Mola TV Stories: English Premier League and Its Mission with Local Content
Not only football match, Mola is starting to airing and producing various original series
Randi Eka - 30 September 2020
Mola TV has been established since mid-2019, is a subsidiary of the Djarum Group which operates under the Polytron electronic device factory. Its business model is quite unique, combining cable television, IPTV, and video-on-demand. At the beginning, it’s quite captivating due to the exclusive airing of the Premier League.
DailySocial had the opportunity to have a discussion with Mola TV representative, Mirwan Suwarso, to explore the company’s vision and strategy. It is interesting because Mola rises in the middle of a competitive streaming service industry.
To begin with, Mirwan said, “We see the ball as a spear to introduce Mola and his long-term mission. Let people know first. And as time goes by, Mola is quite different after the pandemic. More new content is being displayed.”
When starting the Mola application, on a cellphone, website, or a smart television device, it is true that the content served is quite diverse. At first, other videos seemed to be complementary, but now it’s getting increased by time.
“Before the pandemic, the team focused on the soccer promotion, because the interest is high. There has not been any thought to extend content options. During the pandemic, we immediately reversed our mindset, especially when the football match was stopped, previously other content was only complementary, then it was designed to be the main show,” Mirwan explained.
Actually, what Mola has right now is plans for the next three to four years. The business model is executed faster than the timeline previously prepared. Since the pandemic, Mola “forced” all of its viewers to subscribe to access its content. Interestingly, Mirwan said, his customer statistics actually increased by 3 times, although he did not provide details on the exact number.
It was further explained, although football broadcasts had stopped, the increase in subscribers was mostly driven by local content, especially those targeting housewives and children. The Mola team is quite observant, because when the PSBB was implemented in various regions, people at home needed alternative content – both entertainment and education.
“From the beginning, the selection of content for children was more of an activity. For example, learning science together, making crafts, making experiments. It turns out positive for most people, therefore, we enrich the content. Then, we see that some Indonesians are in line with our mission to empower the nation,” he continued.
Many contents are self-produced, such as the one entitled “Sofa Kuning” which is included in the Mola Kids category. It is a family event featuring Indonesian children’s songs rearranged according to today’s musical tastes. The content is packaged in the form of karaoke and educational quizzes with prizes to be present through the Mola application. Also, we collaborate with NET TV for broadcasting. Here, the objective is quite noble, Mola wants to make Indonesian children more familiar with their nationality – “How many children now know the song Baby Shark better than Burung Kutilang ?,” Mirwan mentioned.
In its production, Mola collaborates with vocational schools owned by Djarum. For example, SMK in Kudus has a concentration in animation and design.
“Mola wants to connect all of that into something that moves society. Mola was born to deliver that. However, if Mola starts from there, people won’t be interested. Therefore, we have to make people interested first, get to know first, that’s why the Premier League is in.”
Regarding football, he also emphasized that Mola did not stop there, they positioned the channel different from beIN Sport, FOX, or ESPN. The company feels required to contribute for Indonesia, then, it is realized through the “Dream Chasers Garuda Select” event. The company selected 24 young players from various regions in Indonesia (under 20 years) to be brought to Europe and coached for 8 months, therefore, they can start a more serious career in football. The show at Mola takes the form of a documentary of their journey.
“In the first year we found a player from Sorong named Braif Fatari, he did not belong to any PSSI club. We brought him to Europe [..] he is now playing for Persija and for the U-20 national team. That means we have involved in the fate of a person, the question is, can we did that to more people? This is still homework to work on. Hopefully one day, in the international leagues there will be players from Indonesia who contribute to the big clubs,” Mirwan said.
Mola’s program categories
Apart from content on Mola Kids, there are several other categories. One that is being developed is Mola Living. It contains exclusive content for families. Again, Mola emphasizes the “education” element in his series. For example, the program “Blusukan Butet Kertaradjasa”, which airs inspirational stories from people with great life experiences – one of them in the episode entitled “Farmers of the City”, there is a story of a former bankrupt gambler who is now successfully cultivating a kale plantation in Tangerang.
“If other people create infotainment in order to explore celebrities’ romance, we try to take another side. For example, in the ‘Musafir Malam’ program, Iwa K tries to explore the other side of characters who have interacted with the dark world, such as having been in prison, to gain lessons from the experience,” Mirwan explained. “There is also a ‘Cooking Impossible’ program, for the first time Farah Quinn comes out of her comfort zone, she cooks with her 2-year-old child. However, her cooking fails, you’ll get messed up by a 2-year-old child. But mothers experience situations like that. Funny, entertaining, and relate to the lives of many people. ”
In addition, Mola also airs Movies, News, Sports content, and most recently they also provide shows from HBO GO. The collaboration with HBO GO was only announced in early September 2020.
“HBO is proven to produce quality content. In addition, we also want to have the highest benchmark (for content). One of our conditions for the collaboration is that we will work together to produce joint content [..] Therefore, we want to bring the concept of our (local) program to the world through the channels owned by HBO,” he said.
Believe in local content
Analyzing Mola’s mission above, it is quite visible with Mola’s ambition towards local content. They have also started to collaborate with creators in Indonesia. It’s just the beginning, one of them with Lifelike Pictures in the middle of making two series comedy and drama genre; and it’s open for more local studios.
His optimism for local content is also quite “brave” amid the strike of many foreign films and series presented through various platforms. Mirwan does not deny this fact.
“Those who like soap operas will watch soap operas, those who enjoy Korean drama will always be happy with it. We never force it, but what we are trying to do is that the quality of our content must be as good as them (from the outside). I have never forgotten the movie Berbagi Suami, Sherina’s Adventure, AADC that can make people like Indonesian films when everyone is talking about foreign films. We should make something like that,” Mirwan emphasized.
With the 3 time increase in customers during the pandemic, Mola expects his strategy is well validated and the company is in the right direction.
Related to Polytron
Another unique fact is that Mola also sells streaming devices made by Polytron. It allows the television to broadcast on-demand and live shows on Mola TV. Regarding this, Mirwan emphasized the Mola TV company is under Polytron. This platform is actually designed to make local electronic device manufacturers can compete in the smart TV market.
“All smart TVs were making effort to have Netflix, Disney+; it is our idea to present a difference. Therefore, a Mola Streaming Device was made to be complementary and expected to become a joint force in order to become a superior local product. It is one of the strategies,” Mirwan concluded.
Original article is in Indonesian, translated by Kristin Siagian