BY DR MUS CHAIRIL SAMANI
TVS, the eighth free television channel in the country which will transmit its debut broadcast this Saturday, is expected to bring something different to its viewers.
In fact, the date (Oct 10) was deliberately chosen by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg in conjunction with the 84th birthday celebration of Head of State Pehin Sri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud.
As can be seen on Astro via channel 122, TVS will stand alongside other prominent free television stations such as TV1, TV2, TV3, NTV7, 8TV, TV9 as well as TV Alhijrah. Only TV1 and TV2 are government TV stations while the rest are private TV stations.
According to the advertising expenditure (Adex) 2018 data, TV3 led with 33 percent of total paid ad collection, followed by TV2 (25 percent), TV9 and TV1 (19 percent), NTVB8 and 8TV (14 percent) and Alhijrah TV (6 percent). The question is: Can TVS overtake TV3?
To beat TV3, TVS, the only television station owned and operated by a state, must offer a variation that does not exist in any of the other television stations. Indeed, it is a very heavy task entrusted to the TVS CEO, whose name has not yet been announced.
According to statistics, the advertisements on free television stations had decreased from RM3.1 billion in 2013 to RM2.8 billion in 2018. This declining amount will be shared by eight television stations starting this Saturday.
Most advertisers today are beginning to switch to digital media, especially social media applications that also offer infotainment services.
The chief minister has entrusted TVS as an agent to promote Sarawak abroad. Therefore, the uniqueness of the state’s culture, social, political and economic systems should be highlighted so that foreign viewers can get to know the state more deeply.
Insya Allah (God willing) after Covid-19 subsides, Sarawak will be revisited by domestic and foreign tourists. Similarly, more investors are expected to spread their wings to the state.
Through the magazine unit, TVS is seen to publish documentaries on the customs and culture of the multi-racial population in Sarawak.
Perhaps, it is time for the state government to create a special agency that will provide special funds to encourage the production of documentaries from among its own natives.
Such a project (special fund) has been successfully implemented by the Malaysian National Film Development Corporation (Finas) in funding the production of the animated film “Upin Ipin Jeng, Jeng, Jeng!” amounting to RM4 million. However, the scripts and capabilities of the production crew should be strictly reviewed before approving the fund.
Furthermore, the fund should also not be limited to documentary publications. It should be extended to other categories such as animation (with local characters). In this regard, the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) is expected to provide trained expertise as implemented by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), which has set new benchmarks for animation in technology.
Apart from that, TVS can also use the expertise of local young people; public and private universities can send their students for industrial training with TVS. In line with that, there is a need for TVS and universities to collaborate in the 2u2i programme (two years in university and two years in industry) in an effort to produce graduates who can meet the needs of the industry.
TVS can also take this opportunity to revive the live broadcasts of Bintang P. Ramlee and Bahas Piala Ketua Menteri (debate) competitions on television, website or social media platforms, which have been cancelled by the Pakatan Harapan government when they were administering the country.
Both these competitions were able to unearth the new talents among Sarawakians. In addition, with the availability of mobile streaming, which is able to track the number of viewers in real time, viewers can watch any TVS programmes via their smartphones anywhere.
All of the above will be able to help add to the genre of local contents that can be published by TVS.