In this video, we will be sharing with all of you a bit of our history, where we were; as well as the new direction we are pivoting toward, where we are heading.
Video published: 17th Dec 2022. Script published: 17th Jan 2023.
9tro (Version 1.0) 2009 ~ 2012
As many of you may already know, 9tro was founded in December 2009, and we operated as a print media magazine, first published and distributed in Singapore before expanding into Malaysia. At our peak, we distributed about 40,000 magazines monthly in both countries till December 2012.
During this period, we participated in a wide range of events, such as Formula Drift Asia, FX Open, as well as shows and exhibitions like Super Import Nights, Hot Import Nights, alongside a whole lot of club meets, track days and motorsports events such as Formula 1, Super GT, Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race, GT Asia, to name a few…
We even created our own events such as 9tro’us Drift, 9tro Alliance Meet, as well as track days at Sepang Circuit for both our clients, as well as for our own 9tro enthusiasts.
Within the span of those three years, we were able to establish ourselves as a credible source of information and content to our readers; securing recognition from all major motor show organizers, accreditation from all major motorsports associations including the FIA, and most importantly, becoming a monthly staple for readers in both countries.
9tro (Version 2.0) 2013 ~ 2019
However, as all of you know, the print media industry was already in a decline, which was why in early 2013, we decided on the need to shift gears and advanced toward being an online media portal instead. This proved to be the right move, and logical, as we were able to rapidly expand our readership from beyond the shores of Singapore and Malaysia.
We further expanded our organization with a third regional office opened in the Philippines, as well as engaging full time Editors in Europe, Japan, as well as part time journalists from other territories such as Thailand, Hong Kong and the United States. Our readership grew together with us, reaching a peak of over 2.6 million readers, predominantly within South East Asia.
As we continued to power through, we also broadened our scope and introduced the three divisions of 9tro, our core pillars:
– First was 9tro Media, in essence our online magazine where we continued to produce unique, interesting and relevant content, ranging from new car reviews and tuned car features, to events around the world such as motor shows, exhibitions, motorsports, manufacturers factory visits, etc…; – Second, 9tro Events, where we organized car meets and track days, as all as participate in small, medium and large scale events such as motorshows and exhibitions, all for the purpose of connecting with the like minded community of enthusiasts; – Finally, 9tro Racing, where we worked with top race teams and drivers; where I competed in both sprint and endurance races; all of which helped to increase 9tro’s brand visibility, as well as for us to understand the automotive industry as a whole from a more holistic perspective. – We also launched 9tro Style, consisting of 9tro branded merchandise such as apparel and gear, ranging from t-shirts, caps and wristbands, to umbrellas, mugs and of course stickers, another exercise that helps further grow 9tro’s brand equity.
9tro (Version 3.0) 2019 ~ 2020
All that, for seven years from 2013 till 2019, and in late 2019, we soft-launched 9tro Show Off, our web-based platform where we were attempting to create an online community, similar to social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, specifically for cars, motorcycles and motorsports. This platform was meant to be our next-evolution from being an online media to a community powered social media, where enthusiasts such as yourself get to post photos and short videos of your rides, events you participate in, as well as to share and comment on the posts of fellow enthusiasts.
Unfortunately for us, just as we were preparing for an official launch for mid-2020, including an app that could be downloaded onto your Apple or Android devices, the world was plunged into a horrible pandemic.
9tro (Version 4) 2020 ~ 2022
While we did kick off a few initiatives during this period, such as #9troBoost, where we shared Facebook and Instagram advertising posts from small and medium enterprises, so as to play a small role in helping the industry; as well as 9tro On Demand, a weekly show published to YouTube and Facebook on the latest news and updates. However, due to the long duration of the pandemic, putting on hold all our main revenue streams, we had to sadly downsize, or rather, rightsize the team. This naturally resulted in us pausing all work and eventually a complete cessation of all activities.
At the time of this video, the world seems to be slowly recovering from the devastating and disruptive pandemic, and while it hasn’t been completely eradicated yet, it does seem like we’re finally able to move forward. Many hard news media outlets have already been labeling these two and a half years as the ‘Lost Years’, with painful and life-changing experiences for literally every single person on earth. With a sprinkle of positivity, these past few years have also been known as the ‘Great Reset’, as the pandemic forced all of us to reevaluate how we live, how we work, as well as why we live and why we work.
On that note, I would like to once again thank each and everyone of you who has been supporting us over the years, family and friends, many of you since 2009, it would not have been possible without your love, confidence and encouragement. Throughout the years, I have made many friends on this journey, and as you can imagine, some enemies as well; I just want to go on record to admit that I too, am human, and have made my fair share of mistakes. To the haters out there, stop hating, my bad for any misunderstandings, miscommunications and miscalculations. To the lovers and fans, keep loving! Ok… Moving on…
9tro (Version 5.0) 2023 and Beyond
I know for a fact that 9tro has grown with an entire generation of enthusiasts. I’ve received text messages from new drivers who used to buy 9tro magazines back when they were in high school, who recently got their driving licenses and were keen to modify their cars. Text messages like those truly fuel me onward…
That said, after 13 years, 9tro will no longer function as a media company. This is not to say we’re shutting down or fading away into memory, quite the opposite, as we are transitioning into a PR and media consulting agency, while continuing on with events and project management. Naturally, we aim to stay within the realm of the automotive and motorsports industry, but will most certainly not be shying away from other projects, as long as they’re aligned with our core principles. Don’t unsubscribe or unfollow us just yet, because we will still be creating content just like before, but on a different scale and primarily for clients and partners.
So what’s different? Well, in a nutshell, as a media company since 2009, we have produced thousands of articles and approximately 99% of those articles were not paid for. Revenue for us was generated predominantly from advertising, and events. Due to the pandemic and various adaptations made by all businesses within the automotive industry, alongside advances in technology and changes in human behavior, has made the world we live in today vastly different from past years. In light of these facts, the need for us to pivot, paramount importance.
We continue to live in a world of uncertainty, mixed with a wide range of never-ending challenges such as climate change, conflict and friction, fuel and food security, economic instability, and of course the pandemic. If one thing is certain, it’ll be that regardless of what may be, pragmatism, resilience, perseverance, and passion will continue to drive us forward.
Since day one of 9tro, my dream was to build “bridges” linking communities of enthusiasts together, there are no changes here. All our existing social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will continue to be active, as well as the addition of TikTok, so keep those hashtags coming! Looking into the near future, we do hope to restart certain segments and divisions of what helped build 9tro to what it is today, and what it shall be, in the years to come. 9tro, is going all in!
As the world renowned Formula 1 race driver Sebastian Vettel once said, and I quote, “You can’t change what happened. But you can still change what will happen.”
This is not the first time where 9tro had to shift gears, and it won’t be the last, please do consider sticking around! Thank you for spending your time with me, take care…