The competition between (free to air) national Television in achieving the highest rating is truly tight. The battle rages on from minute to minute. They all battle their strategies to pamper audiences and preventing them from flipping the channel.
The competition of free to air media industry in Indonesia these past 6 years are colored by the battle for ratings and audience share. It’s normal, considering the number of audience is one of the main considerations for their advertisers, aside from whether or not they are the exact audience they are targeting.
As can be seen, advertising expenditure trend in the media has risen 53% from 18.5 Trillion Rupiah (US$ 1.38 Million) in 2011 to 28.33 Trillion Rupiah (US$ 2.13 Million) in 2016, according to Nielsen data. The channels for advertising expenditure starts to spread, what used to be concentrated to free to air (FTA ad expenditure was 66% in 2011) has spread to digital (online/mobile) and other channels (FTA ad expenditure was only 63% in 2016).
Also according to Nielsen data, 11 markets, with all people target audience, in the period of 2011-2016, the audience share for VIVA media group has risen from 9.8 percent to 17.3 percent, unseating the Transcorp group that used to be in the big three along with MNC media group and Emtek media group. What’s interesting is, VIVA media group is recorded as the media group with the biggest audience market share growth, at a time when other media groups are losing their audience share.
This is the result of Anindya Novyan Bakrie’s capable hands, that transformed VIVA Group to become one of the 3 top tier medias in Indonesia today. When he took over VIVA media group back in 2002, Anin was burdened by a nearly bankrupt ANTV due to its past debts. A week into his new position, ANTV had to face PKPU (chapter 11 bankruptcy).
With limited human and capital resources, Anin had to wait for 10 years to pass, when in 2012 he made the important decision to do a silent revolution. At the time Anin changed the company’s business line that used to focus on telecommunication, media and technology (TMT) into an antimainstream media business. The telecommunication business line of Bakire Telecommunication was sold off to Sinarmas group, due to its high capital expenditures and low revenue. When in fact, the free to air media business itself required great innovation and a relatively small capital.
“We tried everything, because we don’t really have personal experiences. Before we used to work with the owner of Star TV, Rupert Murdoch, who was unbeatable in theory. But in reality, what Indonesian families like aren’t like what the people overseas like, so it needs to be localized. At the end, we bought back our stocks,” Anindya explained to Warta Ekonomi editorial staff.
Still in the same era, in 2008 to be exact, Anindya dared to take the risk of acquiring Lativi and turning it into tvOne. At the time, ANTV was still unable to break even. But with his fastidiousness, the presence of tvOne has managed to expand VIVA’s demographic, from women and children that were concentrated in ANTV with their entertainment contents, now they were able to reach the male demographic at tvOne with their sports and news contents.
“With tvOne we tried to combine CNN with ESPN. But different from our competitors that aimed for a middle upper market, we aimed for middle lower. With sports, we did not only try with competitive sports such as soccer, but also entertainment sports such as wrestling, One Pride MMA, and as it turned out, we could break even in our first year, and turn in profit in the following year,” Anin added.
With a strong segmentation, VIVA’s position in the eyes of advertisers became even stronger, especially since tvOne and ANTV specifically provided built-in ads in the programs, so it did not cut off the programming that sometimes made audience flipped to the competitor’s channel. He thinks VIVA will always prioritize win-win solutions for vendors, talents, production house, agency and advertisers.
Meanwhile, Wishnutama kusubandio, NET Mediatama TV’s president director, admitted that segmentation is a very important matter in running a media business. With the theme of Today’s Television as their DNA, this TV station that was born in 2012 aimed more for the middle up market, that amounted to about 25% from the total of 250 million people that populate Indonesia.
With his experience in another media group (Trans media), creating a competitive content is not a big challenge for him. The real challenge is optimizing their digital presence, considering that their target audience mostly use digital media. He admitted that the digital activity of NET TV is more than 17,834 videos, the biggest among his competitors. Not only that, NET TV’s followers or fanbase on social media is bigger than other competitors.
“We created a citizen journalist program that at first was due to the limitations of NET TV bureau in rural areas and this program manages to supply 30 pecent of NET TV’s total news. We also have NET Connect that is designed to connect with NET’s free to air station that is airing live. So the people can take part in all the programs and shows by giving feedback such as Clap (liking a content) or Boo (disliking a content). There’s also a program that makes it possible for the audience to interact live, such as Quiz or Q&A (Questions & Answers),” Tama said.
One of the features of other digital contents, according to Tama is NET.Z that can be accessed netz.id. This application can capture their emotion while they’re reading the news. This public reaction will be the data so they can understand what kind of news the public responds too. He also explained that the company is in the midst of creating contents that will eventually distributed to terrestrial transmission, digital, over the top platform, live streaming, video on demand, and youtube channel.
“We have even created a specific New Media department to anticipate the digital world because the character of television audience is different than that of digital. And Net Connect is our hub or connector between digital and free to air. We may even use this digital audience database to replace Nielsen rating. Basically we think that the free to air television revenue is still long lasting compared to digital content, but it has a big potential in the future. So that’s why we combine free to air with digital NET TV. According to Nielsen data, 45% of the millennial generation watches NET as their preferred channel,” Tama added.
Aside form having to be creative and innovative, the challenge in the free to air industry is to provide educational contents, with quality and positive moral values. Often, various programs that were birthed from the creative minds of the content producers have to be stopped by Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI), a foundation dedicated specifically to monitor free to air contents. Programs such as Yuk Keep Smile and Empat Mata (Trans Media), D’Academy (Emtec), Dahsyat (MNC) have all been frozen at one point because they contained negative contents.
The head of KPI, Yuliandre Darwis stated that even though creating in the television industry has its own challenges for there are moral values to be met, it doesn’t mean that it will become a hindrance for coming up with television contents that are creatively packaged and that manage to attract public interest. He gave the example, in the international scope, Brain Games from Natioanl Geographic is a program that takes us on a journey through the human brain and amazes the audience by the things that they see. Aside from that, there’s also a Running Man tv series from Korea that has its own uniqueness.
Unfortunately, the quality of programming for national TV is still under 3.36 on average, under the standard for IBC, which is 4, per the end of December 2016. From various broadcast category, such as news, talk show, infotainment, soap opera/film, children’s programming, variety show, religious shows, comedies and cultural tourism, only cultural tourism that can reach 4.42.
“Even though the decision in the world of television is influenced by the ratings that we get from Nielsen, business players should not be afraid to innovate and do creative things. It takes commitment in maintaining the quality of programming, and in planning a television show, we need the relevant data that becomes the foundation from the concept and innovation offered,” Darwis said.
Other things that drew KPI’s attention is the localization of content. At least every national TV station has to come up with 60% local contents. But it also requires innovation, especially considering that to import an overseas program is 3 times cheaper compared to producing a show locally.