Why you are not Succeeding Selling into Indonesia

Bridging expectations between content providers and local needs

A recent discussion with significant buyers in Indonesia has shone light on what could be the main barriers faced by foreign content producers, as they attempt market penetration. While the country itself holds appealing potential based on market size, and the extent of various content platforms available, the reality is, content providers continue to rack their brains on how to crack open this market.

The key takeaway?

Localisation, beyond finished content.

The capacity of the Indonesian market presents a buffet of money-spinning narrative, including it being home to the fourth highest number of TV households in the world at 68 million (Omdia, 2020); such numbers suggesting increasing prospects in the OTT space, subscription/ad revenue growth and content demand.

Equation: Good Content ≠ Right Content

So, it is agreed that the right content is not one that has proven success everywhere else in the world, but one that the platforms’ biggest stakeholders, i.e., the Indonesian grassroots, want. Across the board, from dramas to animation to movies, local will always win hands down (99%), leaving foreign finished content – apart from the usual suspects of Korean and Indian offerings – a highly challenging slew of products to sell.

For foreign production houses, there is a higher success rate to sell their formats more than anything else, allowing a re-make on local terms. Alternatively, their best bet would be to produce local content and this, more often than not, means working with local production houses. Further, being sensitive to cost of production was also flagged as a huge warning marker, as the local and foreign estimation of an acceptable budget has had a history of incompatibility. Understanding local budgets, and what a local version of a high budget production is, will get you over a massive barrier right out of the blocks.

Based on insights shared during the ATF PLUGGED-iN SERiES 2020 webinar, and set against ATF’s in session polling, a distinct disparity emerged, where an astounding 92% of attendees were profoundly focused on selling their finished content. This, in a stark contrast to only 3% who were receptive to various approaches of collaboration, be it in co-financing or co-production.

What is your main objective looking at the Indonesian market?

Source: ATF PLUGGED-iN SERiES 2020 | Indonesian Buyers Speak (May, 2020)

All is Not Lost

A follow-up discussion with the Indonesian buyers have, however, revealed a certain flexibility – beyond  the accentuated assets of language and cultural proximity – as any veteran buyer would know, a good story will garner viewers no matter what, and no matter which platform.

For the full recording of ATF’s PLUGGED-iN SERiES 2020 – Indonesian Buyers Speak, visit www.asiatvforum.com/en-us/ATF-Plugged-In-Series.html

“I prefer to start a discussion about formats (to buy) before having a meeting, share all that is necessary, and finally meet those unique ones that can be a key success for viewers.”

Ario Bagus Widyatmiko, Chief Content Officer, PT. Digdaya Duta Digital

“For FTA, the demographic covers what digital doesn’t: those above 40 and housewives. In this light, local drama is by far the strongest performing content on this platform. Looking at foreign content, and perhaps due to cultural proximity, Indian content does very well here.”

Banardi Rachmad, Head of Programming Acquisition, PT. Surya Citra Televisi (SCTV)

“The Indonesian masses are not as sophisticated as audiences from, for example, Japan, or Europe or even the US.

“Do you even know the demographics of the Indonesian masses? More than 50% of our audience are below 40 years old, meaning, it is a market dominated mostly by the young.

“In a nutshell, having content that meet these 2 major pointers have greater chances of being considered for acquisition.”

Hendy Lim, Content & Channel Vice President, Indonesia Entertainment Group (IEG)