Digital Media in Indonesia
Located in South East Asia, the country is made up of 17,508 islands and has the world’s largest Muslim population. It spans almost two million square kilometres between Asia and Australia. Its five largest islands are Sumatra, Kalimantan, Java, Sulawesi and New Guinea. The nation's capital, and largest city is Jakarta, which located on Java. Indonesia's neighbors include Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia and East Timor.
The proliferation of digital media in Indonesia is a function of Internet use, along with many other local conditions which could encourage or dampen the use of Web 2.0 applications. These include its demographics, Internet-related statistics, and its current state of traditional and mobile media, upon which Indonesia is still largely reliant on.
- 1 Digital Literacy
- 2 Digital Media Platforms
- 3 Traditional Media Platforms
- 4 Impacts of Digital Media
- 5 Controversies
- 6 Recommendations
- 7 Hear from the Experts: 5 Exclusive Interviews
- 8 Case Studies
- 9 References
The number of Internet users in Indonesia in 2011 this has reached 55 million people, an increase from the previous year in number 42 million . Compared to the population of the country which is about 240 million people, that means 23% Indonesia has a 23% Internet penetration rate and it is dominated by big cities—only 4.1% located in rural area . These numbers are expected to rise significantly in the years to come as technology becomes more affordable. The number of people who use mobile devices reached 29 million people. It means that more than 50% internet users in Indonesia use mobile devices to browse on the internet .
Internet Technology Overview
Infrastructure is lacking in the rural areas of Indonesia, due to the country’s fragmented geography. This may delay the growth of Internet subscribers slightly. The broadband market is an area with immense growth opportunities with both fixed and mobile broadband technologies. Next-generation technologies in mobile broadband are also able to partially circumvent the fixed technologies required by Indonesia’s fragmented geography.
With the current broadband penetration rate stands at 2.2% at the end of 2011, the Indonesian government is seeking to increase the penetration rate to 30% by 2014. This push for broadband penetration is found on a US$9.2 billions plan.  Investments in technology with more WiMAX services and commercial LTE will continue to improve broadband connections in the country.
Trends overview of Internet users in Indonesia (in millions)
Internet User Demographics
According to the Yahoo! and TNS Net Index of Indonesia in 2010, Internet Users tend to be youth of higher social and economic status. However, youths of lower social and economic status are quickly catching up. 
The trend of increasing Internet use is present in cities beyond the capital of Jakarta. At the same time, Indonesians’ reliance on Internet cafes or Warnets is decreasing as the prices of personal computers and home/mobile internet continue to fall.
The preferences for online activities are shifting. Social networking is gaining ground due to the popularity of Facebook and Twitter. Research from Firefly Milward Brown describes social media in Indonesia as a tools for establishing one’s social status in the form of recognition and admiration. Social media is also used for sharing and bonding. 
Indonesia has a low fixed line penetration, with 30 million fixed and fixed-wireless subscribers . This is due to high fixed line cost, averaging about US$100 (US$70 for landline and additional US$30 for ADSL) .
Most of Internet activities therefore are done through Internet café (65%) and other places (46%), which also include Internet activities through mobile phone.
Indonesia has 62.7% mobile penetration rate, and is the 4th largest market for mobile users, trailing behind China, USA, and India. 48% of these users had used their mobile phone to access the Internet. This number is higher than Thailand (36%) and Singapore (35%) 
The fact that most Indonesian uses their mobile phone to access the Internet is unique. While most developing countries progress gradually from no connection to adopting landlines and then to mobile devices, Indonesia has “leapfrog” and head straight to mobile phone as a way to access the Internet .
One of the main reasons of this is due to the fact that at US$ 1.93 per month for “unlimited plan”, Indonesia has one of the cheapest Internet package alongside the United Kingdom. Furthermore, mobile phone offering in Indonesia is getting much more cheaper and varied than before. The high number of usage of Internet through mobile phone has also propelled telecommunication providers, such as Telkomsel, to allocate more than 40% of its 2011 capital expenditure on the development of broadband during the first quarter of 2011 .
Indonesia’s vastly growing mobile internet penetration, therefore, should force marketers worldwide to think about penetration not only with traditional media (where phone and TV are the priority choices in majority of emerging countries), but also develop applications and platforms that would support mobile internet users 
The Rise of Smartphones in Indonesia
The Indonesian mobile market has seen an increase of its demographic using smartphone over the years. Currently, Blackberry OS with a market share of 38% has managed to defeat Symbian devices. This is a huge decrease for Symbian, as previously, it leads the market with a 52% market share.
Not only is the market share of Blackberry rising, Android and iOS is also gaining a larger market share. Indonesian consumers are less enthusiastic when it comes to connecting with Nokia devices than they are with their Blackberry phones nowadays 
Telecom providers are fast to pick up this trend. Indosat, 2nd largest telecommunication provider in Indonesia, is the number 1 Blackberry carrier in Indonesia. As 97% of users in Indonesia use prepaid cards to access the internet, Indosat and other providers starts to give out daily Blackberry access so that more people can access Internet through Blackberry. Even monthly Blackberry paid plan goes for as low as US$17 per month 
As for Blackberry users, Blackberry has equal demographic of users when it comes to gender. Most of the users connect with Blackberry more for personal activities than work purposes. Some of these personal activities include social networking, general search through search engines such as Google, downloading music, and Blackberry messenger 
Other smartphones like iPhone, as compared to Blackberry, has only roughly about 0.003% market penetration in Indonesia, despite its large penetration in other parts of the world . One of the main reason of the low percentage is the fact that iPhone is comparatively more expensive than Blackberry. Telkomsel, one of Indonesia’s leading providers offer iPhone at a price of US$700-US$800, which is almost double the price to that of a new Blackberry device in Indonesia.
