Friday, August 18, 2006

Independence Day: TV7 is now “occupied territory”

After one whole day of flag ceremony live from the Presidential Palace, pop artists singing patriotic hymns, and major local corporations (mainly the cigarette manufacturers) airing their oh-so-touching minute long “Viva Indonesia” TV commercials, on the evening of the 61st year independence of Indonesia, I witnessed a the airing of a variety show that was held in the front yard of the TransTV’s building. What’s different about it is that the same show was also being broadcasted on TV7. To me this was the first collaborative effort since the merge that took place earlier this month. The question is: was it a collaborative effort, or was TV7 left with no choice but to air it simultaneously? To the audience, the Konser Kemerdekaan was probably the first look at this union, in which TV7 did almost nothing but relay the broadcast of its sister station.

On August 4, it was announced that TransTV’s parent company has bought 49% of TV7. During the press conference, Trans TV’s Chairul Tandjung was quoted as saying that he hopes that this synergy of two TV stations would be a good momentum to build the nation through television. He also said “The strategy of this cooperation is to gear TV7 to a better direction” and that “the TV station’s function in information disbursement and educational tool, will be packed in an entertainment form.”

But what does Mr. Tandjung actually mean by that? One can claim just about any program would have some educational values. Even “The Price is Right” could be claimed “educational” as it provides information on consumer goods prices, so that viewers could become more “educated customers”. Well, recently KPI’s Ade Armando wrote a critique over TransTV’s “Selebriti Juga Manusia” pseudofictional-drama that had violated journalism ethics, promote bad taste, and really pissed off the guys from Partai Amanat Nasional. The last factor there was the one that really made the difference, and TransTV made the decision not to air the 2nd episode of the Gusti Randa and wife’s “fictional recollection” of a series of events that recently made tabloid headlines.

We also wonder about what he means by shifting TV7 into a better direction. TransTV is notorious in the TV industry as having a military-style management, especially in its non-news production department. The TransTV way of doing things is to immediately liquidate all low-rated shows and create new shows with better concepts. This is probably the reason for their current success as the rating-leader. So does TransTV’s “supervision” over TV7’s program mean a complete makeover of the station and its program? And by the way, TransTV has also sent over its top guns to TV7 in the process.

A friend of mine in TV7’s program department claimed that the past couple of months have been very “uncomfortable” for them as TransTV employees have gone around the block to brag about their conquest. He said that he and some of his coworkers have prepared their resumes and start shopping around for new jobs elsewhere.

Let’s go back to recent history when TV7 just started out, and many viewers expected some great TV journalism to be at work as the station is backed by the trusted Kompas Gramedia group. However, in its tenure, TV7 hasn’t been able to establish its news programs as one of the most watched nor trusted news programs either. The gems of TV7’s original programs are the “Jejak Petualang” and its spinoff programs, which are both entertaining and educational. This program was also in the spotlight recently when its team went missing during an expedition in Papua. With this recent move, these better programs may not stand a chance when compared to the high-rating comedy or variety shows.

A TV7 news producer said that the timeslot for the 7pm News will soon be replaced by an entertainment program. It is still unclear where the hard news program will be moved to. TV7 employees are also scheduled to move into the TransTV complex later this year. No words yet whether they’re gonna have to wear those semi-paramilitary uniform similar to that of TransTV’s employees. Perhaps TransTV will also make a movie out of it, like “Dunia Lain: the Movie”.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Stop bribery - Let's fight for a "Clean" Indonesia


Are all Indonesian journalists aware of their own code of ethics in running their profession? What about the “wartawan amplop” case? What drives them to being “wartawan amplop”? These questions were raised today on the celebration of Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI) 12th anniversary in Jakarta.

Heru Hendratmoko – AJI Indonesia Chairman, Anung Karyadi – and Niken Rachmad – HM Sampoerna’s Corporate Communication’s Director were featured as the speakers on the discussion “Kebebasan Pers untuk Keberagaman” (“Freedom of Press for Diversity”). In this occasion, AJI informed us that they have officially formulated the journalism code of ethics since March 14 2006. You can check out the comprehensive clauses on AJI's official website.

