiest part of intellectual property development. This creates opportunities for Malaysian creators to showcase larger projects with higher commercial value. Currently, funding in this space is limited, with most funding only available to established studios and coming from publishing/distribution channels. The DCG allows for a more inclusive aspect, creating opportunities not only for the biggest Malaysian studios to participate, but also provides a platform for new entrants to the industry.
“Another unanticipated outcome was the success in 2019 of animation IPs that are Ejen Ali: the movie which registered over RM30 million in box office value while Upin & Ipin: Keris Siamang Tunggal recorded over RM26 million domestically. Both films have received MDEC grants in one form or another over the past 10 years,” Mahadhir told SunBiz.
He added that other DCG findings include the growing prevalence of non-entertainment related IPs and content creation such as simulation, VR/AR, virtual production and game engine used in other areas of creative technology. Additionally, there is potential in enterprise solutions, particularly gamification, virtual production, and games and content on decentralized technologies and Web 3.0.
“DCG’s long-term goal would be to show that the Malaysian government has shown its long-term commitment to building the digital content industry. This consistency has made Malaysia a leading regional hub for content creators. intellectual and content property,” Mahadhir added.
Co-founder and CEO of Wau Animation Usamah Zaid Yasin (Ejen Ali)
The Digital Content Grant (DCG) plays a pivotal role in growing the success of our IP, Ejen Ali, as it is channeled into the creation of Ejen Ali: The Movie 2 (EATM2), following the achievements of our previous film which became the highest-grossing local film of 2019, as well as the highest-grossing local animated film of all time.
Charlie Chan Kam Wai (Oko Lele), director of Metal Brain Studio
To date, Oko Lele has amassed 100 million monthly views, 1.36 million subscribers, and 1.5 billion views of the entire series. We are currently working on production up to episode 75 and are aiming for over 100 episodes to air by next year.
We never thought that a Malaysian-made animation could attract fans and audiences from all over the world, such as SEA, India, Mena, Russia, Japan, America, Brazil and countries Europeans. We have Youtube reactions and imitation videos made by fans and products offering co-promotions. We even have a pastry shop in Brazil that makes a cake with our animation characters.
Yiwei P’ng, founder and director of Kurechii (King’s League II)
We didn’t plan to grow so quickly, but the success of the game pushes us to grow and adapt. The experiences we gained from producing prototypes and playable demos proved extremely useful as we evolved the content and converted it into a highly polished game.
King’s League II is published on Apple Arcade, one of the most prestigious gaming platforms in the world. Only 100 games were selected when Apple Arcade first launched in 2019, Kurechii / King’s League II is one of them.
Gan Dong Chee, General Manager of Magnus Games Studio (Re:Legend)
Magnus Games Studio wouldn’t be here today without DCG. Programs such as DCG are hugely beneficial to the entire local digital creative content industry. It serves as a bridge for smaller studios to connect to the entire local ecosystem of creators and other stakeholders. It is very encouraging to see small businesses getting funding to start their projects.
In addition to funding, grants provide us with opportunities to showcase our talents globally. The world is able to learn that Malaysia is a force to be reckoned with within the creative industry, and we are able to produce content that wins global awards and is consumed by millions of people from different country. Our longer term goal is not just to succeed as an individual company, but to succeed as an entire ecosystem where we are able to support each other and grow exponentially.