World of Buzz's parent firm buys digital platform, assigns 'aggressive budget' to grow awareness

Digital media group Influasia has acquired digital publishing platform In Real Life Malaysia (IRL), founded in 2018 by Rachel Tan, head of business at eCommerce lifestyle brand Oxwhite who joined in June from Shopee Malaysia. IRL focuses on sharing personalised stories from everyday Malaysians while Influasia-owned online publications are World of Buzz, Noodou and Lobak Merah. Influasia also owns its influencer marketing agency named Buzzer, which has a database of over 49,000 local influencers.

With the acquisition, Influasia's group of online publication now has over 40 million page views and over 10 million unique individuals monthly, the press statement said. Tan has since been appointed consultative partner.

While Tan declined to reveal the value of the acquistion, she told A+M that Influasia has fully absorbed her ownership, as well as her editor and content writer. As such, Tan will work with Influasia's co-founder Michelle Tan to ensure the style of content is written with the platform's vision in mind, as well as how IRL can leverage Influasia's resources to grow further.

rachel tan in real life

Meanwhile, co-founder Chris Khristie said it chose to acquire IRL in particular due to both parties' shared objective of conveying community-centric messages. “We believe that this merger is fitting to our mutual
vision of encouraging more people to share their personal stories," he said.

Khristie told A+M that it will build up the prominence of IRL across all different social channels such as Facebook, YouTube and TikTok, and improve the frequency of its content throught Influasia's resources. A "more aggressive budget" will also be allocated for paid promotions on Facebook and partnerships will also be established with relevant brands and event organisers to further develop IRL's experiential journey and stories. He added that IRL will also be included on news platforms such as Google News, MSN, Yahoo, and Taboola News.

Influasia plans to strengthen its portfolio through further acquisition of relevant and building up niche platforms to cater to different sets of audiences. When asked about other types of publications of interest, Khristie specified that country-specific publications are also next on its list as part of its growth agenda to expand regionally in Southeast Asia.

"We are looking to target reader demographics of all age and interest segments to capture the mass attention in all verticals, and being able to appeal to any marketers digitally for any brand or campaign goals," he told A+M.

Aside from acquiring new publications, Influasia will also be launching its interactive content-based app titled "Portol, which has been in the works for nine months to date. Khristie explained that while there was a slight delay in the works, the team is at the final stages of the backend functionality for the app.

"The app will eventually be built through several versions to be an all-in-one content app where users are able to consume content from our partnered channels in both articles and videos format. Users will be incentivized for specific actions taken in the app such as consuming content, participating in live games, and more," he explained. Khristie added that marketing for the app will be done through a constant push from all its owned and partnered media assets, influencers and paid ads such as Facebook and Google.