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Business & Industrial

Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip (Anne JKN) Creating Visual Addiction when Content Value Lies in Culture (TH/EN)

Published Date : 2 Oct 2019

Resource : Creative Thailand

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Anne - Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip is the CEO of JKN Global Media Public Company Limited. The global content distribution company is ready to create content for any types of market, be it domestic, regional or international. In 2020, JKN aims to become the content leader in ASEAN. In addition to distributing Indian and Philippine series as well as Hollywood documentaries, cartoons and series, the company also invests in co-producing more contents with international partners. It also focuses on expanding the markets for Channel 3 drama series globally. Using the “Superstar Marketing” strategy to promote the dramas, the company has held roadshow activities with Channel 3 stars in foreign countries, particularly in its key ASEAN markets.

Q: Many countries in ASEAN believe that creative economy will help drive their economy growth. As content is one of the most outstanding industries, what are your thoughts on this development approach?
I understand the concept of Value Added and believe that promoting creative thinking can contribute to all industries. For content production, in particular, it’s the thoughts that make the difference. But the question is, how to promote the ability to think. Imagination is always related to knowledge and it will help improve our products. We must learn how to turn bricks into gold. People won’t be interested in raw content, so we must flavour it first. The products might be the same, but when the packaging is different, their prices will differ too. That’s putting imagination into the product so that it has sexiness and value. You can then expand its selling points and make more money. 

Q: That’s why we must dress up the content so that it has value and can go global.
A: The word “dress up” is right. That’s because if we take the contents without transforming them, they won’t succeed. Many people have asked me since I got my company listed, “Your business of buying and selling content is something anyone can do, isn’t it?” I’d tell them, “No, please think again. That’s what an agent does. But my business is a management and distribution company. That means after we buy the content, we must carry out a transformation process to make it our own.”

The process starts from selecting our business partners: which company we should work with, which country, and which content would match Thai taste. We must understand the consumers. After we buy the content, we much consider how each one is different. Some content looks good but doesn’t taste good. Many are like that. We must look at the script and then localise it. That means dubbing, translating and editing it to fit into Thai context. I even add Thai music. Moreover, we will put them together to create a showcase. We will design new posters and everything else that is related. In other words, we repackage everything. In order to build a fan club, we also carry out marketing campaigns: from games, activities and fan-meetings to concerts. All of it will create visual addiction. The product you buy might have a certain cost, but you must make a billion out of it. And it can be done with only one word—Think. You must think before doing anything. I won’t follow what other people do. I don’t copy other people’s path to success or simply buy some content and put it straight into the theatre or on television. 

Q: Everything must go through the process, right?
Yes, it’s not about being a copycat. Let me tell you this. We used to buy cheap copyright contents, put them in a video tape format and tried to sell them to video rental shops. It was a complete failure. At that time, there were video rental shops all over the country from Tsutaya, Blockbuster to VDO Ezy, but not one shop bought our videos. While trying to figure out what to do, I was watching TV Direct which was an infomercial hosted by George and Sarah. And I got an idea to sell our videos on that direct sales program. I thought we should just give it a try no matter how much we could sell. As it turned out, we sold one million copies which brought me 20 million baht income. I made further investment with that money and had a saving of 10 million baht when I was only 20-21 years old.

Q: Do you think that being successful at a young age is a gift?
Actually, the best thing in my life, both in terms of business and being a transgender, is creativity. When I graduated from college with honours in 2 years, my teacher said to me, “Andrew, the best thing in you is being initiative”. I didn’t quite understand it at the time but began to understand later that I’m the kind of person who thinks all the time. I think out of the box. I like to raise questions, think about them and execute them before others. In other word, I have a big imagination. It’s because I was born in the wrong gender so I always think about the reasons for it. That makes me the person who thinks a lot. What other people do, I won’t do. But once they don’t do something, I’ll look into it. If the price is cheap, let’s “build on” it. Please underscore the word “build on” because it’s a creative process. Once we have built on it and presented it well, it becomes something of a different league. Our product will be much more appealing and profitable.

