Money, adrenalin and a man’s channel represent Ahmad Izmir’s fantasy, as Cassandra Pillay finds out.
Having just launched an all men’s channel must be exhilarating for a man who just turned 30?
Ahmad Izmir: It’s all about finding a niche gap in the current market and combining it with your passion. I’ve always loved movies, I don’t only check out if the next big actor is in it but I pay attention to the casting director, screenplay, studio and production company. With this I can tell if the movie is going to be good or a flop. Plus what we have launched is just a teaser, with 90% of our content to kick off throughout 2013.
Why the male target audience?
Firstly, I’m a guy and secondly there is way too much out there for women already. With StarWorld and the Diva Universal channels, even popular Korean shows are broadcasting never ending sitcoms on housewives and musicals.
There is a missing gap to give men what they would like to watch. Action, women and cars. It’s all there in Max-Man.Tv. All the more it’s online, hence men can choose where, when and what they want to watch anytime. Not surprisingly, there is an increasing women population who tune in too.
How did you manage to convince big companies like Netflix to collaborate with you?
Lots of market research, preparation and selling yourself. In the US, they have networking events where big and startup companies gather. At one event, I approached NetFlix and said I wanted to work them and this was my idea. The great part about the US is that they will listen to you and the rest is history.
Here in Malaysia, they will ask questions about your family background, connections etc, which hinders a lot of great talent out there. If you are serious about what you want to do, identifying the key loopholes is vital.
You must be a pretty smooth guy working your way up the world?
On the contrary, I think of myself as an introvert and don’t enjoy socialising or networking events. But it’s an important part of the business to build rapport and relationships with potential partners or investors. It’s a constant battle for me to keep saying the right thing and brim confidence to a business deal. At first I used to get sweaty palms. I only do it because I have to and I must say I have been pretty ace at it, since I have sealed some exceptional deals. If I could, I would live in the mountains with my wife and son and tend to a farm. But that doesn’t bring in the money, which is one of my main goals, reaping in more money.
Did you have a role model?
Batman! I never was a fan of actual people and Batman seemed to represent the real me. A billionaire entrepreneur who was also a superhero trying to do good in this world. Plus he hates the limelight and socialising but he know he had to in order to expand his empire. As much as I am motivated by money, I believe in giving back. I did this at my last birthday where I sponsored 400 kids to watch Men in Black just so that had the same excitement I had when I first watched it. That feeling was rewarding.
What would you tell other young people who want to follow in your footsteps?
Find your gift and work at it. In my early years of tertiary education, I was studying computer science and did rather badly. I decided to switch when I moved to Australia and majored in entrepreneurship, I excelled. Also, be productive and don’t waste your time on unfruitful tasks. Bill Gates had 24 hours a day, just the same as everyone else. How did Bill Gates have more money than anyone else? Make that 24 hours count.
Photo credit: Pillars NEXTGEN