Interview: Seelan Paul, CEO, Ripple Media, Malaysia

Thursday 11 April, 2019

 

Seelan Paul is the CEO of Ripple Media - a part of Malaysia’s largest integrated media group, Media Prima. The company was created last year in October to bring Media Prima’s entire radio broadcast segment into an audience-focused company which combines digital media, broadcasting and commerce.

 

Could you share with us a bit of your background in the media industry?
I started my career with Astro Radio in 1998 as a Radio Announcer. Kudsia Kahar, the Network Manager of Astro Radio at that time had a vision of hiring non-Malays to showcase the Malaysian diversity then, so I was very lucky to be at the right place and time, together with right people carrying the right vision. I soon realised I needed management and production skills to remain in the industry and I took on the challenge to be the Producer for Era's breakfast show, later the Programme Manager for Era. Astro Radio built and strengthened my fundamentals of content and media, but Media Prima was the place where I mastered the business and the industry, leading to my appointment as the CEO of Media Prima Radio Network in 2011.

Media Prima Radio Network rebranded to Ripple last October. Could you tell us about Ripple and the vision behind the transformation?
Technology has changed the consumption of media and content and we had to relook at our business and the options to stay relevant. We began building our digital assets and the foundation for e-commerce since 2015, but the major transformation only took place last year.

Ripple is an audience-focused platform integrating broadcast, digital brands and e-commerce. It aims to engage based on four key elements: contenttalentexperiencesand platform. We reach out to our target audience through relevant content and experience, delivered by our talents across multiple platforms, which include four radio stations Hot FM, Kool FM, Fly FM and One FM, seven digital brands ChaptersDhiaDonnaLikelyLunariaThelaki and Wakeke and our e-commerce platform SuperDeals.

Ripple integrates broadcast, digital brands and e-commerce altogether. How does the ecosystem works in terms of connecting various components of Ripple to each other?
One of Ripple's key strategies is indeed its ecosystem. Our broadcast brands communicate with the mass audiences, but our digital brands customize, personalize and focus our engagements further on selected groups. The content could travel across platforms and could drive communities to our e-commerce brand. Some brands could even come up with customised pitches for the offerings on SuperDeals, tailored to the target audience. The seven digital brands also contribute to building communities who consume and relate to the personalised content, making them a part of the brands as well.

Is there any misconception about Ripple that you would love to clarify for our alert readers?
We have been in the market for almost 13 years. It has been cemented in the audience's mind that we are simply a radio broadcast company. We have been trying to change this perception as we are no longer just a broadcast company. Efforts such as the launch in October 2018 hopefully allowed the key agencies and clients to understand our mission and vision following the rebrand. We follow that up with constant communication through trade marketing and also personal engagement with the aforementioned parties to further build Ripple as a brand.

With more than 20 years of experiences in the media industry, what keeps you going and stay inspired in the industry?
At this moment, the Ripple team mainly keeps me going. I need to know and learn from them as much as I can because I don't think anyone knows everything. The team helps me to keep up with the latest updates and trends, they remain a huge inspiration to me. I don't think that people should learn something from you just because you are in the industry for a long time. Instead we should be open-minded and be on a continuous learning curve. Here at Ripple, we use permanent-beta as a value, meaning to continuously improving ourselves individually and collectively as company. Perfection does not really exist anymore because things are constantly changing. This has become one of the key values of the company and we always strive to be better.

In 2019, what are your hopes and aspiration for Ripple this year?
Definitely to make sure that the transformation delivers value for the company, our stakeholders and our consumers simultaneously. By delivering great products to our consumers, hopefully it results in better revenue as well. It is going to be an interesting journey for us in 2019 as we build these seven new brands and further consolidating our e-commerce brands. At the same time, we are going to upskill the team and being anchored to the mindset of audience-first, rather than platform-first.

 

Interview courtesy Telum Media. Telum Media is a Singapore, Hong Kong & Sydney registered company founded in 2013 by former PR & journalism professionals who saw the need for a comprehensive media database in Asia. www.telummedia.com

Country Malaysia
Location: 
Malaysia
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