One important note is the fact that not all journalists are fully aware, understand and have applied the ethical codes of conduct. This happens mainly due to their low earnings as journalists. It's related to “wartawan amplop” case, where journalists expect certain amount of money from their source with something in return. I believe all of us are very much familiar with that term already.

According to one of the participants (he’s a journalist from a law publication), you can find many journalists out there who don’t receive basic salary at all. They survive by relying on the amount of “money” given by government officials or private sector. This is the homework for AJI and other Indonesian journalists' associations to work on and surely it would need great support from public, private sectors and the media house as well. Recently, AJI is fighting for a salary increment for journalists in the minimum amount of Rp 3.1 million/month.

One interesting quote as I recalled from the discussion was "If the media could not pay their journalists' salary then they must close the company down!"

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Rise of the Velvet

It seems like nothing can get in the way of Velvet Silver’s pursuit to spread its wings in the Indonesian media industry - not even the raunchy protest by the likes of FPI (Front Pembela Islam) to stop publishing its controversial Playboy magazine.

Following the launching success of FourFourTwo a few months back, by the end of October this year the Velvet Silver Media will introduce the Indonesian edition of Shape, a lifestyle magazine that focuses on fitness, aerobics, and nutrition that is published in the US.


“This magazine [Shape] is a mix between Cosmopolitan and Fit,” said Avianto Nugroho, Promotion & Event Manager of Velvet Silver Media, whom I met at a gathering organized by the moderator of Advertising Indonesia mailing list last Saturday.

A combination between lifestyle and fitness – this should be interesting.

Avi, who is familiar with the Indonesian lifestyle media business, further elaborate his company’s expansion plan.


“By early next year, we are planning to take over the publishing license of Behind The Screen.”

Behind The Screen magazine is geared for professional in broadcast and film.

Prior to joining the Velvet Silver, Avi was part of the MRA media family. He was an editor of MTV Trax magazine (now Trax). MRA Media is famous for publishing the Indonesian edition of lifestyle magazines like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmo Girl!, FHM, Good Housekeeping, etc.

With the presence of people like Avi in the team, could Velvet Silver overpower the success of MRA media giant? No evidence is saying otherwise.

Trans TV To Take Over 49% Shares Of TV7

Last Friday late afternoon, KCM released the news that TV7 of the KKG (Kompas Gramedia Group) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Trans TV for a strategic partnership. Under this partnership, Trans TV now owns 49% of TV7, leaving TV7 with a slightly bigger shares of 51%.

Personally, despite that they are following the trend of showing a lot of infotainment program (they have at least 7 different programs a week), I think TV7 has quite a number of good inhouse program, Jejak Petualang for one. But then again, everybody knows that good programs do not necessarily followed by high rating, and vice-versa.

So what does the business deal between TV7 and Trans TV mean for the viewers? Are we going to get better TV programs? Let’s see whether those TV station owners really think about what’s good for their most important stakeholders, that is the viewers and not the advertisers.

Happy 12th Anniversary to Aliansi Jurnalis Independen

AJI (Independent Journalist Alliance) is celebrating its 12 anniversary today. However, the reception will be held on 11 August 2006.
In celebrating its anniversary, AJI always comes up with different theme each year. This year’s theme is “Media and Diversities”.

To celebrate its anniversary, AJI is conducting series of activities. If you’re interested, you could come and join some of the events below:

7 August 2006
10am at Teater Utan Kayu – Jakarta: Discussion, themed “Media and Intolerance”
Speakers: Syaiful Mujani, Director of LSI (Lembaga Survey Indonesia); Jalaludin Rakhmat, a communications expert and Moslem scholars; Musdah Mulia, activist

1pm – 6pm at Teater Utan Kayu – Jakarta: Documentary movies “Black September” and “Inside Indonesia’s War on Terror”

10 August 2006
10am at Hotel Cemara – Jakarta: Discussion on how the private sectors and the media could benefit each other.
The discussion will address the issues of bribery, code of ethics in journalism, how to create a newsworthy story for the media, how to deal with the media, how to solve conflict with the media when it occurs.
It will be useful for the corporations to create a better understanding on the characters of the media.
Speakers: Effendi Ghazali, the Chairman of AJI Heru Hendratmoko and a representative from PT HM Sampoerna Tbk

