Hepmil Media Group, owner of SGAG, MGAG, PGAG and SGEEK, has launched Hepmil Creators' Network (HCN) to offer Southeast Asia's independent comedy content creators, including those on TikTok, with business opportunities. This is all while leveraging the company's expertise in comedy to mentor these talents.
Leading the growth of HCN is Hepmil Media Group's agency lead, Cassi Yang (pictured below). Hepmil Media Group was her first full-time job after graduation. Prior to that, she interned at Wunderman and was a freelance designer before that.
Yang will be supported by the group's board of director Brian Tiong. Tiong currently heads B-side, a digital media advisory that is well connected in the entertainment and media industry. He was also previously the former group CEO of Yeah1 Network, which was the largest YouTube network in Asia Pacific at its peak, with over six billion monthly views and 4,000 creators in its network, the statement said.
Yang told Marketing that the idea to start HCN came up in January this year and the team took two to three months to recruit content creators in Singapore and the Philippines. For the Philippines in particular, the team flew down to meet them in January.
"We hope that HCN can be at the heart of the creator and content explosion that is happening in the region. We want to contribute by nurturing and providing business opportunities for independent comedy creators in the region, while supporting brands to meet their campaign objectives as well as produce quality and brand safe content across TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube," she added.
Targeting Millennials and Gen Zs, the network will support brands and agencies in partnering independent creators in the region to develop resonating and brand safe content for the audience, first on TikTok then on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. In particular, HCN aims to provide easy discovery of suitable comedy creators. TikTok, for example, has become a popular platform for content creators, witnessing a 70% year-on-year increase in the number of users last year. Through HCN, brands can tap on these creators to discover and connect with the most suitable individuals to develop brand safe content.
Brands and agencies will also liaise with a central account manager, ensuring they have a single point of contact in managing their campaigns. According to HCN, this provides ease in the facilitation process and enables always-on campaign performance tracking, alongside savings in cost-per-views. At the same time, brands and agencies can also be assured of the quality of ideas and proposals, ensuring that they meet the objectives of the brief. Among the list of brands and agencies that the group has worked with include McDonald's, Ben & Jerry's, KFC, Carlsberg, Ogilvy, DDB, Dentsu, and Mindshare.
Karl Mak, CEO and co-founder of Hepmil Media Group, said with TikTok taking Southeast Asia by storm, it can also be a valued partner to brands and agencies that are keen to reach the Gen Zs and Millennials on the platform, but are unsure of how to go about it. Some of the TikTok brand campaigns which HCN has worked on with its partners include Samsung’s “Solve for tomorrow” competition that encourages the Gen Z audience to conceptualise ideas that will make a meaningful impact on the community; and Circles.Life’s #HelloNeighbour campaign that nudges Singaporeans to display encouraging messages by their windows to interact with their neighbours during the Circuit Breaker period.
“I am personally excited about this new subsidiary, which will be led by Yang, our first employee at the group. With experience in content and partnerships, and business development, Yang now leads innovation and marketing at the group and brings her industry insights to the table, alongside the support of Tiong and a team who is committed to be a valued partner for both content creators and brands,” he added.
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Currently, HCN comprises 11 Singapore creators including popular TikTok creator and Taekwondo athlete Ng Ming Wei, and 12 Filipino creators including Tyrone Tiaga. It also looks to grow its network of creators to include those in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam, as well as comedy creators on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.
In the face of the current COVID-19 outbreak, HCN has been encouraging its creators to produce educational and light-hearted content to entertain the audience, while keeping each other safe and healthy. For example, its TikTok creators in the Philippines have seen a 41% increase in followers following the country’s lockdown, a surge in TikTok hashtag challenges and more content developed, the network said in a statement. To support the content creators in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines during this trying period, HCN actively seeks business opportunities for them, while guiding them through digital means to take their content creation to the next level and hone their business intuition.
To date, HCN said 70% of its creators in Singapore have been involved in developing content for brands.
These brands have sought support from HCN since March this year across TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. That said, while creators in Southeast Asia find it easier to express their creativity and be discovered on social media platforms, Hepmil Media Group said many of them lack the knowledge and support to be sustainable in the business and strengthen their content creation skills.
"Despite the massive growth of content creators in the region, many still face challenges such as not knowing where to look for business opportunities, understanding brand objectives and answering the brief, how to work on business proposals, and even turning their passion in content creation into a full time, sustainable career," the group added.
In light of this, HCN aims to help comedy creators monetise their branded content, improve their craft, navigate between social media platforms, and work with brands to develop entertaining, localised and brand safe content. The network will leverage its in-house production, creative and strategic team to broaden the reach of the creators' content and channels, while offering co-creation and income opportunities through brand partnerships. Creators in Singapore will also have free access to the network’s studio space, facilities, and filming equipment to create more content too. Additionally, mentorship will be provided creator workshops and resources to guide them in preparing quality proposals for brands and receiving feedback on their content based on data analytics and insights. HCN will also engage social media platforms to discuss challenges and opportunities faced by creators, while having those under the network to learn and adopt industry best practices.
Yang also told Marketing that it cross collaboration opportunities between local and overseas creators will also be facilitated to grow their reach across markets. Post-circuit breaker, HCN plans to involve and cast its creators in the video production of SGAG to raise their visibility and grow their following. When asked what the new normal will be like, Yang said content creators have to be cognisant that marketing budgets will not resume to that pre-COVID-19 immediately.
"As content creators, we need to band together, regardless of follower size and scale. With tightened marketing spend, creators also need to deliver high quality content to help clients achieve their outcomes, thus contributing to help the industry pick itself up after," she explained.
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