Indonesian media consumers have become more familiar with podcasts. Research by Roy Morgan
in March 2019 shows that 1.56 million people in the country downloaded audio or video podcasts. Accessibility and the intimacy of the medium, among other factors, have helped podcasts break through in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.
Editor-in-Chief of Kantor Berita Radio, Citra Dyah Prastuti, believes podcasting is an opportunity not to be missed. The broadcaster launched KBR Prime podcast in 2018 and Citra thinks podcasts can win the hearts and minds of millions of Indonesians. ‘’Creating a podcast is something that can be easily done by radio stations. We have the journalistic and storytelling skills,’’ she said.
Citra feels that podcasts also make business sense. ‘’One of the reasons why we produced podcasts is because there is sustainability to it,’’ she said. ‘’Change is inevitable. People want information, but they have limited time. Podcasts can fit into that demand.''
Citra explained that when podcasts first garnered popularity, many people thought the Indonesian market would have similarities with the US market. According to The Infinite Dial 2019
, the podcast listeners there tunes in to podcasts while walking (49 percent), while another 43% listen to during exercising, and 37% enjoy podcasts while commuting.
The Infinite Report 2019 shows how Americans listen to podcasts while doing numerous activities.
Yet, after KBR Prime was launched, Citra immediately knew there was a major difference between the two markets. ‘’Turns out the two countries are so different. From KBR Prime we realised that the majority of our audience would listen to podcasts right before going to bed,’’ she explained. Citra also added that the challenge of introducing podcasts to corporates and media audiences is that podcasts are synonymous with entertainment. ‘’Because podcasts are distributed via music streaming apps, people immediately think they are for entertainment purposes only,’’ Citra added. She added that entertainment and horror podcasts are particularly popular in Indonesia.
One of the podcasts that has been running for almost two years is Shindu’s Scoop
under Podme.id. The podcast is available in both audio and video. Medcom.id’s Editor, Shindu Alpito, explains that music journalists struggle to find reference material.
‘’We’d like to imagine that one day, our video interviews will be useful for research or documentary films,’’ Shindu said adding that with audio or video the audience can pick up nuances like facial expression and tone which don’t come across in print.
As of today, KBR Prime has published 24 podcast albums that are related to science, technology, and society. ‘’There are many institutions that have worked with KBR Prime, one of them is the Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG), with Gambut Bakisah
. We can forge partnerships with organisations that share the same values as our newsroom, for example promoting tolerance, gender equality, and mental health,’’ she said.
While Kantor Berita Radio has developed KBR Prime as a programme, journalists Tio Prasetyo Utomo and Pangeran Siahaan created a network to produce various podcasts, Box2Box Indonesia, in 2018. ‘’At that time there weren’t many people podcasting. Slowly but surely we are sure it will be the next big thing,’’ Tio said.
‘’We produce podcasts that are close to who we are, for example with Podcast Om Om, my friends and I talk about our daily lives as married men who have children,’’ Tio explained. To date, Box2Box Indonesia has produced podcasts for various corporations such as Grab Indonesia, DANA, Ultra Milk, and Closeup toothpaste. Box2Box Indonesia seeks money from adlibs and build-in placements. He explained, all companies have podcast potential and anything can be made into a podcast.
To reach more audience, the people behind Box2Box Indonesia use their own social media accounts. Pangeran alone has more than 161,000 followers online. Box2Box Indonesia continues to expand and has had at least 50 podcasts. ‘’We convince brands that podcasting is a new way of promoting their brand or campaign,’’ Tio said.
Citra, Tio, and Shindu agree that there is no perfect formula when it comes to producing podcasts, especially since we are in the midst of a pandemic. For Tio, excellent audio quality remains essential. ‘’We tried recording using Zoom, but the production is harder since everyone has to record using their phone to ensure audio synchronization between podcasters. Recording in a studio is still the best option. We still use Zoom if sources can’t travel,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Shindu says people are more likely to listen to an episode if the interviewee is famous. An interview with Bimbim Slank becomes the most-streamed episode on Shindu’s Scoop. ‘’We feel that our interviewees hold a pivotal role,’’ he said.
‘’This is the million-dollar question, good content does not always translate to more traffic. We always try to combine good theme with relevant sources,’’ Citra said. An episode of Love Buzz album featured celebrity Dena Rachman received good traffic from the audience. ‘’But that doesn’t mean we always interview famous people because Love Buzz is about sexual minorities,’’ she said.
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