Interview with Adam Ham, Executive Director GCMA

By AMRITA VALECHA | 9 May, 2011 - 13:16

Global Creative and Media Agency (GCMA) has been established to catalyze and accelerate the growth of Malaysia’s modern entertainment & media industry in the hopes of bringing all the industry blocks in a unified effort between the Government & private sectors. Its main objective is to develop the entertainment & media industry and create strategic market access promotional campaigns that will maximize the economic growth, bridge convergence of media technologies, and promote Malaysia’s contents & services in the area of TV/film, animation, games, mobile, new media, etc.  In this interview with AnimationXpress Asia Pacific, Adam Ham, Executive Director of GCMA shares the focus, objective and the future plans of GCMA.

What is GCMA? What is the focus and objective of GCMA?
GCMA plays a critical role to facilitate market development, PR & media, foreign Government relations and industry development. GCMA’s services includes facilitating foreign tradeshow missions (in-bound/out-bound), specialized B2B trade missions (in-bound/out-bound), as well as coordinating relevant seminars, conferences and workshops. Within Malaysia, GCMA has the largest & most up-to-date network of industry professionals in the private, public and academic sectors combined to bring you one of the best contents and services from Asia.

What is the main idea to start GCMA?
Being involved in the national development and promotion of the Malaysian entertainment & media industry in the past decade under a prominent and long-time staff of MDeC (Multimedia Development Corporation), it gives me great pleasure to unveil Malaysia’s premiere one-stop digital content agency within the contents & application sector.

The establishment of GCMA marks a new milestone in dynamically & actively promoting the growth of this industry and also representing a showcase of content developers (from animation studios, TV & film productions, and games & new media development), associations & organizations, and a highly capable talent of support players in Malaysia, to the world through quality facilitated missions and events locally and worldwide.

Over the past decade, Malaysian digital content companies have been fortunate enough to be well-supported by more than 70 over private & public grants/funds for marketing support and content production purposes. The Malaysian Government has been busy and doing a fantastic job in developing effective strategies, government incentives and policies in order to accelerate the growth of the digital content business for Malaysia. To fill up the gap for marketing and promotions, GCMA has been established to compliment the Government and private sectors in designing & facilitating effective marketing industry campaigns locally & worldwide.

Personally speaking, after investing 10 years in the contents & media fraternity, it is truly a fun and exciting social business to be involved in. Deep in my heart, I felt a sense of responsibility to contribute and further enhance the promotion of the Malaysian digital contents & services. I will continue to lead this program with pleasure, as long as my service is in demand by the government and private sectors.

What is GCMA’s long term plan?
As we enter into the next phase of the exciting contents and application sector, the global market continues to grow from strength to strength. Thanks to the effective policies and frameworks put together by the Malaysian Government, Creative Malaysia has risen to be one of the most exciting & competitive Asian players in the world to look out for, as the economic recession is being experienced worldwide. Did you know that Malaysia has the pool of talents, proven world-class content, successes with major international co-production partners, attractive government support & incentives, state-of-the-art infostructure & infrastructure, etc? It’s a pity that not many have come to discover about one of the world’s best kept secret.

GCMA’s long term goals would be to help the Malaysian contents & application industry to enhance “Creative Malaysia” as quality & reliable partner in content development & distribution, and improve its overall marketing awareness worldwide. To do this, GCMA in partnership with the government will be mapping out and strategizing an effective global marketing and promotional campaign for the growth and awareness of Malaysian digital contents and services through effective branding, PR & media, global market access programs, strategic partnership programs, speaking opportunities in conferences, as well as encouraging the submissions of Malaysian programs to international competitions, super pitches and film festivals.

Could you tell us about the core team of GCMA?
The backbone of GCMA comprises of 3 main directors in the company - Adam Chong, Managing Director, Desmond Lee – Creative Director and myself as the Executive Director of GCM.

Adam Chong, a twenty-year veteran in event management, is one of the highly-regarded professionals in the business of exhibition design & services, event promotions & management, interior design, advertising and digital contents. His vast experience and global network in a diverse number of industries has elevated his business into a well-respected multi-national corporation. He current is the group managing director of Wingspan Group and sits on the board of Wingspan Integrated (M) Sdn Bhd, Wingspan International (M) Sdn Bhd, Eco Archive (M) Sdn Bhd, AppXplore Sdn Bhd, and Global Creative And Media Agency Sdn Bhd.

I was previously the Entertainment & Media Specialist at the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), the Government agency that oversees the development of Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC Malaysia) project.

After staying in United States for 10 years, Desmond, the creative director returned to Malaysia in 2004 and worked as a freelancer specialized in multimedia. In August 2004, he was appointed by Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) as a consultant to supervise Saladin Special Project – a national pride animation which has turned into a co-production between MDeC and Al Jazeera Children's Channel (JCC) to produce a 2 season 26 episodes animated series. During his years with the project, Desmond has mastered his project management skill and built his reputation in the industry. Currently Desmond holds a position as a Producer of “Saladin the Animated TV Series” and the Creative Director of AppXplore.

