theinternetIndonesia is expected to embrace an upsurge in digital content consumption in 2017, thanks to two major catalysts - the heavy usage of social networks and the increasing number of mobile phone users. In turn, this has been and will continue to stimulate the consumption of digital content and the awakening of the "sleeping" content talents across the archipelago.

UC News, a content distributor of UCWeb from Alibaba Group, shows in its recent report that there's considerable opportunity for the rise of We-Media, or talented digital content creators, including independent Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), self-publishers et al in Indonesia, as We-Media content consumption in December 2016 has been 6 times higher than in the previous quarter.

UC News is a business within Alibaba Mobile Business Group and a big data-powered content distributor, serving as a one-stop source of trending and curated news content, covering all popular categories that Indonesian users can consume on the go.  Its recent report sums up the year-end mobile content consumption trends of 2016 in Indonesia with data analysis and international comparison.

"According to our observations and industrial researches, there are currently around 7,000 reporters, journalists and editors working in the Indonesian media industry, while around 3.8% (around 3 million) of the total active Internet users in Indonesia are bloggers," said Jack Huang, President of Overseas Business, Alibaba Mobile Business Group.

"With the growth of digital content consumption here, we predict that more professionally-trained content contributors will establish themselves as 'We-Media', a collective term for those who turn themselves into independent media brands, including independent key opinion leaders, independent publishers and other influential individual content providers. Furthermore, we estimate that more and more digital content consumers will turn themselves into 'prosumers' - consumers who also contribute to the content production, which will contribute to the increase of digital content creators in Indonesia like what has been happening in China's digital content industry," he added.

Indeed, the report, "Year-end mobile content consumption trend of 2016 in Indonesia", points out that there has been a significant rise in news content consumption in the 2nd half of 2016, as the pageviews in Q4 on UC News were 307% higher than in Q3, and the reading duration increased 260% in the same period. It also digs into the content consumption trends on UC News in the second half of 2016, showing considerable potential for the growth of We-Media, and shares where the Indonesian digital content industry may be heading towards in comparison to the Chinese market.

Here are some key takeaways.

1. Young users, especially young male users, are the dominant user group in online news content consumption: Users of two age groups, namely the group of ages 19-25 and the group of ages 31+, are dominantly consuming news content online, accounting for nearly 70% of the total digital content consumers. The ratio of male users to female users is only around 4:1. 

2. There are six major features of online news content consumption on UC News

  • Heavy online news content consumers are mostly located in Jakarta Raya (55%), east Java (19%) and west Java (11%).
  • Online news content consumption in Q4 2016 has increased 307% over Q3 based on pageviews, and the duration of consumption also has also seen a 260% rise in the same period.
  • We-Media content consumption last December was 658% higher than that in September, and it has seen a 110% monthly growth rate on average.
  • Nearly 40 out of 100 users who browsed on the Internet daily browsed news content.
  • Supply-and-consumption gaps occur in content categories like Entertainment, Sports, Tech, Health and Lifestyle, which factually generate great opportunity for We-Media to thrive with their crafted content.
  • Entertainment, society and sports are the most-consumed categories among all content from (traditional) media and We-Media, accounting for 30%, 19% and 18% of total page views of the top 10 content categories respectively.

3. Top viewed news topics in the second half of 2016: For entertainment, users tend to consume content about celebrity gossip, as well as music- and movie-related topics. For sports, it's overwhelmingly about football and for society, the most-consumed content relates to crime, natural disasters and conflicts. One topic worth mentioning is in politics: Ahok, or Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the governor of Jakarta, has hit the most headlines with over 87 million page views starting from his case of allegedly insulting the Holy Quran during his speech.

4. The Internet as the second most important media platform in Indonesia's media landscape, and the evolving content dissemination and consumption boosted by social network usage and mobile phone adoption

  • The Internet has become the media platform with the 2nd-highest user penetration (42.5% of total population) and time spent (average 354.2 minutes per week), following TV (99.8% of the total population, average 1,782.5 minutes per week) in Indonesia, and the improved Internet accessibility and wide-spreading adoption of mobile phones will promote the ascending importance of the Internet in Indonesia's media landscape.
  • Over 50% of Internet users have been using social media as their main source of news. In Indonesia, Facebook is the most popular social media platform among young mobile Internet users and the top activity on Facebook is looking for information or news, accounting for 52.9% of total Facebook usage. In addition, Facebook is the No.1 social network for content sharing in Indonesia, followed by the messaging app WhatsApp, and other social networks like Twitter, Instagram and Line. When it comes to content sharing on social media, news accounts for 22% of the total shared content, closely following funny or entertaining content, which is only 1% higher than news. The heavy reliance on social media for news and information updates and sharing has been revolutionizing content dissemination, and encouraging more and more content talents to share what they create on social networks, which also helps those aspiring independent content creators to be discovered.
  • Mobile phone users are estimated to hit 173.3 million in 2017, accounting for 66.5% of the total population. 43.2% (74.9 million) of mobile phone users are estimated to be smartphone users by then. In the meanwhile, mobile Internet users in Indonesia are predicted to reach 90.6 million in 2017, which is 34.8% of the total population, 11.7% less than mobile Internet user penetration in China. The estimated growth, both in mobile phone users and mobile Internet penetration, will actually spur demand for online content and content contributions, be they established We-Media or up-and-coming content talents in Indonesia.

5. Huge potential for the rise of We-Media in Indonesia

  • The rise of independent self-publishers and content creators in Indonesia, supported with the high growth of mobile content consumption, reflects Indonesians' passion for sharing content, which provides ample opportunity for content creators to fill consumers' demand for various forms of content such as articles, videos, memes or comic series and serials, etc.
  • Through the UC News We-Media platform, the distribution of content to the right targeted audience can be supplied efficiently through its big-data technology.
  • With the UC News We-Media platform, content creators and self-publishers alike can have one more optional platform to make a lasting and impactful contribution to Indonesia's growing digital content industry through the concept of an inclusive community. As Indonesia enters the age of increased content consumption through its mobile devices, not only will it reward the content creators themselves through We-Media's proven monetization program, but it'll also contribute to the overall We-Media ecosystem and supplement the audience's growing demand for content.