Furthermore, Blackberry has a competitive advantage with its Blackbery Messenger and Push E-Mail, which the Indonesian customers make full use of. This, coupled with the fact that the normal Indonesians tend to be unaware of more than 100,000 apps that are available for them to download has made iPhone penetration in Indonesia much less successful than that of its Blackberry counterparts 
On the other hand, Admob statistics suggest that Nokia holds the greatest share in Indonesia’s smartphone industry even though Blackberry is highly popular in Indonesia. Of course, these statistics measure ad requests which Admob received from their network of over 15,000 mobile websites and iPhone and Android applications, and is a measure of mobile data usage instead of the traditional view of market share based on the number of handsets sold. The reason why Nokia dominates Blackberry here could be due to the inclusion of WAP phones within the smartphone category.
Digital Media Platforms
Encompassing a wide variety of platforms like blogs, microblogging, social networking sites, location-based services, BBS, instant messaging services and e-commerce sites, the digital media landscape in Indonesia is vibrant and constantly evolving.
This year, with its tagline ‘Ideas Meet Opportunities’, the event has evolved into a 2-day event which is now catered for 2 groups of people: those who are curious about Social Media, and those who want to gain knowledge, share ideas, network, and find opportunities for partnerships. According to the event’s chairwoman, Aulia Halimatussadiah, ON|OFF 2011 also hopes to be able to incorporate ASEAN social media users as well
Local Blogging Platforms
Indonesia is the 4th-largest Twitter nation worldwide. As of January 2011, there were 4,883,228 twitter accounts established by Indonesia users, and a total of 22,707,725 tweets amassed. Almost 20.8 percent of online users in Indonesia visited Twitter.com in June 2010.  Based on data from Saling Silang, 53 percent of all tweets by Indonesian users are retweets.  Trending topics from January 2011 show that most notably, 20.17 percent of their tweets are about soccer, 10.81 percent about events, 8.11 percent about memes, and 5.20 percent on news. Indonesians also tweet via a range of available Twitter platforms. 43 percent tweet via UberTwitter, 16% through API, and 11 percent tweet from their Blackberries. The data also shows that Twitter drives information to traditional media sources, since 22 percent of links shared on Twitter are directed towards news portals such as Detik, Metro and Republika. 24 percent of tweets share links to Twitter apps, and 18 percent to games. This shows that developing games could in fact be an area marketers can look into in promoting their brands. Only 3 percent of tweets link to photos, 1 percent to Youtube, and 4 percent to foreign news. Photo-sharing and watching videos are still not popular social networking channels in Indonesia.
Social Networking Sites
Indonesia is the 2nd-largest Facebook nation in the world. Facebook was available in the country from 2006, but only really took off in 2008.With less than 1 million users in January 2009, there are now 40,515,180 Indonesian users on Facebook as of mid-October 2011, which is a jump of more than 4.7 million users compared to in March 2011. These results are coupled with the fact that Indonesia’s internet penetration rate has jumped from 14.1 percent in March 2011 to a roaring 21%, according to research conducted by Nielsen. 
Data from Socialbakers show that 89 percent of Facebook users in Indonesia are under the age of 35, with the majority coming from the 18 to 24 year old range at 41 percent. The greatest growth of users between July 2011 and October 2011 also came from this 18 to 24 year old age group 
If Facebook were a country, Jakarta would be its capital. The use of Facebook is concentrated in the capital city of Jakarta, with 50.33 percent of Facebook users in Indonesia. There is a vast 45.31 percentage difference in the number of users from the next city of Bandung . Businesses and marketers may have a harder time reaching Indonesians through the use of Facebook outside of Jakarta. . This places the Indonesian capital at the top of Socialbakers global Facebook cities list with close to 17.5 million members and 18.2 percent penetration, which almost doubles second-ranked Istanbul.
Whilst 16.9 percent of Facebook users in Indonesia use the English language function, the majority of Indonesians at 82.82 percent still use Facebook in Bahasa Indonesia. Marketers can seek opportunities in advertising on Facebook by using Bahasa Indonesia to better reach out to Indonesians .
Location-based apps like Foursquare and Koprol, are gaining in popularity in Indonesia. Based on Alexa traffic data gathered on 10 March 2011, Foursquare was the 210th most popular site. A Google Trends search of data from March 2010 to 2011, shows that Indonesia has the highest number of visitors to foursquare.com, even more than USA and Japan.
In May 2010, Yahoo! acquired the Indonesian start-up, Koprol and since then its user base has grown tremendously with more than 1 million users. In comScore’s report on social networks in Indonesia, Koprol ranks 3rd in pageviews to Facebook and Twitter. Accessible through a mobile phone browser, Koprol allows users to check in at locations and share information with friends.
The competition to provide location-based services is starting to increase with Facebook Places starting to enter the market. IE Market Research Indonesia forecasts the total spend in the Location-based service market in Indonesia to rise to $24.4 million in 2013. 
Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) / Forums
Kaskus is one of Indonesia’s largest forums with over 1,620,000 registered accounts. There is a wide array of discussion topics ranging from general news updates or social issues (for example, Indonesian tax wars), to more light-hearted topics such as movie or restaurant reviews. Forum Jual Beli (FJB), a sub-forum in Kaskus, is quickly becoming the Indonesian equivalent of Craigslist with a wide variety of sub-forums.
