The change in how the audience nowadays consume news in the digital era is forcing traditional media to develop their own social media platform. Reuters Institute’s 2023 Digital News Report (DNR) showed that social media has increasingly become a significant source of news, especially for the younger generations.

The presence of emerging media or new media which have been mushrooming in the social media is also increasingly influencing this shift. These new media use the platforms most checked by readers to present interactive contents with interesting visuals.

Traditional media are thus compelled to also make use of social media and produce content there.

A good example of how traditional media transition into social media is Majalah Hai, a printed magazine established in 1977 that became popular among youth. The magazine first transformed in 2017 when it decided to become an online magazine and six years later it became more focused on its social media platforms, especially that in Instagram and TikTok.

Hai’s Lead Editor Alvin Bahar, said that the magazine’s shift of focus to social media was because its target audience mostly used Instagram and TikTok.

Short videos and reels are the preferred options to present the latest information on music, pop culture, self development, young lifestyle and the latest news on Hai’s Instagram and TikTok accounts.

Hai’s move was in line with another finding of the Reuters  Institute – that the consumption of video news was on the rise in all markets, with contents predominantly accessed through platform providers such as YouTube and Facebook.

Maverick’s own Media Outreach Team also found a new trend when it invited media for events. Traditional media are now increasingly focused on invitations for events that are interesting to develop into social media content.

But developing social media is not merely about content. Traditional media also uses their social media account to conduct live streaming, live event coverage, and content on their collaboration with companies or organizations.

Interaction With the Audience is Key

Social media has increasingly become a source for the largest news, mainly because they are interactive and allow engagement with their audience who can get involved by liking, sharing and commenting on the content.

Danang Arradian,  Chairman of the Forum for Technology Journalists (FORWAT) said during a discussion on The Future and Challenges Facing Media Amid the Trends of AI and Homeless Media on January 16, 2023, that social media has allowed ease of interactions with the audience because of the high number of social media users in Indonesia.

From the operational perspective, social media also represents cost saving in site maintenance, domain extension fees and design.

Traditional and emerging media could also use the analysis and algorithm managed by social media enterprises to look at the development and the results of their interactions before the execution of content or activities in the social media.

The advantage of new media such as  USS Feed, Folkative, is their ability to curate content that is of interest to their followers.

Data from the Association of Indonesian Internet Providers (APJII) for 2023 showed that the high level of social media use in Indonesia was correlated to the high number of Indonesians who were connected to the internet, more than 200 million people, and a penetration rate of more than 78 percent.

Almost all those questioned by APJII said that they use their handphone and tablet to access the internet, including to access social media. The most popular social media platforms were Youtube with 65.4 percent, Facebook with 60.24 percent, Instagram with 30.51 percent and Tiktok with 28.60 percent.

At the onset of the internet era, the number of visitors to their daily online news media that was similar to their print circulation became an indicator of their performance. For traditional media, the high number of visits to their news site influences the level of fees they could demand for advertising as well as the interest of people in placing advertisements with them.

Credibility and Engagement

The existence of emerging media appears to lead to competitions, forcing the audience to pick one as a main source of information but in practice, the audience’s news information ecosystem is never composed of just one source and various types of media will complement each other.

Traditional media are still being seen as trustworthy sources because of their discipline in news production and their journalistic code of ethics. Traditional media channels such as television, radio as well as print and online media, have a long history and track of authority.

A McKinsey study showed that one of every three members of the young generations were still seeking trustworthy sources for the latest news. The publication of  news regarding a company or a brand in traditional media improves their credibility.

But based on the on site experience of Maverick’s own team we saw that traditional media were also being increasingly selective in choosing brand or corporate stories for their organic publication in their media.

We observed that this selection is taking place because these conventional media were not only seeking for written news content but also the potential for social media content in a bid to raise the engagement in their account.

On the other hand, emerging media also continue to monitor the latest issues covered by conventional media and turn them into content whenever they are related to the general public‘s interest. Emerging media are indeed strong in outreach and engagement but they are also still dependent on conventional media for general news.

Corporations or brands can maximize the synergy between the reporting by traditional media with the emerging media’s strength in engagement. Amplifying news from traditional media using the emerging media can boost their reach and audience engagement.

The right strategy mix between the use of emerging and traditional media will help companies and also the media, to better measure their communication aims using the measurement metrics of outputs, outtakes and outcomes.

Written by Christiani Ajeng