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M'sian businessman eyes top spot for Bloomberg TV collaboration

Publication Date : 06-01-2014


Fifteen years after Malaysian businessman Effendi Norwawi and his lieutenant Michael Chan started the country’s first commercial English TV station, the pair are at it again – this time on a regional scale.

And the former chairman of Encorp Bhd has some ambitious targets for his new venture with the US media giant Bloomberg LP, a leading provider of financial and stock market data.

Effendi is eyeing no less than the No. 1 spot for English business news channel in the country for the Malaysian edition of Bloomberg TV within a few months of its going live in late-February.

He had founded ntv7, Malaysia’s second private free-to-air TV station, in 1998. That experience has proven invaluable.

Bloomberg TV Malaysia will make its debut next month with two hours of local content that covers the Malaysian business scene, produced in a state-of-the-art studio in Encorp Strand Mall, the Encorp group’s flagship property in Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya.

“Taking a leaf from Bloomberg TV’s award-wining content, we will localise it as well as create new programmes aimed at Malaysian viewers,” Effendi told StarBiz.

Bloomberg TV Malaysia, which will be integrated into the existing Bloomberg broadcast on Astro Channel 519, will later add to its roster of content features on health, sports, lifestyle, travel, motoring and personal finance, giving it an all-round appeal both within and outside office hours.

Effendi, who is also the chairman for the channel, said the Bloomberg TV Malaysia website would be launched together with the channel, streaming the content online and on mobile device.

“Leveraging on the Bloomberg TV network, our content would potentially be seen in 340 million homes worldwide,” he added.

This is not the first such joint venture Bloomberg has pursued in Asia, with local editions of Bloomberg TV having been launched in Indonesia and Mongolia over the past year.

Chan, the CEO of Bloomberg TV Malaysia, said the team is ramping up its broadcasting studio in Encorp Strand Mall, which is set to open this month.

He plans to hire a staff of 30 including four anchors and reporters, and have them trained the “Bloomberg Way”.

Meanwhile, Effendi revealed that Richard Lewis, a veteran newsman previously based in cable news channel Al-Jazeera English, had been roped in as executive producer along with four top producers from Bloomberg.

While declining to reveal any numbers, Effendi said he financed the TV station himself. “Even Tiara Jacquelina (Effendi’s wife) will work for free,” he joked.

In many ways, Effendi’s return to media was a natural progression following his resignation from property and construction firm Encorp last July. He and his daughter Efeida sold their 30.55% controlling stake in Encorp at an equitable price, triggering a rally in the stock.

“As a businessman, we always look for new challenges and gaps in the market, and then for ways to fill those gaps with excellent products,” Effendi said.

Denying talk that his exit from Encorp paved the way for his comeback as a politician, Effendi explained that the decision was made after he had achieved his personal goals for Encorp, including completing projects with a gross development value of 3.5 billion ringgit (US$1.06 billion).

“Bloomberg is a credible and reputable brand, with a long history of being the best in business. When the opportunity arose for me to go back into the media industry, it was a perfect fit,” he said.

Bloomberg TV Malaysia is a partnership between Encorp Group Sdn Bhd, Effendi’s private vehicle, and Bloomberg. Encorp Group is not affiliated with the Bursa-listed Encorp.


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