Kaskus also leverages on its large member pool and link them to Kaskus Radio, which not only streams live Indonesian and international music but also provides lyrics. This sister site continues to act as a forum as it includes discussion pages, and even links users to MiRC for live chats.
Blackberry Messenger (BBM)
Traditional Media Platforms
Mass media in Indonesia have been growing rapidly since the fall of Suharto in 1998, as it led to greater freedom of the press and higher commercial profits. Despite the proliferation of digital media in recent years, traditional media channels have retained their importance for the communication and advertising industries due to their reach. According to a study by market research company Nielson, TV was still the most popular media for advertising in 2010, accounting for 60% of total advertising spending, followed by newspapers (34%) and magazines (3%).
TelevisionRCTI and Trans TV, are general entertainment TV networks, with a few, like TVOne and Metro TV, that focus on news and sports. Indonesians also have access to many more channels through satellite and cable television systems. Television sets are no longer a luxury item and many homes in the villages and rural areas now have colour television sets.
The TV industry in Indonesia is vast, with a television population of 49.5 million viewers. On average, there are 6.7 million TV viewers every day and viewers spend an average of 4.3 hours a day watching TV. The number of subscribers for paid television channels also grew by 9.7% to 2.86 million people from 2009 and 2010. Advertising spending for television in 2010 was about US$1.92billion, 60% of total advertising spending.
Many of the major TV stations now have websites and are trying to establish an online presence. Some like TVOne offer live streaming of their shows online. Another shift in the industry that has come about due to advances in technology is the introduction of mobile TV in 2009. The service providers, Tren Mobile TV and two subsidiaries of Telekomunikasi Indonesia, initially offered various channels for free. Currently, both free-to-air and paid mobile TV services are available, but the service is limited to the state of Jakarta.
There are over 172 newspapers in Indonesia, with a total daily circulation of about 6 million. A large portion of these are published in Bahasa Indonesia and the rest are published in English or Mandarin. In 2010, companies spent US$1.09 billion on advertising in newspapers. After the fall of Suharto, the laws related to media changed very rapidly. In 1999 President Habibie signed Press Law 40, which removed the ability of the government to ban publications, and guaranteed freedom of the press.
Kompas is the most widely read newspaper in Indonesia. It was started in June 1965 by Kompas-Gramedia Group Publishing and is published in Indonesian. Indonesia's largest English newspaper is the Jakarta Post, which was started in April 1983. Many media companies have established news portals online, allowing readers to access stories and articles from the web.
Under Suharto, radio stations were required to carry news broadcasts from the state. They were banned from doing independent reporting. The association of radio station owners was headed by Suharto's daughter, and licenses were given out to party faithfuls. Within two years after the collapse of the Suharto government in 1998, the number of independent radio stations grew by more than 30%, from about 750 to more than 1000 stations. Radio remains an important medium because it is not constrained by Indonesia's geography and is available even in rural areas.
Today, there are hundreds of community-owned radio stations all across Indonesia. Some of the local stations include: Hard Rock FM, Mustang 88.0, Arief Rahman Hakim (ARH-Global) Radio and RRI Jakarta Pro 3.
Media Companies Online
Indonesia's big media companies have established themselves online not only through their own websites but through microblogging. Below are the most-followed media companies on Twitter. Each of these companies has more than 10,000 followers.
Impacts of Digital Media
Digital media brings the Indonesian market together, creating greater opportunities for businesses to leverage on.Although Internet penetration is very low at 21%, young Indonesians are becoming increasingly tech-savvy. There is also a huge market to scale -products locally before moving on to other markets.
For instance, there are around 500 web start-ups in Indonesia, all with the unprecedented opportunity to reach out to the great mass of Internet users present in Indonesia. Finding each other and collaborating through Twitter, these Indonesian entrepreneurs have forged a friendly and collegial community. In a rapidly growing market, these entrepreneurs get together to discuss their unique market situation and find ways to overcome their common challenges of funding and acquisitions. Foreign firms have begun entering Indonesia too with Yahoo! acquiring location-based service Koprol. 
Advertisers are turning to Twitter to reach their target markets. Popular Twitter users with many followers are termed as “influencers” whom advertisers can pay to promote their products. Celebrities like author Dewi Lestari, TV personality Sarah Sechan and singer Sherina Munaf are some of the “influencers” who have been hired by advertisers. While still in its infancy, some guidelines for promoted tweets have emerged. The sponsored tweets have to be informative and interactive. They also usually do not last past a month as Twitter followers do not stay interested in the same news for long.  
Digital Marketing & Public Relations
WEB 2.0 and Indonesian Businesses
Web 2.0 has been embraced by Indonesian Businesses since around early 2008. These are only some examples of the early adopters who have taken the first step to tap into the potential of Web 2.0.
Facebook used for human trafficking
A junior high school student selling syndicate was arrested while attempting to sell seven girls. According to Chief of Crime and Investigation, Toni Surya Saputra, the suspect confessed to placing all the victims to the market through Facebook.
Facebook has applications like Photos that ease the trafficking procedures. The client looks through the photos and contacts the “agent” once he decides to buy one of the girls. The culprit confessed that this activity has been ongoing for two years.
“We’re still fighting the human trafficking in Indonesia. Our country has one of the highest human trafficking issues in Asia,” said Andi Primaretha, an Indonesian based in Jakarta.
On the flipside, there are groups formed on Facebook to fight Indonesia’s human trafficking problem. A Facebook group titled “Stop Human Trafficking Di Indonesia” has over 700 likes. As Facebook becomes more prevalent, there will be increased pressure on the police to monitor and track down any vice activities conducted on the social network. 
