Disruptive innovation: The journey of a successful incubator
Disruptive innovation is a buzzword that many organisations strive to achieve in this day and age, but what does it actually mean and why do organisations place copious amounts of emphasis on it? The term, coined by Clayton Christensen, describes a process of developing new products or services to replace existing technologies and gain a competitive advantage in the market.
Disruptive innovations are often produced by start-ups rather than existing market-leading companies because digital innovations are oftentimes a huge risk and are mostly not profitable in the initial stages. The amount of risk involved may not sit well with these revenue-generating companies due to the organisation’s profitable nature, and as such, is not an undertaking that is common for them.
However, Media Prima realises that digital technology continues to evolve rapidly and capturing users’ attention on traditional media is not as easy as it used to be. Users are now looking for content on digital platforms, so it has to pivot from its traditional business model to one that is disruptive to continue its legacy as the market leader in the media industry in Malaysia.
This has led to the birth of Media Prima Labs, an incubator within Media Prima Digital that supports the development of content in the digital sphere. With the abundance of intellectual properties (IPs) owned by Media Prima, it only made sense for it to look into other avenues to reach out to its users, who are now more digitally savvy.
Making hay while the sun shines
With the introduction of cheaper mobile devices in the market and a reduction in mobile internet prices in Malaysia, mobile penetration is growing promptly and users are relying mostly on their smartphones these days. According to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, mobile cellular penetration in Malaysia has reached an astounding 131.8% while smartphone penetration was at 70% in 2017.
These impressive statistics made it even more confident to invest significantly in the mobile sphere, and Media Prima Labs was tasked to further extend the group’s unique intellectual properties into the expanse of technology innovation and gaming, an area that other media companies had not ventured into at that point of time.
Media Prima Labs started by experimenting with one of the group’s oldest running IPs – Jalan-Jalan Cari Makan (JJCM). Malaysians are generally motivated by food and the question of where to eat, hence, converting the content of JJCM into a walking food directory where users could look for halal mouth-watering food nearby made a lot of sense. There were other food directory apps in the market; however, Media Prima Labs was looking to fill the gap for individuals looking for halal cuisine.
JJCM has established a strong brand name in Malaysian households and has become an integral reference point for foodies. Not surprisingly, the Jalan-Jalan Cari Makan mobile app was a hit with its viewers and recorded 65,000 downloads in merely three months and also ranked first under the “food and drink” category in the Apple app store.
Since there is a large population of Muslims in Malaysia, Media Prima Labs wanted to continue to tap into this market, and as such, incubated two religious apps – Waktu Solat and Raudhah. The high engagement rate on both these apps was proof of success. Waktu Solat recorded average monthly active users (MAUs) of 1.5 million and Raudhah achieved an average MAUs of 62,000. The monthly average time spent for Waktu Solat and Raudhah was 165s and 371s respectively.
To further benefit users, it also partnered with Tripfez, a Muslim-friendly travel company to offer special Umrah packages in the Raudhah app.
With the success of these lifestyle mobile apps, Media Prima Labs hoped this would have a snowball effect on mobile games as well, and as such, partnered with the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to kick-start this vertical by organising its very first hackathon.
MDEC’s expertise in this area allowed Media Prima Labs to reach out to the best talent in the mobile game development industry and these developers were put together for 36 hours to conceptualise a mobile game for a new animation IP from TV3 – Ejen Ali. On top of the prize money, winners of the hackathon were given an additional sum of investment to further develop the game within a given time frame.