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2020 Indonesia Media Landscape Highlights

2020 Indonesia Media Landscape Highlights


2020 Indonesia Media Landscape Highlights

COVID-19 has posed a serious threat to the sustainability of Indonesia’s media industry. According to Asmono Wikan, the Secretary-General of the Newspaper Publishers Union (SPS), which represents more than 400 media companies in Indonesia, many media professionals are at risk of losing their jobs. Nearly half of SPS’ members have retrenched staff or are planning to do so.

The pandemic has also posed risks health risks to some media professionals in the country. According to findings from the Independent Journalist Association (AJI), more than 70 media professionals tested positive for COVID-19 or are suspected cases from March to July last year.

Besides the health crisis, Indonesia’s turbulent political climate has also shifted information consumption habits. In recent years, the competitive landscape has led to the polarization of societal views, which are reported by more partisan media outlets. As a result, some audiences only consume or trust information that supports their political choices, without trying to find a balance.

However, Indonesia’s media industry felt the pressures of digitalization – like in many markets in APAC. The number of online media readers increased by up to 200% – according to a survey by Indonesia Digital Media Association’s (AMSI) with its 300 members from April 25 to May 5 2020.

On the contrary, advertising revenues of online media outlets dropped by an average of 30 to 40%. The decline is more significant in local online media that are based in second and third-tier cities, which saw a dip in advertising revenue by up to 80%. This is due to the local governments reducing their advertisement budgets and investing more resources to handle the pandemic

Key Developments

2020 Indonesia Media Landscape Highlights
A virtual talkshow by KapanLagi Youniverse. (Source: Facebook)


  • More Virtual Events: In response to the growing readership, online media group KapanLagi Youniverse adapted to the movement restriction situation by organizing 10 times more live online events than pre-pandemic days. “Since October, our virtual events have been quite successful. This is not a long-term effort. But at least our staff can work from home, without us doing layoffs,” explained Steve Christian, CEO of KapanLagi Youniverse on the Marketeers Webinar series.
  • More Paid Content Subscriptions: According to the Media Industry Outlook 2021 report by a marketing consulting agency Inventure, 65.4% of respondents under 25 years old in Jabodetabek (Jakarta metropolitan area) accessed video content via paid streaming platforms during the pandemic. Meanwhile, 88.2% of people aged 45 and younger prefer to access online media to reading print articles.
  • TV Viewership Goes Up: The number of television viewers has increased as people are staying home. Data from the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) shows that TV viewers have increased by more than 50%. This is because people are very concerned about the development of the COVID-19 situation.
  • TikTok Revolution: The popularity of the social video app among social media users in Indonesia was at one of its highest points early last year. TikTok’s widespread use gain momentum when celebrities and social media influencers started using the app too. According to Sensor Tower research, Indonesia is the fourth largest market for TikTok in terms of the number of users. In July 2020, 8.5% of the app’s downloads came from the country (out of a total of 65.2 million downloads). There are more than 30 million TikTok users in Indonesia.
  • The Rise of Podcasts: The audio medium becomes even more personal as more people listen to podcasts with Podcasts, which were originally reminiscent of radio shows, have now changed into casual chat show formats. According to Spotify, Indonesia has the highest number of podcast listeners in Southeast Asia. “It predicted that there will be 2.2 billion podcast listeners per month by 2024,” said Semuel Abrijani, Director-General of Informatics Applications (Dirjen Aptika), Ministry of Communication and Information.

READ MORE: Indonesia Media Landscape Highlights 2019: How to reach out to both Digital and Traditional Media

New Key Media Outlets

Here are some note-worthy media outlets that were launched in Indonesia last year:

2020 Indonesia Media Landscape Highlights


This popular Instagram account provides COVID-19-related information in the form of eye-catching infographics and interesting narratives. With more than 220,000 followers, @PandemicTalks disseminates bite-sized information that enables netizens to learn something new every day.

The Indonesia Government’s COVID-19 Site

COVID-19 has dominated the news on online, TV and print media. The go-to source for the most trusted, updated and comprehensive news on COVID-19 and economic recovery comes from this government news site. It also serves as the main source of public information.

Other news sites that are run by the relevant government ministries include Kominfo (Ministries of Communication and Informatics) and Kemenkes (Ministry of Health). The Ministry of Economy Coordination has a dedicated section on their COVID-19 recovery program.

2021 Outlook

Digital media platform IDN Times started Our Newsroom, an online news programme which is targeted at millennials. (Photo: IDN Times)
Digital media platform IDN Times started Our Newsroom, an online news programme targeted at millennials. (Source: IDN Times)


Riding on the momentum of change in the media industry in 2020, consumers and advertisers are moving more rapidly to digital channels. Consumers expect greater value and better customer experience from spending time on the platform, while advertisers expect more revenue to be generated.

With increasing competition among media outlets, access to user data is the key to success. The business model has given rise to consumer-creators and hybrid monetization opportunities. As a result, regulators are increasingly paying close attention to platforms that distribute media content.

According to the online show #OurNewsroom by IDN Times, a digital media outlet targeted at millennials, media leaders in Indonesia admitted that the pandemic has sparked the rapid growth of innovation on digital platforms. This will continue this year or after the pandemic has subsided.

Traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television will have to think of new models of business and production that are more tech and cost-savvy. Digital adoption is changing information consumption patterns rapidly and paid content will be an important part of the media’s survival plans going forward.

READ MORE: 2021 Asia-Pacific Media Landscape Outlook


This is the 6th instalment of PR Newswire’s 2020 Asia-Pacific Media Landscape series. Our Audience Development team, which is based in 9 markets in APAC, gives an overview of media developments across the region.

For more information on receiving media insights, get in touch with us here.


This blog post is written by Afif Maulana, Audience Development Executive at PR Newswire in Indonesia. He is in charge of partnerships, expanding media network, organizing events, conducting media interviews, and other company-wide projects for the Indonesian market. You can contact him at