AIMI (Asosiasi Ibu Menyusui Indonesia)/Indonesian Breastfeeding Mothers Association is a non-profit organization established by mothers with a common interest - sharing knowledge on breastfeeding.
This is an organization with a tech-savy twist as according to Nia, Deputy Chairman of AIMI, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) is the primary communication channel within the association.
Through the efficiency and convenience that BBM provides, the group shares knowledge, organizes meetings, set up appointments and invites other mums for breastfeeding classes.
As more women reach out for help, Nia said that she is just a PIN away. Members are encouraged to share Nia’s PIN with women who needed help. Communicating through BlackBerry has helped the organization to reach out to younger mums too.
Putri, the coordinator of classes at AIMI, said BBM has simplified the process of getting mums to sign up for classes. In case class is cancelled, news can be quickly disseminated through BBM. The full interview, by BlackBerry is available here.
Facebook is more than a form of entertainment or amusement for these Indonesian street kids. It helps them build and maintain relationships, which they lack in real life, and hones their communication skills by facilitating intercultural communication between themselves and the international friends they make online. It also provides them with a fresh identity, other than that of “orphan” or “homeless”, and a sense of belonging to a community. Some of these children consider the international friends they have as “family”.
Roughly 15 percent of Indonesia's 150,000 street children have no contact with their families, do not possess any residential status, and some are even without their birth certificate, which renders them effectively unidentifiable. This denies them access to education and health services, and severely limits their opportunities for a better life, in order to escape a vicious cycle of poverty . Facebook has therefore become a platform of education, in terms of playing games that impart them business skills in negotiating and formulating solutions, as well as through interacting with international friends online and discovering more about the world beyond Indonesia.
NGOs such as East Java Humanitarian Network (otherwise known as JKJT) and Save the Children use Facebook to reach out to these street children to offer them advice and company in the late hours of the night where many are found in Indonesia’s internet cafes. Tata Sudrajat, a child protection advocacy and research adviser for Save the Children, highlights that midnight web-surfing is not the ideal solution, especially if used undesirably, such as for Internet pornography, or without careful monitoring. Yet, he acknowledges that the pros outweigh the cons, and Facebook has definitely had a positive impact on Indonesia’s street children.
Partners Qualcomm Incorporated, through its Wireless Reach™ initiative, is working with Grameen Foundation to co-create income-earning opportunities tailored to the needs of the poor, while bringing new types of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) products and services to Indonesia’s underserved communities through the Village Phone (VP) Microfranchising program. The poverty levels of microfranchisees entering this program and their changing poverty status over time is tracked by the Progress Poverty Index (PPI), a tool also available for the industry.
It is proven that wireless technology can improve people’s lives across the developing world in this alliance. “What’s startling is that after 4 months, 47% of the people enrolled in the Village Phone Microfranchising initiative, (in which local entrepreneurs sell cell phone airtime to villagers), moved above the poverty line,” according to Cheri Mitchell, Director of Institutional Relations, Grameen Foundation. “We find that we can empower new ways for people to earn a living through technology. We next want to build on the Village Phone Microfinancing initiative foundation to push the development of new applications that focus on income-earning and business education opportunities so that we can have a greater social impact.”
Government Clamps Down on Media
Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam called on government institutions to implement an advertising boycott on media organizations that portrayed Indonesia in a negative light, claiming that a number of television stations and newspapers have repeatedly criticized the government openly. He implied that negative news, such as crime stories that apparently referenced Indonesia’s recent religious violence situation, that the media reports could deter foreign investors. Owing to the fact that the government owned the money that was spent on media outlets, he claimed that the government should not support media organizations that were overly critical. He had further advised government officials to decline requests for interviews.
Social media platforms have therefore become a popular outlet for unhappy citizens to voice their dissent towards the government, since their traditional media faces a possible clampdown in open journalism. There have been anonymous Twitter users who have been making brazen claims about certain politicians. One such user named @Benny_Israel has about 26,000 followers, and tweeted about claiming knowledge of inside information on issues like the Gayus Tambunan affair. Another user @Fahri_Israel, who has roughly 1,150 followers, uploaded a sex video that he claimed featured Anis Matta, a deputy House speaker from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) in what appears to be an attempt to undermine the party ahead of the 2014 elections.
The Pioneer of E-Commerce in Indonesia:
The pioneer of E-Commerce in Indonesia was an online bookstore called Sanur. Inspired by Amazon.com, Sanur tried to become the first Indonesian online bookstore. Today, Sanur has thousands of transactions per month, offering 30,000 books and having 11,000 customers.
E-commerce is growing:
Today, e-commerce is growing in Indoensia. In 2009, the value of online transactions totals at approximately Rp 35 trillion. Unfortunately, local players are having problems capturing this huge potential. Online transactions are still dominated by foreign players. Nevertheless, web entrepreneurs are on the rise in Indonesia and the future of E-commerce in the domestic market looks promising. According to a release issued by Forrester Research, 2010, Indonesia’s e-commerce market potential globally to reach U.S. $ 172.9 billion. 
Advertising can actually be lucrative, even at this nascent stage. Part of that is because many global brands are waking up to the Indonesia’s large, untapped market and there are few mass media platforms to advertise over. Kaskus makes $50,000 (US) a month in advertising, more than double what it takes to run the business every month. 
Obstacles to E-commerce Growth:
Many local merchants are still waiting for the right time. They are afraid that doing business through Internet will bring additional cost that will not correspond to transaction revenue. Shipment or delivery is another handicap, since some merchants do not have or maintain a good, reliable, and fast delivery system. The biggest problem seems to be the lack of a good payment system, and only a few banks already run Internet banking services. Most e-commerce providers still have an offline payment system, while few run a semi-manual system. Also, few people have credit cards and banks don’t have a universal payment system that e-commerce can exploit.
