by Dyah Ayu Arini, Senior Associate at Maverick Indonesia

Netizens and the media were quite surprised when Prabowo chose Close The Door, Deddy Corbuzier’s video podcast for his maiden interview as Minister of Defence.

The choice was significant because so far Prabowo has resisted giving interviews with the media and just before the interview, the media was rife with speculation about Prabowo running for President in 2024. If he still harbored any presidential ambitions now was an opportune time  to burnish his image. 

Prabowo could have gone to traditional media like Metro TV or Kompas TV with superstar interviewers like Najwa Shihab or Aiman Witjaksono. Instead, he chose a mentalist-turned-YouTuber for this important event.

Why? If he went to the traditional media affiliated with TV stations and got interviewed by these news anchors, he would have likely faced an antagonistic interviewer. Media always have an agenda when they are going to interview someone. With Prabowo on screen, they might create a controversy or drama to pull in the viewers to push the ratings and advertising dollars.

Interviews like Deddy’s podcast adopt a more friendly approach to their interview subjects, treating them more as a guest than adversaries to be pilloried and subjects for “journalistic scrutiny”. We can see this applied during Prabowo’s interview where Deddy was able to get him sharing his point of views, even exchanging jokes about his cat.

Deddy’s podcast and others like him such as ussfeed in Instagram, Narasi on YouTube, Good News from Indonesia who has been on Twitter since 2009, signify the rise of what some observers have called the rise of homeless media. 

Homeless media is media or organization that utilizes and develops their content using other platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. It started to get people’s attention in Indonesia in 2012 with the success of — even before the categorization. Homeless media has been on the rise in Indonesia since then.

Whatever their merits, homeless media surely added variety and competition to the media landscape. They are more agile to adjust their concep to suit trends, something that the media cannot do swiftly because they need the editorial team and shareholders to approve it.

Conventional media, however, still holds an important place in public discourse as generally, they still retain greater credibility and people still refer to them for fact checking and prominence. 

Prabowo’s interview, however, shows that homeless media has become a serious contender to conventional media in Indonesia. It has found a home in public discourse in Indonesia.

Homeless media can grow bigger in the next few years with more people consuming social media. On the other hand, conventional media have to quickly plan their next steps to adapt with the trends, before homeless media makes itself too at home on their turf.