Press Conference on Udin Award and Tasrif Award
Udin Award is an award for a journalist who became a victim of violence because of its commitment, loyalty, integrity and dedication in doing his tasks.
Tasrif Award is an award for a person/group who has been helping the media in revealing the truth behind injustice cases in society.
The panel of judges for these awards are Butet Kertaredjasa; Endi Bayuni, The Editor in Chief of The Jakarta Post and Kemala Candra Kirana from Komnas Perempuan

11 August 2006
7pm at Hotel Santika, Slipi – Jakarta: Reception
A movie on history of AJI, announcement of the Enemy of the Freedom of Press (each year AJI chooses one institution who tries to block press freedom), announcement of Udin Award and Tasrif Award’s winners, announcement of the best journalists from printed media and TV will be some of the agendas of the reception.
Slamet Gundono will also perform on the reception to entertain the guests with his “gambus” instrument.

Why did AJI choose “Media and Diversity” as its theme this year?
Andy Budiman, Ketua Panitia HUT AJI ke-12, said that there were lots of problems nowadays caused by intolerance in the society. The level of intolerance was increasing, thus it needed to be eliminated. AJI wanted to share its concern to the public, specifically to the media.
Ulin Ni’am Yusron, the sub-committee head of the labor union affairs of AJI, said, “Until now, several media still created such news that could escalate the conflict in Indonesia, rather than reducing it. The media should have been a place where all different colors in the society were harmonized. They shouldn’t provoke and maintain the conflict. They should’ve helped the public to reduce the conflict”.

“The media should give a chance to voiceless people to be able to talk. So, not only those powerful people who are always talk in the media, but also the voiceless ones”, Ulin added.

“Do you think this year’s theme will bring any change to the media industry?”
Ulin added, “For sure it will bring awareness in the media. However, awareness isn’t enough. It has to be applied. But yeah.. at least AJI refresh the commitment of the media, which is very important, because nowadays we live in a such highly competitive industrialized world and someone has to remind us [the media, red] to stay neutral and objective”.

Well.. all the best, AJI and Happy 12th Anniversary to all AJI’s members! Wish AJI will be more solid and can bring a positive change in the media industry :).

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Corporate Blog: Is it really a dilematic decision?

In June 2006, SWAonline published an op-ed written by Amalia E. Maulana; a PhD candidate in UNSW School of Marketing, Australia. The title of Amalia’s op-ed is Corporate Blog: Dilematic Decision.

In her op-ed, Amalia stated that there are several reasons why having a corporate blog could become a dilematic decision IF corporate bloggers agreed to adopt the code of ethic in blogosphere.

Those reasons are:

  1. The information disclosed in a blog should be honest; then how to control the flow of information of this blog? What if a corporate blog becomes a place where employees could posted their complaints towards the company?
  2. Once a company decided to go blogging, they have to commit on their blog. Are they ready for this commitment?
  3. Blog should not consists of advertisement. It is a 2-way communication tools that should reflects daily experience of bloggers that will lead into discussions. Then what if your corporate blog can’t lit up an interesting discussion?

She then brought an example about Google corporate blog that receives criticism for not adhering to blogosphere code of ethic.

What puzzles me is her few last statements about corporate blogging. According to Amalia, corporate blog is not a must for companies, considering the dilemma it caused. Furthermore, she said, “Companies that need blogs are market leaders wanting to positioned themselves as an expert in the industry … or those who wants to have a close relationship with their customer.”

My question to Amalia is: why don’t companies want to positioned themselves as an expert in the industry? And why don’t companies want to have a close relationship with their customer?

***

In his blog, Seth Godin, the author of Unleashing The Ideavirus, All Marketers are Liars, and Permission Marketing, published a post called 'Raveling'.

Seth illustrated a blog built by Emily Martin, a graduate from art school. Emily has a myspace page for her blog Inside A Black Apple; and starts selling her artwork on Etsy.com.

Inside A Black Apple captures Emily’s daily life, her dreams, as well as the history behind her new paintings and other cute artworks. Emily has only a small store in her apartment; but she has hundreds of views in Etsy and has sold more than 20.000 dollars worth of paintings so far. Hmm, does it ring a bell?