Indonesia is a country composed of 17,000 islands with unstable geographic conditions. In the last few months of 2010 alone, it experienced the “Triple Disasters” -- the major flooding in Papua, the tsunami in Mentawai islands, and the volcanic eruption in Central Java. Organizing aid relief efforts has proved a challenge, particularly in regions where infrastructure was destroyed. Hence, enterprising and tech-savvy citizens are taking measures into their own hands, coordinating relief through various social media channels:
One good example would be the 2010 Mount Merapi eruption. Jalin Merapi, a group of residents living near the Mount Merapi volcano, has been actively using Twitter for relief. The moment someone sends out a tweet announcing that there are food rations in a neighboring town, over a dozen cars were ready to deliver them within 10 minutes. On another occasion, the group tweeted a need to prepare meals for 30,000 people; within four hours, it was done. In November 2010 alone, Jalin Merapi has posted over 12,000 tweets on its account, and has attracted over 33,000 followers (Refer to Twitter Heat Map on the right). The organization's primary goal is to efficiently allocate resources to the roughly 700 shelters scattered around Mount Merapi, where more than 200,000 refugees have sought protection.
Alanna Shaikh , global health professional and author on UN Dispatch, discusses Tweeting Mount Merapi as a new form of disaster response which, according to her, is not necessarily the best tool. “It has no way to verify accurate information, the data stream is full of random clutter, and it can slow or crash because of rumors.” Nevertheless, she agrees that people use the technology they are most familiar with when crisis strikes. “In the case of Indonesia, that was Twitter.”
Mobile Social Networks:
On December 21 2010, The World Health Organization’s (WHO) South-East Asia Regional Office (SEARO) launched an initiative to bring emergency preparedness information to mobile users in disaster-prone Indonesia. Supported by popular mobile chat service MXit, messaging management system JamiiX and social innovation movement RLabs, this new approach is critical for a country like Indonesia, which can be shaken by multiple earthquakes in a day.
This initiative allows Indonesians using MXit chat to access personal preparedness information, including the course of action in the case of different natural disasters like tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions; how to prepare an emergency kit and how to plan for possible evacuation. This information is coupled with facts on safe hospitals in disaster zones. People are strongly encouraged to sign up on MXit and through Facebook and JamiiX reaction testers to help the campaign reach it’s 1 million supporter target.
Apps have also become a medium for disaster relief. An application for Android named “Indonesia Disaster Relief” will donate $5 to UNICEF each time the app is purchased. However, such apps have yet to secure the trust of the general public and is has not been effective.
Blackberry to Filter Porn in Indonesia
Blackberry, which is manufactured by Canadian-based technology company Research in Motion (RIM), was given a deadline of 21st January 2011 to create a pornography website filter for its Indonesian smartphones. Blackberry phones are usually connected to local internet service providers, but in Indonesia, its phones are directly linked to RIM’s Canadian-based servers. As such, officials from the information ministry expect RIM to bring in hardware directly from Canada, which do not comply with the needs and requirements of the Indonesian ministry. Since Indonesia is currently Blackberry’s largest market in Southeast Asia, the company is determined to create the filter by the placed deadline. In addition, RIM will be working with carrier partners to enable content filtering. Communications and Information Technology Minister Tifatul Sembiring has further demanded that RIM create a data center in Indonesia, allowing open access for law enforcement officers to track down law breakers using BlackBerry smartphones.
The Ariel Sex Tape Saga
New Media: Tool for Democracy or Moral Decay? In 2011, the sex-tape saga of famous singer Nazril Irham, better known as Ariel, in bed with his girlfriend Luna Maya, a top model and actress in Indonesia, went viral.
The story dominated headlines for a week and sparked a wave of chatter on social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. But just as controversial was the reaction of officials in the newly democratic nation.
Several high schools were raided for mobile phones so the offending clips could be removed. Some ministers said the incident pointed, once again, to moral decay and the need for stricter regulations of the Internet. As the videos were uploaded onto Facebook, YouTube and distributed via mobile devices, both students and working adults tottered on the verge of sexual hysteria. Teenagers said after teachers launched daily raids, they started removing the footage from their phones ahead of class only to later download it again, via tools such as bluetooth.
The Ministry of Information and Technology of Indonesia immediately set out to deploy firewalls for more than 2,000 Internet cafes around the country to “protect children from harm”. Also, nearly 500 members of various furious Islamic groups protested outside the court with banners bearing slogans such as "Banish pornography from the face of the earth". Finally, the court sentenced Ariel to 3.5 years in jail.
Nevertheless, the verdict sparked a backlash from Ariel's tech-savvy supporters on the Internet, where "#FreeAriel" became the most popular Indonesian hashtag on Twitter on 31 January 2011.
One of thousands of Tweets said, "The Pornography Act has been used to criminalise the privacy rights of citizens,” referring to a 2008 law prosecutors used to charge Ariel. Many argued while it is important to protect the young, new media is instrumental in helping democratize the country. They believe that freedom of information and personal access rights have to be protected as well.
Blackberry Indonesia Security Issues
Along with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, one of the largest providers of Blackberry services in Southeast Asia with more than 1 million users, is mulling a Blackberry ban. It demands a change to RIM’s policy of encrypting and routing emails through its own servers. The country deems this a threat to their sovereignty, concerned that information could be used by criminals or spies. Hence, the Ministry of Communication and Information expects RIM to install local servers rather than direct traffic internationally. Although Blackberry was unmoved, RIM is in a tough spot: they can’t afford to lose millions of customers any more than they can compromise their security to please local governments.