Q: Your work seems to involve a great deal of imagination. As your company is listed, however, people must expect business-oriented management as well.
A: I must say that I was born to be an artist, but I also have a head for business. I’m extremely good at making money. From nothing, I’ve made billions without taking any bank loans. It shows that I think through every aspect. That is, we must have creativity based on reality. We must invest well. I actually graduated in political science, not accounting or finance. What I do is going to seminars to learn more because it’s something we must know. If I don’t understand the first course, I’ll take more courses until I understand all about debit and credit. I can answer any questions now.

Q: What are your investment principles?
A: As I said, creativity and investment must go hand in hand. And you need to get real or it’ll be just a daydream. When you put money into something, it must be an investment, not expense. You must be able to reuse and redevelop it. You must be able to use it to further your business and to build on it. Don’t just spend money willy-nilly. You must add value so that it can be used again later on. You must be a good businessperson and learn to initiate. As for creative economy, it comes from the people who create products and promote economic growth with our own creativity. What are our strong points? Thailand has plenty of strength. What shall we do to become competitive?

 

Q: How do we sell Thai content abroad?
A: An easy example is the Korean dramas. People say that they have good scripts and costumes. Besides all that, the brilliant thing is they incorporate Korean culture too. That’s because they want to hook people in. As cultural export means economic promotion, once people become visually addicted, they will fall further into the culture. They will use Korean products from cloths and cosmetics to tourism and foods. Why are people so crazy about boy bands and girl bands? That’s because we are obsessed with them. It’s just like what JNK does as the seller of Channel 3 dramas.

Q: Were you the one who first spotted this potential?
A: Yes, and proposed to the Channel. I went to talk to Khun Prachoom Maleenon (CEO of BEC World) about why we did nothing. Many of our male and female stars are gorgeous and they are great actors. And our production cost is cheap too. Why didn’t we go international? And this year, we just went to France. Our government is supportive but what they do is opening booth and let 10-20 companies participate. I myself never join them because I can do it on my own. I made my own brochure and showcase, advertised on billboards and gave interviews in magazines. I brought Ken-Pupoom and Taew-Nataporn from the drama Nakee. And I had to present myself too as the CEO of JKN.

Q: Why do you think that works better than going as a government representative?
A: That’s because before people remember my products, they must remember me first. My branding therefore starts with myself. If you are boring, who would want to buy your dramas? It’s all about repackaging the products. We already have the dramas but we never showcase them. Or we did but the world still doesn’t know them. I’ve been in this business for 20 years. If we still present ourselves as a group, I myself would walk pass it without seeing anything. It’s up to the presentation. It shows that we can transform bricks into gold. Nowadays our products are selling well because of the way I present myself. When people recognise me, my words carry more weight.

Q: What is the trend of Thai content business in the ASEAN markets?
A: If we are to go international, we must starting planning from the production process. For example, we must co-produce instead of doing it ourselves. We should join hands with Philippines, India or Indonesia. We must think regional, act globally. Is the dollar sexier than the baht? It’s a much bigger market. And to go global, our artists must be able to speak English, right? Our script must not be just an inside joke that non-Thai viewers don’t get. It needs to hold an international appeal. So we must understand where the regional or global markets are at if we want to reach that level.

Q: What about importing content from abroad, how do you choose them?
A: I choose what other people don’t. And they are all successful because we transform everything we import. The word “transformation” is perfect for me. That is, I transform myself from male to female. I transform my home video business into content management business worth billions. I transform incomprehensible foreign content into a visually addiction for Thai people. I also transform the soundtrack by adding Thai music and create a new business. The concert we just held this year was a complete sold-out.

Q: What kind of content does JKN offer?
A: I want our content to help teach, guide and inspire people. That is the duty of a content seller--to sell brain food. If you don’t have such responsibility, that means you have no ethics. Our content ranges from entertainment to documentaries and news program like CNBC to offer knowledge and inspiration. Even the biography of Anne Jakkaphong is a type of content for the new generation. It’s for those who think that they are not good enough, not fit into the male or female stereotype enough, not talented enough or not slim or pretty enough. If you are not satisfied with any aspect of yourself, please think about people such as me who were born in the wrong gender. How much patience it takes to live with the body that isn’t mine? My life can be a kind of content that inspires people to be patient. Nothing comes easily in this world. I myself must serve as a good content that inspires others. Dare to think, dare to initiate, dare to act and make it successful…that is Anne Jakkaphong.


Story : Patcharin Pattanaboonpaiboon | Image : Surachet Soparatanadilok