In what ways would you be working with the government? Which governments?
As the Malaysian Government has announced plans to implement a singular digital content industry strategy in the objective of accelerating the entertainment & media industry under Malaysia’s Economic Transformation Program (ETP), privately-operated GCMA is working closely to align all marketing campaigns and strategies to facilitate and nurture Malaysia’s creative content and application industry, namely content creation, services, and distribution & broadcasting sectors, which will eventually transform Malaysia into a regional hub for digital content.  Together with the Malaysian Government, namely the National Film Development Corporation (FINAS), Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), Malaysian Communications & Multimedia Commission (MCMC), Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), Malaysian Industry Development Authority (MIDA) and Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board and the dedicated industry players, GCMA will be committed and poised to the challenge to lead “Creative Malaysia” to the prominent markets in the world to showcase Malaysia’s capacity and capability to create original, locally produced content and develop competency in content-related services to the regional market.

How would GCMA be different Government Agencies like MDeC, FINAS and MCMC?
GCMA is privately owned and self-funded, as a limited company. Under its group, GCMA is a legal entity registered under the Malaysian Ministry of Finance to handle Government projects and practice safety and quality management assurance, awarded with ISO 9001.  Unlike each of the government agencies, we understand and promote all sectors bias free, including animation, TV/films, games, new media, eLearning, visual effects, documentaries, dramas, post-production services, etc. Since we are not Government, we are also not governed or restricted by any policies for marketing and promotions worldwide, instead with more flexibility to do more the industry.

GCMA is established and positioned as a friendly partner of the government and industry players specialized to spearhead its marketing campaigns for the contents and application industry. Although GCMA’s responsibilities do not touch on policies and co-production grants/funds, however we would be able to promote and create awareness of its functions and incentives worldwide.

What is the GCMA action plan for 2011?
Since its beginning in February 2011, GCMA, in partnership with the Malaysian Government have managed and facilitated HK Filmart 2011 and MIPTV 2011. GCMA has successful attracted and brought more than 200 Malaysian delegates to the trade shows under the banner of “Malaysia Pavilion”.

GCMA’s next assignment would be to manage and facilitate the Mission to Marche du Film, in partnership with FINAS. Lead by Mahyidin Mustakim, Director General of FINAS, this will be the first time for Malaysia to have a booth presence in this prestigious event during 11 – 20 May during the Cannes Film Festival. The Malaysian Booth is located in Stand G15c at the Riviera Hall, represented by 8 companies, including Astro Shaw, KRU Pictures, Media Prima, LineClear Motion Pictures, Flare Studios, just to name a few. We will be showcasing 18 new and upcoming features films during the market.
 For the rest of the year, GCMA will be busy involved in CommunicAsia (Singapore), GoMobile (Kuala Lumpur), Licening International Expo (Las Vegas), SPP/SICAF (Seoul), BCWW (Seoul), MIPCOM (Cannes), TIFFCOM (Tokyo), Dubai International Character & Licensing Fair (Dubai), American Film Market (AFM), Kre8tif (Putrajaya) and ATF (Singapore). Trade Mission Package will be announced momentarily.

Would GCMA do events, seminars and workshops?
Yes, we have plans in the area of Licensing and Games for events, seminars and workshops, which is still a new focus area for South East Asia. The plans are being planned now for 2011/2012 in the hopes of educating the regional players about the power and value of Licensing and Games.

This year was the 1st year for GCMA at MIPTV. What did you achieve at MIPTV 2011?
GCMA’s facilitation of MIPTV was successful. We have achieved high regards and recognitions not only by the global industry players and local/international Government, but also the press / media. We also successfully ventured into a partnership with Reed Midem to deliver and showcase 6 Malaysian animations at the MIPTV Asian Animation Screening.
During the 4 day event, we attracted and generated more than 400 meetings for the delegates, secured 15 deals worth more than RM 25 million (co-production, distribution, and licensing deals).

MIPTV 2011 saw the attendance of a 40 company delegation and over 80 new properties. This year, Malaysia’s National Film Development Corporation (FINAS), Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (SKMM), Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), and newly-established Global Creative and Media Agency (GCMA) collaborated to bring 40 Malaysian companies and over 80 new properties to the market, which took place in Palais des Festival, Cannes, France.

The Malaysian delegation, comprised of more than 100 participants, includes broadcasters such as TV Alhijrah, Astro Entertainment, LiTV Asia, Media Prima, MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems, MEASAT Satellite Systems, Radio Television Malaysia (RTM), Safuan Broadcasting Corporation, and TV/film production companies like Animasia Studio, Avittle, Cartoon4Kids, Centre for Creation, Edumonde, Endemol Malaysia, Eurofine, Iskandar Malaysia Studios, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Clarify Consulting, Ed-Online Technologies, Inspidea, Insular Challenge, Kolej Yayasan Sabah (KKYS), Les’ Copaque Productions, Otti Pictures, Paksi Nova, Peppermint Productions, Pod Worldwide, Primeworks Studios, Redang Digital, Root Works, Silver Ant, Solimac, Total Sports Asia,  Worldwide Rights Corporation and Vision Animation. The Malaysian buyers and distributors consists of Ambang Entertainment, Asia Teleprogramming, Electronic Media Airtime Services, Juita Viden and Vision Plus Entertainment.

A wide variety of exciting new products from films, animations, dramas, documentaries, digital entertainment, edutainment, post production, visual effects, games and mobile contents were on show at the 92 square meters Malaysia Pavilion during the four-day event from April 4 to 7, located along one of the busiest aisle of the exhibition hall.