***

You can wait forever; but probably you’ll never become a market leader.
Does it mean you’re not going to consider blogging until then?

I think being a blogger is more into becoming an opinion leader. That’s why Mavericks go blogging at the first place, and I think that’s the reason why other bloggers do, too.

Note: Amalia is a member of Virtual Consulting, where his colleague Nukman Luthfie wrote about corporate blog. Amalia's post in SWAOnline is written before that particular posting appeared in Nukman's blog.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Away Day To Puncak


This is my maiden post for my new company’s blog. And what could be a better post than a "wild" weekend going-out on a semi-holiday with your office-mate in just my first month? Rather than write something serious, I prefer to post about our week-end Puncak last week.

This Away Day, is a routine annual office-activity on a weekend (I guess), and this time we went to the Novus resort in Puncak, West Java.

We departed on Friday morning, while most of people in Jakarta still queuing in traffic-jam and mumbling a powerful spell: Thank God it’s Friday.
Just like other ordinary office-meeting-holiday, we mixed pleasure and work in this Away Day. Yes, there’s a swimming pool, spacious room for just playing a card-completed with strange movement from card-players, enough time to stay awake until morning dawn, hang-out place with street-singer, and of course a nice comfortable bed and a thin blanket in the middle of freezing atmosphere.
But let me point out, this is an office-meeting holiday. So there’s also a series internal-meeting that we have to attend. Even if I have to compare it to daily meetings, I still comment “Hey, it’s just an ordinary chit-chat while we’re hang-out for lunch, no more or less…”
Did I mention that in Maverick we’ve tried to be balance? Its fun to be serious and seriously having fun eh?
Through this event, we’ve tried to F5 (refresh) our company’s vision and values, in the fun way of course, thanks to Ariono and Riri as well as everyone else who made this event possible.
Finally, we’ve arrived back to Jakarta on Saturday afternoon, so we still have enough time to spend our weekend.

And here's a little peek on some of the things that I did on our away day

New English-language papers to compete with The Jakarta Post

Last week we saw the birth of a local newspaper called The President Post, who we thought was going to compete with The Jakarta Post. Yet after reading it, perhaps they were merely aiming to be the number one English-language paper in Kota Jababeka. That doesn’t look like such a difficult task since the paper’s content is mostly on Kota Jababeka, as Ong has written and criticized in his unspun blog. And yes, The President Post currently looks like a JABABEKA internal newsletter in newspaper format.

unspun also wrote that a real contender will enter the ring sooner than expected. This English-language newspaper will be called The Point and Riris Irawati, a senior journalist, will be running point.

Let’s hope this one will actually turn out good.

Tempo Magazine on Blogging ...

On its 6th of August edition, Majalah Tempo published several in-depth articles about (here we go again): BLOG!

The articles were placed in a special column called "Selingan" and consists of more than 6 pages about blog, bloggers, and blogging. The articles reveal the vast majority of bloggers--especially Indonesian bloggers, that strikes the blogosphere. According to the article, blog has also becoming a relevant and reliable source of information in our world today, keeping up with conventional media.

Several prominent bloggers are being highlighted in the articles, such as Fatih Syuhud, Enda Nasution, and Rovicky Dwi Putrohari. Rovicky is well-known for his blog about geology and disaster. He has a special ability to explain complicated process of earthquake and tsunami in a very decent way, that it makes sense and understandable even for those who has no interest in geology.

The 'blog' articles published in Majalah Tempo are written by Sapto Pradityo, Cahyo Junaedy, Tulus Wijanarko, and Budi Putra.

Amongst these journalists, Budi Putra as a tech editor stands out for his blog called Asia Tech Weblog: Blogging the Future.

His blog is mainly discuss about technology and the internet, but he's also posting several mainstream issues along the way.

Budi Putra has also published 2 books, Planet Internet: Jaringan Pintar yang Mengubah Dunia and Planet Seluler: Ketika Teknologi Bergerak Mengubah Hidup Kita.

Congratulations for Majalah Tempo and its journos for they have directed public's eyes into the blogosphere!