The television industry is a multi-billion business. In Malaysia, it has a long track record of being one of the most important media alongside the likes of radio and print as well as new media like digital and mobile advertising.

TV among most prominent platforms

Television in the country is one of the most prominent communication channels which not only deliver entertainment and social issues to the mass but is often used as the means of communication for the government to deliver important messages and such.

Where it all began

In Malaysia, television and radio is interlinked in most ways as they are projected through the airwaves. It was in 1921 that A.L Birch, an electrical engineer with the Johor Government at that time brought the first radio set into Malaya, as it was known then. He would then set up the Johore Wireless Association and started the first broadcast in the country. The wave would reach 300 meters and then other counterparts like the Penang and the Malayan Wireless Associations were set up.

More programmes ensued

Following that, many programmes started airing like the short wave broadcast that came on air by Sir Earl from the Singapore Port Authority on either Sundays or Wednesdays every fortnight and the Sir Shenton Thomas’ programme from the Studio of Broadcasting Corporation of Malaya.

The Straits Settlement would then take over the British Broadcasting Corporation of Malaya which was then called the Malayan Broadcasting Corporation before the Japanese occupation who then used the channels for their propaganda. The stations would then be taken back by the British after the war.

A temporary studio was used during the early 50’s before it was moved to the Federal House in Kuala Lumpur and more stations began to emerge. An important milestone took place in 1960 when the first commercial advertisement was aired on radio and it became an interesting revenue generating opportunity for the government.

Radio flourished after Malaysia was formed

When Malaysia was formed in 1964, deejays started using the tagline ‘Inilah Radio Malaysia’ and when television services was introduced later that year, they moved to the Angkasapuri Complex which saw the start of Rangkaian Satu. RTM (Radio Televisyen Malaysia) became a prominent broadcasting company where it would expand to every part of Malaysia.

Today, rapid growth in the television industry has seen new companies like Media Prima Berhad, who operates TV3, NTV7, 8TV and Channel 9 emerging and being important channels for specific target group. On top of that, a satellite television service offered by ASTRO has provided more advertising opportunities with more than 100 channels in various segments and markets available.