What should the Star Media Group look to invest in?

To many, Star Media Group announcing that it will invest areas beyond its print unit, was not a surprise. This came hot on the heels of the company selling 52.51% stake in Cityneon Holdings for RM360.18 million in cash to investment holding company, Lucrum 1 Investment.

Meanwhile, reportedly print revenue contribution for the group has been dropping over the years, despite it being one of the main revenue streams. And while it is upping its digital game, with the launch of a new OTT service, dimsum, late last year, it doesn't foresee the unit making a huge impact in its FY2017.

A+M spoke to a few industry experts on what they think the group should be venturing into at this point.

“The Star has many touch-points with their readers and users, be it newspaper, ePaper, radios, events, websites, mobile and now with the newly launched video-on-demand (VOD) service, dimsum in November last year,” said Serm Teck Choon, president of Malaysian Digital Association and Malaysia country head of  CtrlShift.

Serm, who was previously also The Star's digital products head, added that most of The Star’s readers and users are PMEB (professionals, managers, executives and businessmen) and such data carries high values to advertisers. He said:

The Star should work towards integrating all the offline and online data collected. By doing this, it can unlock the value of data and build a seamless customer journey. That will be a very powerful offering in the market.

Prashant Kumar, senior partner of experimental marketing firm Entropia agreed with Serm, adding The Star’s core competency lies in the area of quality content for the premium mass audience.

“It is only natural that it diversifies its platforms beyond newsprint. There’s no reason why it should limit itself to news content,” he said. Kumar also pointed out why the group may stand a better chance in positioning itself as a competitive e-commerce player.

“The Star gets premium mass and they get content. With the platforms it has, it is generating tons of quality data. It also has owned media assets. All of these provide the group with a powerful leverage unlike pure play e-commerce players for instance.

He added:

A strong consumer understanding along with data-enabled user experience and with targeted content will be key to winning in the e-commerce marketplace in the long run.

This is especially in certain focused areas such as healthy living, fashion and luxury and premium mass home furnishings.

Kumar also said that perhaps, the group could even consider monetising the opportunity in entertainment content.

“As a newspaper, it always had its fingers on the pulse of the readers’ lifestyle, entertainment as well as news interests. So it has a larger canvas of genre to play with, and I think it must make the best of that,” he added.

In fact, the group has already showed its early signs with the launch of dimsum. Not only that, it has been aggressive in bringing more content for its audience via this platform.

Earlier this week, dimsum launched its second branded VOD content in a month, tying up with ASEAN travel-focused initiative, GOASEAN, which will see the platform offering various travel-related content. This deal comes after dimsum launched branded VOD content from Oh!K earlier this month, in order to bring Korean entertainment content to subscribers in Malaysia and Brunei.

The Star has always been an entrepreneurial company, savvy with opportunities and highly professional in execution, Kumar added.

These qualities, along with their deep pockets, highly regarded relationships in the industry, and a keen understanding of Malaysia's premium audiences, place the group very well to succeed.

A+M has reached out to The Star for further comments.