However, Communications Ministry spokesman Gatot Dewa Broto denied plans to ban the Blackberry. According to him, the government just recommended that RIM open a data centre in Indonesia so the data doesn't have to be routed through Canada.
Facebook vs Islamic Rules
In May 2009, a group of Muslim clerics from Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization, the Nahdatul Ulama, recommended devising regulations to govern how Muslims use Facebook — pitting the nation’s religious against its increasing modernity.
The clerics were concerned that social-networking sites could be used to flirt, leading to illicit affairs, adultery or the unimaginable. Their concerns are valid in the Islamic community and it is not the first time -- Muslim leaders in Indonesia have had concerns with Friendster and MySpace before Facebook became popular.
An article from the Global Post says that this situation is blown out of proportion by the Indonesian press, which incorrectly reported that the clerics had issued a fatwa, or a religious edict, that banned Muslims from using Facebook. Nevertheless, this has not stopped Facebook from becoming the most visited website in Indonesia. In fact, Facebook believes there is tremendous growth potential in Indonesia as more and more far flung villages get wired.
Top 5 Digital Media Trends
1. Tap on the mobile market
There is more potential on the mobile market as consumers are accessing the Internet through their smartphones.
2. Shift from Broadcasting to Connecting
With so many Indonesians using Twitter, even companies are beginning to take notice and join in the conversation.
3. Tech Entrepreneurship is on the rise
Driven by the rapidly growing population using Social Media tools, tech entrepreneurship is rising to meet the needs of consumers.
4. E-commerce will reach its critical mass
Traditionally reliant on brick-and-mortar retailing, Indonesians are slowly taking to online shopping and retailing. As online transaction platforms improve, consumers will soon have convenient and safe means to make their purchases online.
5. Mobile advertising expenditure will increase
The increase in mobile internet penetration means that mobile advertising can be performed in new and more effective ways. For instance, advertising in the form of location-based targeting presents a new way to reach out to consumers directly.
Top 5 Up & Coming Local Digital Media Platforms
Hear from the Experts: 5 Exclusive Interviews
Interview with Kemas Fadhli
1. With the 63% mobile penetration rate in Indonesia, more and more Indonesians choose to access Internet through their mobile phones. Why?
YFirst of all, Indonesia is a price conscious market where everybody is willing to spend more money when the price is cheaper. Internet for mobile phone, in this case, is better because operators provide various affordable packages – 0.5 IDR or less than 0.1 cent USD per Kb.
On top of that, there is also a package for unlimited usage, which is about 10 USD per month with 2GB usage. Comparing these packages to what is available in other countries, they are still the cheapest.
Selling Blackberry is like selling peanuts in Indonesia; everyone is using it. People use Blackberry to connect with others through Blackberry Messengers, Twitter, Facebook, and other instant messaging applications.
However, the key reason behind Blackberry’s popularity in Indonesia, I think, is how the phone symbolizes social status. For instance, when you meet your friend, he or she will ask you whether you have a Blackberry and your PIN number.
As for Telkomsel, we are currently the largest provider when it comes to Blackberry service penetration. We provide the users with special packages, giving them free data bonus or free Internet services when they purchase a new Blackberry.
When RIM came to Indonesia, they tried to minimise the existing price wars and decided to keep the price for Blackberry services to the minimum. However, for Internet accesses such as to Youtube, these users would still have to pay a normal rate.
Telkomsel, therefore, initiated Blackberry Extreme. This package combines both Internet and Blackberry services at affordable rates.
First, Indonesia is indeed a big market but currently, people only use social media. They only use the different instant messaging applications, Facebook and Twitter. In fact, there is a rumour out there saying that people are looking for any smartphones that allow them to access Facebook.
With the current situation, it is definitely an opportunity for Internet marketers. However, it is important to note that Indonesia is still learning; people know about Internet, but they are still afraid to do transactions over the Internet. Telecommunication providers, e-commerce and other businesses need to start educating the people about the different benefits they can obtain from the Internet.
The biggest would still be the operators such as Telkomsel, XL and Indosat. Despite the fact that we have a certain limited bandwith, we also try to sell as many services and contents as possible. By contents we mean value-added services.
Application owners would also benefit from this trend. The contents referred previously come from developers and application owners alike.
Interview with Ratri Adityarani
1. How different is social media in Indonesia from other Southeast Asian countries?
I believe the cultures play a big role in making social media grow in Indonesia. The emphasis of Indonesian cultures is on friendliness, curiosity and togetherness. Therefore, the people love to socialize, share their daily experiences, and connect with one another through digital media. This has become an integral part of their lives.
Government has set clear regulations in information technology. This is essential to ensure the growth of businesses in digital platform.
Yes. For examples, the government is working along with RIM as well as other providers to regulate the contents accessed through Internet. Since Indonesians like to use Internet and mobile phones to socialise, I think it is important that government is making good regulations that define what is appropriate to be share across digital media.
Be friendly and informative through social media. For examples, share what the company has to offer to the people using Twitter, Facebook and even Foursquare. Businesses in Indonesia like to share photos and positive experiences through these platforms. By doing so, they can communicate with the market so that they know each other, what the market wants, what the market has and what what they can provide the market with.
It is true that Indonesia is still left behind in IT infrastructure. Internet connection is comparatively still very poor. Lack of human resources, infrastructure, equipments, regulations and education in information technology are some of the big issues that prevent the growth of this industry.
