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MDeC teams up with Google to groom Malaysian YouTubers

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YouTubing has to be one of the most hyped professions to have hit the modern age, with so many people trying to get a slice of the video-sharing website’s one billion and up monthly audience. Even children have switched ambitions from wanting to be chefs or doctors to becoming famous ‘YouTubers’. Yes, apparently it’s a noun now.

Well, if your ambition was to be Malaysia’s very own PewDiePie or follow in the footsteps of the boys at Wong Fu Productions, there’s good news. The Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) has roped in international search engine and verb, Google, to empower local content creators on the web.

Made for YouTube is a programme that has been running for the past year designed to nurture and highlight Malaysian YouTube content creators. Over 20 participants handpicked from from a pool of MSC Malaysia status companies and local YouTubers by Google and MDeC, with the main criteria being that they have to possess their own original Intellectual Property (IP).

The participants were then groomed and provided with coaching sessions, funding development, growth and strategic advice, dedicated manpower via direct contact with the YouTube Account Manager, and production facilities such as the Malaysia Animation Creative Content Centre (MAC3).

If managed and executed properly, this could be an enormous opportunity for local content creators to tap into YouTube’s considerable user base and share their content with a global audience. The video-sharing website’s growth can’t be denied in Malaysia as it sees an annual Malaysian watch-time growth of 60%, the bulk of which come from user’s mobile devices.

With a market growth of this size, many locals have of course jumped on the YouTubing bandwagon where the number of videos uploaded to YouTube by Malaysians are increasing by 40% each year. Unfortunately, despite the creative content industry’s estimated value to be worth RM7 billion, only 15% of content is local.

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“Over a billion people visit YouTube every month, globally, for news, information and of course entertainment,” said Google Malaysia, Vietnam Philippines and New Emerging Markets managing director Sajith Sivanandan.

“That is a huge audience waiting to be tapped into and we hope that Malaysian content creators will be in the thick of it.

“Consumer friendly platforms like YouTube as well as an entire open web are places where Malaysians can and should fully explore their creative expression and perhaps – and this is very critical to us – even turn their passions into businesses,” he added.

Addressing concerns that there are very few successful content creators in Malaysia despite this programme’s efforts, Sivanandan said that this was simply not the case. He reasons that YouTube is incredibly targeted and so conventional means of popularity should not be used to determine success. He adds that just because something is not relevant to one individual, it does not mean it is not relevant to everyone else.

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Although this programme empowers content creators through providing them with the necessary tools they need, it is the knowledge aspect of this programme that insurmountably valuable. The programme teaches these aspiring content creators how to best use the tools and resources they have such as Google Analytics as well as the new Malaysia Content Pitching Centre.

Through this programme, local YouTubers such as The Grim Film and DiDi & Friends: Children Songs have achieved much success with their most viewed videos reaching over 2 million views and 5.8 million views respectively.

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“Our collaboration with Google aims to increase the reach, capability and competency of Malaysia’s creative industry by helping home-grown content creators produce, monetise and commercialise world-class content on the YouTube platform,” said MDeC CEO Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood.

“This partnership is very much aligned with our aim of positioning Malaysia as a regional hub for creative content,” she added.

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The Grim Film’s Jared Lee, who was present at a Made for YouTube gathering organised by Google and MDeC in the Google Malaysia headquarters this afternoon, highlights another important benefit of success in YouTubing, and that is digital agency.

“I think these days brands start to treat YouTubers as a creative agency as well. So they will call us and say, ‘so, you have views, what do you think you can do for our brand?’,” he said, adding that the YouTubers would then come up with content for the brand.

“One of the scariest things that they say to us though is ‘make me a viral video’,” he laughs.

In any case, on the surface, this initiative looks like a good move to groom local YouTube talents and as a whole, improve the quality of Malaysia’s creative content. Although the first phase of this programme was only open to content creators that were hand picked by Google and MDeC, there is no telling what possibilities could come up in the future if this programme gets more traction.