Malaysia start to implement Movement Control Order, MCO since 18 March until recently change to CMCO, Conditional Movement Control Order which is to restrict Malaysian from travelling and move around in order to stop the Covid-19 transmission chains. During this MCO period, most of the business being affected and Malaysian need to adapted to the new lifestyle too.
AL Media take this opportunity to talk with Malaysia Entrepreneur, try to understand their way of overcome this tough period and their strategy for future. We are glad to have Kumaraguru Olaganathan from Rentak Sejuta to share with us their business and their strategy/solution in MCO. Rentak Sejuta has covered thousand of events and interviewed & featured thousands of local and international artistes. They play a very important role in Malaysia Entertainment industry.
Who is The Dragon?
Kumaraguru Olaganathan a.k.a. Dragon is a former It Consultant focusing on Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) systems and a Web pioneer in Malaysia before switching to entertainment journalism. Currently the founder and managing editor of Rentak Sejuta: Southeast Asia’s #1 Music, Performing Arts & Pop Culture News Portal. He is also an independent publicist focusing on public relations and media. 47 years in IT, 14 years in journalism and 5 years in PR.
Tell us more about Rentak Sejuta
Rentak Sejuta, established in 2006 is the largest and oldest digital English language entertainment news portal in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, with a total readership of 1.43 million and active average monthly readership of 418,000. Rentak Sejuta’s news coverage includes music, performing arts, popular culture, film, TV, celebrities, entertainment, lifestyle, fashion, pageants, F&B, travel, beauty, wellness, fitness, Awards and anything of interest to an active lifestyle audience. Rentak Sejuta is currently officially operating in 7 countries – Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, The Philippines, Timor Leste, Brunei & Australia. Rentak Sejuta is the winner of the Best Online Media Brand at the Top 500 International Brand Awards 2019 and Voice International MusIc Awards 2014 Hall of Fame Inductees. The well established news portal is official media partners to 250 festivals, concerts and major events including 60 pageants this year. Last year we officially supported 225 events including 55 pageants. Among the top events Rentak Sejuta officially supported over the years include The Asian Television Awards, Penang Island Jazz Festival, World Youth Jazz Festival, SME & Entrepreneur Business Awards, Miss Universe Malaysia, Miss Tourism World, Miss Cosmopolitan World, Miss CosmoWorld, International IPOH Fashion Week, Malaysia Fashion Week, Selangor Fashion Week, Murfest among many others. Rentak Sejuta is also the largest FB Live streaming news portal in Malaysia streaming between 2 to 5 different events per day (pre Covid).
How Rentak Sejuta established?
Rentak Sejuta was originally a hobby project and began as a third party fan forum for 8TVs One In A Million (OIAM) reality television show. It was encouraged and supported by the makers of the show. Within a few months it evolved into a full fledged digital news portal after receiving invitations from other parties to cover their entertainment content as well, as they liked the way Rentak Sejuta presented our news on OIAM. Rentak Sejuta also ran the fan forums for 8TVs So You Think You Can Dance, Showdown, and also Bingit.
Rentak Sejuta was just hobby project as I was passionate about music and performing arts. Although I loved and excelled at my IT consultancy career as an IBM business partner, and was earning tons of money, I felt I was a little trapped back then. I also ventured into the Web business in the early years of the fledging internet industry when I started an affordable and successful Web platform called firstWEB, as an easy way for smaller companies to promote their businesses online. But my first love for music and performing arts soon led me to turning my hobby project into a proper business venture. I used the recurring income from my established web business to sustain Rentak Sejuta while I built my fledging project into a credible and sustainable digital news agency which could be self sufficient. Bear in mind, Rentak Sejuta was a pioneer in the online news medium, and no one had ever done this before, so we had to set all the benchmarks ourselves, especially how to earn. We were the first to present entertainment news digitally in Malaysia. No one else did it until much later, many learning or adapting from us, including people with loads of funding. Rentak Sejuta was and still is self funded, generating our income through direct digital advertising.
Did you attend any professional training to develop this business?
I am an IT graduate, and most of the professional trainings I received was for business, marketing, communications and consultancy from IBM. They are the best trainers in the world and all that knowledge I gained from their programs is still being used today. I did not receive any specific training for journalism but I always had good writing skills. Plus I learned a lot from observation, when I worked closely with 8TV on their reality shows. They were also pioneers who were reinventing the wheel for broadcasting in Malaysia. Everything else we did was by invention and by creating our own best practices to suit a new format. Which was a blessing as we were not trapped by an old school machinery that was hampering the big boys in the media from adapting quickly enough. New media was a different kettle of fish. Not only were we setting the standards we were already refining it.
Running it for 14 years. We have grown from a pioneering platform into an established regional news platform focused on entertainment and lifestyle based content. The portal got a major push and more clearer vision when my wife Anastasia Doping who comes from the banking and retail lines, joined me full time as its publisher and Co-owner. Before I could convince anyone I had to convince her. “Show me the money.” she said as a typical banker would, so I did 4 years after I started Rentak Sejuta, and the rest is history. Now she is the backbone of our portal, making sure everything is running as it should, and to ensure this journey will bear results. Her strict discipline keeps us on our toes and not let us go astray.
Future plan for Rentak Sejuta and yourself?
Our plan has always been a simple one. Establish a sustainable and adaptable business that is passion driven and not money driven. Everything will fall in place. When our foundation is solid and we can weather any storm, it will build confidence with our advertisers and other clients. As long as our readers stay or grow, so will our clients. Our eventual exit strategy is to sell the platform outright to a reputable corporate organisation that wants to invest in a established media platform and take it even further. We see that happening maybe in another 4 to 6 years. But we are always open for bids.
Any words of advice for the business kick-starter?
Do only what you love and love what you do. Do it with a passion. Build a business which you can earn right from day one. Spend only what you earn but spend it on your business first. Have a concrete plan on what you want to achieve but be flexible enough to adapt to changes quickly. And never take your foot off the gas. Treat it like it is Le Man’s, not a 100 metre sprint.
During Covid-19 MCO, any effect to your business? any solution for it?
We are severely affected by Covid 19 as we are unable to cover our core content. Most of our core content especially concepts, festivals, pageants and fashion weeks has already been cancelled or postponed. But luckily we have a lot of alternative content in store to put out during this clampdown. Being a digital medium we can crank out content easily. Surprisingly our readership is still maintaining, at times increasing too. People are looking for more entertainment content to consume when they are stuck at home. Which means advertisers should focus their advertising on digital platforms to keep their brands visible or redirect it to ecommerce sales, during this period. Many established platforms such as Rentak Sejuta are offering better deals for advertisers in light of the current situation, especially since we have lower operating cost than many.
Words to Malaysian or to the world.
Take care and stay safe. We are praying with you and we shall overcome together. God bless.
Rentak Sejuta: South East Asia ‘s #1 Music, Performing Arts & Pop Culture News Site – Rentak Sejuta has covered thousand of events and interviewed & featured thousands of local and international artistes since we started.
+ 6 016 2939930 // + 6 010 5495105- [email protected]
+ 6 016 6528655 (Anastasia Doping – Publisher) – [email protected]
Malaysia * Singapore * Indonesia * Brunei * Timor Leste * The Philippines * Australia