This is not just government’s responsibility but also the people as a whole. There is a growing passion people have here to jump into digital world. Internet cafes and Internet through mobile phones are some of the examples that are no longer separable from Indonesians nowadays. If all of the issues above are succesfully handled, Indonesia could overcome the gap between low skills set and high social media usage. Indonesia could be more competitive with other Asian countries.
Interview with Rama Mamuaya
1. What do you think are the most challenges faced by tech start-ups in Indonesia?
There are several challenges. The main one is the support the from government in terms of policy making for Intellectual Property, Foreign/Domestic Investment policy and also regulations to protect and support both small internet companies and internet consumers.
It is almost mandatory. Almost every TV commercial ad in Indonesia now invites people to connect with it through Facebook and Twitter. This is especially the case for brands with young target audience. Even small shops such as boutiques, restos, bars and clubs are now considerably well connected to their fans and followers.
Indonesia has a culture to stay connected to peers around and it is in our blood to keep in touch with everyone. Social media brings this culture online. That is why it is very easy for Indonesians to understand the concept of social networking because they have doing it all along, offline.
I don’t convince them. Most investors coming to Indonesia already know why they are here. They just do not know which company to invest to. Friends in Silicon Valley once told me that Indonesia is now a big significant market that US companies and investors try to grab. So, I don’t really need to convince anyone about the importance of this growing and emerging market.
Interview with Pitra Satvika
1. Do you think that proliferation of social media such as Facebook in Indonesia and Twitter, which is a form of micro blogging, has made an impact in the way people blog?
Yes, some of my friends have been blogging less simply because now they tweet. Previously, most of what is written in the blogs are daily stuff: what they do, what they need. When they use twitter, most of those daily rants will be done through Twitter.
I remember that whenever we have gatherings, the press will write about it. Now, even the recent Social Media Festival, I can only see two to three bloggers write about that.
The first time I wrote blog, there was no Facebook; there was only a social network we know as Friendster. I mostly discussed what brands are available in digital media. Most of the times, brands often used their own websites or Friendster.
Over time, when Facebook came, and Twitter becomes more popular, most brands decided to do their campaigns using these channels. In my opinion, the media has grown so far in the last three years. There is more than 100% increase in the number of Facebook users in Indonesia. Even people in rural areas started using Facebook to connect.
For examples, in Jogjakarta, a becak (traditional rickshaw) driver promotes himself in Facebook. Even foreigners know about him through Facebook.
This depends on the objective of the campaign. If the objective is to create conversations and buzz, blogs are still effective. However, to create sales, using blogs and Facebook is tougher. Brands create campaigns in digital media in Indonesia mostly just to create buzz and awareness about a certain message.
People in Indonesia use social media simply because others use them. People get acquainted to Facebook because their friends started to use Facebook. The same goes for Twitter.
Previously, before Twitter, there is a site called plurk.com. About two years ago, the site was pulled out from Indonesia. After that, people start migrating to Twitter, then everyone follows suit.
If there are other channels introduced to Indonesia in 2012, they may still become popular and once they are, the people will flock to those new channels.
Kaskus is still popular. It is one of the biggest traffic. Even Twitter traffic is less than that of Kaskus. Instagram is another thing that is uprising nowadays and again, people flock to it simply because other people use it too.
Interview with Enda Nasution
1. What is the inspiration behind Social Media Festival 2011?
The plan started when we found SalingSilang.com in early 2010. After that, we think that we need to have something almost by the end of 2011. Originally, it was going to be a one-week engagement, but we finally settle on 3-day festival which started on Thursday and run through the end of the week, as it is the busiest social media days.
We also think that it is important to have a sit down and talk with one another, so that is where the whole ida of the social media festival comes together. We also want it to be a stage where everybody can introduce his or her stuff, and know everybody else.
2. Is there any impact that you have seen in the digital media scene as the results of the festival?
From the twitter timeline, we know that this event has a positive reception; they can’t even wait to have another event like this. Through this event, we get to know one another, make contact, friends and expand our network. This event, at the same time, shows how Indonesians actually have enthusiasm towards the media itself.
You need to look at the demographic. 90% of Internet users are young, and are under 35 years old. These people are active and living in the urban area and use mobile phones very actively. They are also living in a democratic country where freedom of speech is important. Just today, I heard that Indonesia is ranked 3rd in terms of freedom of speech and press. That also comes with the fact that the economy is growing positively.
A lot of people in Indonesia also like to be social, and be close to their friends and family. That is part of our identity. This, coupled with the fact that Indonesia has a very active stance towards media, makes the spread through social media faster in Indonesia.
4. Can you provide us with successful stories of how companies actually implemented a good integrated digital media strategy within their businesses?
Usually these companies are not big corporations; they are rather small companies that do not have the capacity and capital to use mainstream media.
An example would be HolyCow steak. The steak restaurant at the south of Jakarta uses social media get everyone know about the restaurant. Now, it is known to be one of the best places to have steak in Jakarta.
The idea actually came after we did an experiment with several other properties of our own. We started with dagdigdug.com which is a blog provider, and politikana.com, which is an online discussion political site.
The idea is that by 2010, we want Indonesians to use social media more actively. We want people to interact more, so that they can have an increased level of confidence and have abilities to exchange ideas, which will then make Indonesia better as a whole.
Currently, in SalingSilang, we have about 20 communities that are from different networks based on different interests. From these communities, we also know one thing about Indonesia – the lack of data. It is very hard to find a useful data, especially in our digital atmosphere. That was what we experience when we tried to help our clients. We then decided to create the tool and we started to create more and more data available online.
