Despite little knowledge in content production, Les’ Copaque Production founder Burhanuddin Md Radzi succeeded in crafting a profitable business.
Good content and story is key to winning audiences, said Burhanuddin. — Pic courtesy of SME BizFest Facebook Page
For Burhanuddin Md Radzi, the Internet era has been a boon.
He needs no introduction. He is the founder of Les’ Copaque Production, a content production house specializing in animation.
Its key offering, children’s series Upin & Ipin, is a favourite among local children and neighbouring Indonesia.
“Marketing is important and it is made easy with the Internet. But the product must be attractive and unique,” said Burhanuddin during his presentation at the TM SME BizFest 2017 in Kuching recently.
Upin & Ipin is very popular among children in Malaysia and Indonesia. — Pic courtesy of Upin & Ipin Facebook Page
“Online platforms have changed the entertainment landscape,” added Burhanuddin. “Television is no longer the sole platform. It is a challenge but also a good opportunity if you know where to look. Revenue can be from online sites such as YouTube. You can even start your own TV channel.”
Burhanuddin has no experience in content production when he made the decision to join the industry.
A petroleum engineering graduate, Burhanuddin worked for 10 years in Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd. He spent 10 more years managing an offshore maintenance company and made his nest egg by selling off his shares prior to a Bursa listing in 2004.
The huge amount of money and time prompted Burhanuddin’s wife to suggest that they “do something together”. A Bollywood film fan, she gravitated towards filmmaking.
Animation became the choice content after Burhanuddin met some animation majors. And Les’ Copaque Production was incorporated a year later (in 2005).
Through research, Burhanuddin found that local animation studios in the ‘80s and ‘90s are no longer operational due to their dependence on the few animation experts they employ.
As there’s no significant animation product from the East with the exception of anime, Burhanuddin decided that the Asian market is a worthy shot.
So Burhanuddin got his animation staff to research the animation process to come up with a training module for the company’s new recruits.
Burhanuddin also felt that mothers and young children watch more television in Asian homes. “Most stories based on simple values such as friendship and honesty can win mothers, and if mothers like them then so will their children.”
A scene showing Upin and Ipin selling food during Ramadan. — Pic courtesy of Upin & Ipin Facebook Page
Upin & Ipin, a series about two young boys’ fasting experience, aired on TV9 during the month of Ramadan in 2007 to test the market.
It became such a hit that TV9 renewed the company’s contract for the second season.
“There are challenges, such as rapid technological advancement and cost. But content is still king, and we have to stick to the commitment of delivering good content,” said Burhanuddin.
Today, Les’ Copaque Production employs 180 personnel comprising 97% Malaysians, and the Upin & Ipin series has been translated into 10 languages.
The show is also beamed regionally through Disney Channel Asia and iFlix, fulfilling Burhanuddin’s vision of making quality content with mass appeal.
The company has found success, including in merchandising and F&B business. — Pic courtesy of Restoran Upin & Ipin
A third feature-length animation is slated for release this year. The first one was Geng: Pengembaraan Bermula (2011), followed by Upin & Ipin Jeng Jeng Jeng! (2016).
Les’ Copaque Production has also diversified its business to include merchandising and food & beverage outlets.
And recently, the company’s YouTube channel received the ‘Gold Play Button’, given to channels with more than a million subscribers.
In short, Burhanuddin struck gold, but only after spending RM4 million of his own money.
“It’s a high-risk investment. But if done properly, it can succeed. The key to success is having a hit programme and capitalizing on its popularity,” remarked Burhanuddin.
Find out more about Upin & Ipin on their Facebook Page.
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