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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    27 June 2012

Internet 2nd largest media in Indonesia overtaking newspapers


The drumroll on the passing of print media just got faster and louder.

The newest Yahoo! TNS Net Index study reveals that the Internet has usurped newspapers to assume the position of the second-largest media in Indonesia early this year, mirroring the broadening reach of the online realm domestically.

The fourth annual study on Indonesia's media consumption was conducted in 12 cities, including Jakarta, Makassar and Denpasar, capturing market conditions in the first quarter of this year.

The study reveals that in the first quarter of this year, Internet penetration in the cities surveyed hit 57 per cent. Newspapers and radio lagged behind at 55 and 40 per cent, respectively, while television maintained its throne with a 100 per cent penetration.

David Jeffs, Yahoo!'s head of insights for the Southeast Asian and Indian region, said that Indonesia had entered the second phase of Internet growth, marked by a significant presence of Internet users from second tier cities, wider age groups and broader social-economic statuses.

"Internet penetration has reached second tier cities and is not dominated by the youth market anymore," Jeffs said at the launch of the report in Jakarta.

Hansal Savla, a technical advisor at TNS, added that second tier cities, such as Semarang, Palembang and Makassar, saw penetration rising rapidly.

Internet reach in Palembang has outdone Jakarta, the study shows. Penetration in Jakarta stands at 63 per cent, or almost doubles the 2009 figure.

However, Palembang saw penetration nearly triple in the last four years, touching 64 per cent.

"In the first phase, big cities led Internet penetration. However, in this second phase, the Internet penetration in second tier cities continues to improve year-on-year," Savla said.

He added that middle-aged Internet users were reshaping the age demographics of the online population too as more people in this age group became hooked to the Internet.

The study shows that the reach of the Internet is still highest among 15 to 19 year olds, with 89 per cent of them engaging in online activities.

Yet, the Internet's reach among 30 to 34 year olds tripled within four years to 54 per cent. In the same period, Internet reach among 35 to 39 year olds quadrupled to 52 per cent.

"Initially, the youth were the ones who started off Internet penetration. But in the second phase, it is the middle- and older-aged groups," Savla said.

He added that older adults gravitated toward news and information content while the youth primarily sought entertainment and social networking content.

Besides reaching more age groups, the Internet has increasingly touched the lower rungs of society.

The study shows that the Internet reached 75 per cent of people whose monthly household expenditures surpassed 2.5 million rupiah (US$265), 64 per cent of those with expenditures between 1.75 million rupiah ($185) and 2.5 million rupiah ($265), and 48 per cent of those whose expenditures were between 900,000 rupiah ($95) and 1.75 million rupiah ($185).

As with other studies, Savla pointed out that the increasing affordability of Internet-capable cellular phones and Internet data plans had facilitated access to the Internet.

"For many of today's youth, their first phone is a smartphone, unlike those 30-years-old and above, whose first phone is a feature phone," he noted, adding that although the feature phone ruled the market, its domination took a 10 per cent dip to 80 per cent in market share.

Considering these trends, the only way Internet reach can go is up. The number of Internet users in Indonesia is roughly 40 million, various studies show.

"In the next three years, there will be 16 million new Internet users," Savla said.

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