We also want our digital media landscape to grow to be a better industry. In order to do so, we need to have strong and valid data. Basically, we are still growing in operations. I think we still need to have a year or so to know where we are going to be and what is going on to the whole network. The idea is to expand the 20 networks that we have to 50 – 100 networks.
Trending Topics on Twitter: Pocari Sweat
Tweets from Indonesia have often come up as trending topic on twitter. It is estimated that more than 53% of tweets from Indonesia are retweets, and this has been described as the main reason as to why Indonesian topics are often becoming headlines in the trending topic space on twitter.
One of the first initial accounts that have successfully exerted this power is Adrie Subono, an Indonesian music promoter. He will often hold quizzes, in which the winner could gain free access / ticket to concerts that is held by his music promoter company, Java Musikindo. As Indonesians take to Twitter and retweet the answer, the hashtag traffic increases, thereby resulted in his quizzes being the trending topic, even more so than any other topics globally.
One of the other examples of successful account will be that of Irfan Bachdim, an Indonesian soccer player. When he tweeted advertising for Pocari Sweat (a brand of isotonic drink), a lot of his fans actually retweeted his tweet, and it has created in a trending topic of Irfan Bachdim and Pocari Sweat, further propelling the brand awareness of Pocari Sweat to the global market.
This is a good case study on how, with the right amount of support and spokesperson, any marketers can disseminate their message successfully in the Indonesian market, or at the very least, create a better brand awareness on their products / services.
Catapulting into Fame: From Humble beginnings to YouTube sensations
Internet in Indonesia has become a hotspot for Internet sensations. In early July 2010, two girls from the area of Bandung, West Java posted a homemade video of themselves lip-synced to a previously unknown song, entitled “Keong Racun” / (Poisonous Snails). When both of them decided to post the video in YouTube, little that they know that the spread of it will be so wide. With its catchy lyrics and jovial dance moves in their video, in just over a month, the video had reach more than 1.2 million views. Currently as of October 2011, they have over more than 7 million views.
When it was initially launched, Indonesians took to Twitter and actually made this video a trending topic for 3 days in a row. The video is also linked to other channels like Facebook, further propelling the buzz that they already created. Soon, Sinta and Jojo become national celebrities with engagements in talk show and also music videos .
Another noted Internet sensation is Briptu Norman Kamaru. Previously, he was a policeman in Gorontalo’s (North Sulawesi) mobile brigade. As a way to entertain his friend who was having personal problems at that time, he made a video, recorded from his mobile phone, of himself dancing and lip syncing to Shah Rukh Khan’s Chaiya Chaiya, a popular Hindi hit song.
The video then soon became a viral sensation in the local Internet scene in Indonesia, with this topic being trending topic in Twitter for over days. Up until now, the original video in YouTube has received over 2,963,341 views. He soon resigned from his duty as a police, and has earned himself fame by appearing in talk shows and launching singles called “Aku Gila Cinta” (Crazy in Love), which uses heavily samples from the the Chaiya Chaiya song. This, as a result, has catapulted him to the rank of a celebrity in Indonesia.
These two examples show that Indonesia do has a strong power in spreading YouTube videos virally.
Indonesia Bercerita: Crowdsourcing for Children’s Education in the Indonesian Web Market
Indonesia Bercerita has been an example of successful crowdsourcing in the Indonesia digital landscape. Started as an initiative by Budi Setiawan and a group of friends in Twitter, Indonesia Bercerita is a website where one can download podcast of children’s stories for free.
Its aim is to educate the public and provide children something that has a strong educational purpose in the digital world. Not only do the premise of the website unique, it is a good form of crowdsourcing, whereby anyone from Indonesia can share their story by providing a podcast and upload it conveniently through the Indonesia bercerita website. 
Currently, this website has had a very strong reach. It has over 6,380 Twitter followers and 4,477 Facebook followers. 
Its creativity has also resulted in awards, such as the “Best of the Web Awards” from Bubu Awards in 2011. It also expect to broaden its reach, one of the example is by publishing some of the stories in a book called 22 Hari Bercerita (Telling Stories in 22 Days), where all the proceeds will go to the donation to expand the website  .
Prita Mulyasari: Freedom of Speech
Data has shown that the reasons for overwhelming success of blogs and social networks in Indonesia, despite its low internet penetration, is their desire for freedom of speech and vocalize their thoughts and opinions. This case was Indonesia’s first big social cause case that helped turn Indonesia into a social network nation.
In this case, a Facebook cause page was set up to harness the voice of those who disagreed with the Omni International Hospital and Attorney General’s Office’s overreaction to Prita Mulyasari's complaint.
In mid-2009, Prita, a 32-year-old housewife had sent an email to friends complaining about the inaccurate diagnosis and treatment she received from Omni Hospital in Banten, that she claimed, in her letter, had caused her breathing difficulties and a worsened condition. That e-mail was spread online via numerous mailing lists. Word got to the Omni Hospital and it accused her of defamation.
She was labelled a suspect of violating the Electronic Information Transaction Law, and was detained in Tangerang women’s prison for 3 weeks. This sparked fury within the online community in Indonesia. A Facebook cause group called “Dukungan Bagi Ibu Prita Mulyasairi, Penulis Surat Keluhan Melalui Internet Yang Ditahan” (in English, it reads “Support for Mrs. Prita Mulyasairi, Complaint Letter Writer Arrested Through The Internet”) in support of her reached over 250,000 members. Another website dedicated to the same cause is sometimes unreachable because of heavy traffic.