An entrepreneur aims to add more masculinity to living room entertainment, writes Izwan Ismail
AHMAD Izmir Mujab sits in his office in Mont Kiara, looking suave in an all black outfit. The 30-year-old chief executive officer of Izi Media Group is in a jovial mood as he talks about his latest project — Max Man TV (www.maxman.tv), a video-on-demand (VoD) channel strictly for men.
Launched simultaneously in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Hong Kong last week, the channel currently offers 60 titles on general themes.
“Viewers can expect shows, documentaries, reality TV shows, etc, with lots of fight scenes, fast cars and pretty girls,” he says, with a naughty grin.
These include movies like Lilyhammer (about New York mafia), The Bomber (an action-packed adventure about a Soviet pilot), Borgia (drama series about the Catalan Cardinal) and The Take (a four-part adaptation of the best-selling crime thriller by Martina Cole).
A MAN’S WORLD
Insisting that he is not a male chauvinist, Izmir says: “I consider myself a manly guy who likes to do manly things.”
His past time is filled with outdoor and extreme sport activities such as shooting, paragliding, water sports, boxing, paintball and airsoft.
“I go to Melbourne or Korea once a month to practise my shooting range and clay shooting skills,” says Izmir, who has a personal trainer for boxing. He used to compete in amateur fights in his younger days. Nowadays, he boxes for fun and to get a good workout.
As for paintball and airsoft, he says: “That’s the closest thing I can get to a real gun.”
Izmir and his team, called Marauderz, would simulate war scenarios and military missions in the jungle and spend the entire weekend playing or training for competitions.
For paragliding, motor boating and jet skiing, he heads for Kota Kinabalu and Langkawi.
“Current offerings, be it terrestrial TV or satellite, is an injustice to men. The only one tailored for real men is the sports channel,” says Izmir.
“We need more male-oriented shows, movies and other stuff.
“For Max Man TV, you won’t have shows like Glee, Desperate Housewives, etc,” he says, adding that the channel is inspired by the US online TV channel known as spike.com
What’s interesting about Izmir is his courage to do this with almost zero experience running a media company.
“I don’t see that as a problem. Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Richard Branson and even Tony Fernandes did not have much experience when they started. What’s important is you know what you are doing and the direction you’re taking,” says Izmir, who has a degree in Entrepreneurship from Curtin University Of Technology in Australia.
Prior to IZI Media, Izmir ran an events management company and a business consultancy and venture capital firm called Crewstone International.
“Of course, the media industry is different but I’m counting on my skills in running a business to pull me through,” he says.
Izmir believes Malaysians are ready to watch movies and shows online and the VoD concept based on their years of YouTube experience.
Despite the very focused target audience, he is confident of the success of Max Man TV.
“Firstly, it’s free and the content can be watched on any Internet devices, including PCs, tablets, smartphones and Internet TVs. Unlike YouTube, where most of the content are contributions from users, Max Man TV offers premium content and in HD.”
Being online also means that the channel is not affected by weather conditions as long as the Internet line is up and running.
Izmir says the current 1Mbps Streamyx connection is more than enough to watch all titles.
“We’ve deployed a technology that will prevent buffering of our titles,” he says.
Since the service is free, Max Man TV will depend on advertisement revenue.
“There are 16 million Internet users in the country and we are confident it’s enough to generate revenue from advertisements,” says Izmir.
Izmir plans to explore VoD on different genres and interests by next year. He even plans to enter the US market and compete with the VoD channels there. It’s a big challenge, but Izmir insists that he is man enough for the task.