It was on 8TV’s urban slot that we witnessed our very own Malaysian Idol crowned, laughed with the quirky, irreverent hosts of The 8TV Quickie and had us at the edge of our seats with all the kitchen drama that was going on in Kan-Cheong Kitchen.
But the urban slot is now starting a new chapter, going off air … and going fully online.
The announcement was made at the Media Prima Television Networks (MPTN) screenings where plans for its TV channels TV3, NTV7, 8TV and TV9 and other ventures were unveiled for the year.
MPTN chief executive officer Datuk Kamal Khalid shared the media company started working on the idea about 18 months ago.
“The urban side of 8TV when it first started was fantastic for us. The urban audience was served by two things: One, we brought in fantastic shows from Hollywood and secondly, we also made homegrown content,” he said.
However, with the change in TV consumption pattern among the urban audience in recent times, Kamal explains the move was an effort to serve them better.
“We have a group of audience from the younger generation who don’t watch TV traditionally but watch through platforms like YouTube. Media Prima’s strategy is to go where the audience is.”
8TV’s urban content is now available on YouTube. Spearheaded by Studio8, content is now delivered via its three YouTube channels Quickie, LaunchPad and Hatch.
“We can’t serve the urban audience the way we’ve being doing it,” he says. “The best way to do it is to work with collaborators, content creators and YouTube stars and come up with content that the younger generation is watching.”
Some of the topics explored on these channels include fashion, make-up, food, music and arts. A documentary on Malique (one half of local hip-hop duo Too Phat) is also in the works.
MPTN’s English content will not be neglected, Kamal assures, even though 8TV’s urban slot, which carried a significant portion of programmes in English, goes off air.
“We have English programming belts on the other three stations (TV3, NTV7 and TV9), both series and movies, It’s in English but not specifically targeted at the urban audience.
“We still have deals with major studios. We’ll still air popular English series. If it rates well and it’s something our audiences like, we have no hesitation on acquiring it and putting it on air.”
Besides Studio8, MPTN is also strengthening its existing digital platform, video streaming portal Tonton. Not only has it been given a new look, Tonton now offers a subscription-based video on demand service.
From just RM3 a month, Tonton VIP enables viewers to access its library of classics such as Pi Mai Pi Mai Tang Tu and Kopitiam, watch live events in HD and binge-watch dramas before it airs on TV.
On the TV front, among the interesting projects planned for TV3 and TV9 are its collaborations with foreign productions.
Dia will star Indonesia’s Irwansyah and Icha Anisa alongside Malaysia’s Zahirah MacWilson while Sara Sajeeda sees Pakistan’s Hanan Sameed and Kinza Hashmi acting opposite our very own Nur Fathia.
As for NTV7 and 8TV, the channels will expand on its Chinese programming from 88 primetime hours to 115 a week.
MPTN is also investing on local productions such as Revolving Heart, recruiting Hong Kong’s Raymond Wong to play its leading man.