Advertising agencies and market research firms are biggest players of Myanmar’s media ecosystem. There are more than 180 ad agencies in Myanmar but only five operating at an internationally recognized standard. All ad agencies have been locally-owned until Ogilvy & Mather, a division of world leader WPP (and a major player in China), acquired a stake in Yangon-based Today Advertising, becoming the first Western ad agency to set up operations. This created competition in the field and raise overall standards and accountability. There are several market research firms producing statistically reliable surveys such as Myanmar Marketing Research and Development Corporation (MMRD) and Myanmar Survey Research (MSR). There has been an overall transformation in the whole media landscape. Pre-publication censorship of print news media ended in August 2012. Restrictions on advertising content (including prohibitions on specific advertising categories and the use of various types of imagery) were lifted. Journalist associations have formed, disbanded, and been recreated. All parts of the media ecosystem are changing and every aspect of the media infrastructure is being challenged. Tele penetration and internet penetration rates have risen and access to international programming, once blocked, is now fueled by the rapid expansion of satellite networks. Facebook is the platform of choice for many reporters.
Experts have predicted that the growth in advertising revenue will come from global brand advertisers placing ads in regional satellite networks with international programming and in highly popular entertainment environments. Overall growth in the local economy, which would then create a dynamic Burmese advertising market, is expected to be slow because the infrastructure for expansion is absent. Print media are becoming more dynamic and attractive to readers, generating better response and thus better value to advertisers. There are also an increasing number of media channels available in the market, including the presence of independently-owned FM radios and easing of international sanctions is credited with creating new opportunities among global brands and new players from the Greater Mekong region. Advertising censorship has been reduced, allowing significantly greater creative freedom. The government is also doing a rapid expansion of digital and satellite infrastructure that will support a more robust media environment.
To bridge the past and the present, the Government drafted a new Media Law having two major components, the Press Law and the Broadcast Law, releasing at separate times. Until they are released, publications are under 1962 Printers and Publishers Registration Law, as well as the Electronics Act. Under the new laws, all media will still be licensed and will be issued by the newly-created Copyrights and Registration Division.
Investment businesses foreign investors are not allowed to carry on are distribution of periodicals in national language including Myanmar Language.
Investment businesses which only the State has right to carry out and related to this sector is Publishing State's mail stamps and setting up post-boxes and establishing and letting post office boxes which the post operator representing the State has authorized to carry on.
Investment businesses permitted with recommendation of Ministry of Information are Carrying on both print and broadcasting media, Broadcasting FM radio program, Direct to home TV broadcasting, DVB-T2 broadcasting, Cable TV, Movie Production and Cinema business.
Investment businesses allowed only in the form of joint venture with a citizen owned entity or a Myanmar citizen is periodicals production in foreign languages.
Investment businesses permitted with recommendation of Ministry of Transportation and Communications are;
1. Post office service
2. Production and distribution satellite communication devices
3. Product and distribution of radar communication devices and related tools
4. Production and distribution of radio communication devices
5. Communication service
6. Production and domestic distribution of mobile handsets
The business of Media in Myanmar, Michelle Foster, A report commissioned by Internews, 2013
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