TL;DR – Geek pop culture has significant value to fandom and demand from businesses.
To paraphrase one of the panellists of “The Growing Influence of Geek Pop Culture and How to Profit from It” session on November 14th, geek culture can be simply defined as “It’s a very niche market for people who are crazy enough to spend that much for (sic) their passion”!
The event kicked off with a session moderated by BFM 89.90’s Umagapan Ampikaipakan moderating a session on “What Geek Wants” which address the growing desires of the subculture followers of media previously followed only by ‘geeks’ that comes with the rise of their influence in mainstream media today.
While Malaysian geekdom has not seen the overwhelming mania that only escalates each year with numerous Comic-Cons in United States, demand has gone through the roof!
Hew Shih Chien of Comic Fiesta shared with the floor on how Comic Fiesta has reached a point where all Malaysian convention centres can no longer accommodate the annual increase in visitors and fans. It’s a new era of geek culture appreciation and Malaysia is no exception to it, but to what extent has the supply of geek culture accommodated the growing demand?
Leveraging on the geek culture as an entrepreneur would mean giving the demographics what they want. Sanjiv Indran of the biggest and most active local geek community (Star Wars Malaysia Fan Club) listed some of these wants; to see more celebrities affiliated with their favourite series/movies, and increased accessibility and affordability of collectibles and merchandises.
While the costs of bringing in celebrities and stars of a globally famous series such as Star Wars are exorbitant, local entrepreneurs can still profit from the geek culture through merchandising. Merchandising is the biggest moneymaker for any film, according to Kelvin Loke of Shiok Toys, which sells action figures and figurines. Making these merchandises more accessible and affordable to their Malaysian fans would be one of the many ways of banking on the growing demand for them!
Corporate brands and big firms in Malaysia are no stranger to such a strategy, as United International Pictures’s Kara Lee shares with us. They have often opted for partnerships, be it Promotional Rights or to be a Licensee for films and these have boosted their sales significantly. However, to guarantee success, these partnerships require a strong and loud marketing campaign to reach their customers and increase awareness.
With so much potential and various ways to seize the opportunity that rising popularity of geekdom in Malaysia offers, it is high time that local entrepreneurs take the chance on making a success story out of it. Time to tap into The Force!