The Silent Transformation of the “Underdog”
Armed with a keen understanding of what the audience needs, ANTV has transformed itself into an entertainment television station that has the highest TV share today. What are the strategies employed by ANTV to turn the tables and go from being the underdog to become the champion?
What happened in 2001 was something that Anindya Novyan Bakrie could never forget. At the time, he received a phone call from his father, none other than the famed businessman Aburizal Bakrie, summoning him home even as this graduate of Stanford Graduate School of Business, California was enjoying working at the Salomon Brothers on Wall Street, USA.
“The ship is heavy now, you must come home to Indonesia at once,” Ical’s eldest son said, quoting his father. Whether he liked it or not, he had to come home. Anindya Bakrie, as he’s widely known, made a deal with the family that gave him the freedom to do a complete transformation of the (family) company that he would run.
The conditions of the companies that were under his command were pretty much in disarray, or as the say, “the boat is sinking”. The companies that he chose to take over were PT. Cakrawala Andalas Televisi (ANTV) and Bakrie Telecom. Eventually, he let go of the telecommunication company and sold it to another party, and he concentrated on Television. His reasoning was that to develop a TV station didn’t require as much capital as a telecommunication company, it just took a lot of creativity.
Unfortunately, ANTV’s condition at the time was at its lowest point or on the verge of bankruptcy, chapter 11 as they call it in the US. The creditors that were represented by the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) at the time nearly gave the verdict that would bankrupt the TV station.
As a young person who was still inexperienced in dealing with creditors, Anin could only admit that the company was not in good shape, and proposed to IBRA if all the debts could be converted into stocks. IBRA response was to submit ANTV into a Suspension of Debt Payment Obligation (PKPU) program.
ANTV’s ship that nearly sank was finally able to float again. But, to sail without fuel or capital proved to be a tricky thing. But as a Stanford School of Business graduate, he did not give up and kept trying to find a solution. Various efforts were attempted to save the ANTV ship from sinking.
In October 2005, Anin met with US and Australia’s media mogul Rupert Murdoch to be a potential partner. Around 20% of ANTV’s shares valued at US$20 million were sold to Newcorp, that ran Star TV. With the presence of this great figure, it was expected that ANTV would skyrocket and become the number one TV station in Indonesia.
Three years passed, and there was still no sign of improvement in ANTV’s market share. Its audience shares dropped to 4%, which made ANTV the underdog in terms of TV ratings. Even Newcorp had given up and let go of their shares. ANTV was back fighting on its own. But in this TV station, there were the “three musketeers”: Anindya Bakrie, Erick Thohir and Otis Hahyari. These three young gentlemen were the brains behind ANTV’s resurrection.
“Knowing your audience,” Said Otis Hahyari, Director of Viva Group that presided over ANTV and tvOne. That is the ultimate law in the television media business. But, implementing this ultimate law is not easy. ANTV has changed its audience segments three times from teenagers, sports, to women and they kept on falling behind. To truly know what kind of audience to target, they needed to rely on data research.
It was then when they turned to the Social Economic Classification (SEC) data. The SEC data had 5 categories, which are Lower, Middle 2, Middle 1, Upper 2 and Upper 1. In the 2016 & 2017 periods, the majority of the market (78%) are the Middle 2 to Upper 2 groups. In these segments, the majority are female audience (51.4%) and male (48.6%). From this kind of data, it was decided that ANTV was the entertainment TV for the female and family segments.
“The choice of the female demographic was the most expensive and in demand target because the females are the decision makers in a family,” explained Otis Hahyari. Meanwhile, they rebranded tvOne into a TV news station that targets the male demographic in the Upper 2 to Upper 1 classes. They migrated the sporting programs, such as soccer programs, from ANTV to tvOne. This way, there was no longer a sporting program on ANTV and they could concentrate as entertainment TV for the female and family demographic.
Ever since the rebranding of ANTV, their shares according to the Nielsen TA All People survey (1 January-31 October 2017) has moved up from the lowest level of 4.5% in 2001 to 15.2% in 2017, only a little bit below RCTI that dominated at 15.3%. Meanwhile, its brother tvOne is the number one TV show with shares as much as 3.9% (2017), surpassing Metro TV that only gained 1.7%, Inews TV (1.7%) and Kompas TV (1.4%).
According to Otis, by choosing strict market segmentations between ANTV and tvOne, they do not disrupt each other’s target audience when selling to prospective advertisers. Furthermore, by separating the segments, it gave added benefits such as tariff bundling for ads in ANTV and tvOne. Vice versa towards the products and service ads that target the male audience can be bundled to include female audience as well.
It begs the question though, that since middle class female demographic is also the target of other entertainment TV stations, how did ANTV manage to get ahead of the other TV stations? As Otis Hahyari stated, the key is in knowing who the target audience is. After knowing what kind of audience they want and what their needs are, then they could come up with the formula of flagship programs that meet the needs of their target audience.
ANTV’s first step is presenting foreign series, such as its Indian Series, with their top program: the Mahabhrata series. This choice of series has a cultural closeness with Indonesian audience. ANTV has also chosen middle level Indian stars to be the actors in this series. This is what differentiates them from other TV stations. When ANTV imports a series from overseas, they give it a local touch, making it down to earth, and bringing the Indonesian culture closer to the local audience. They even make sure that the background music is heavily influenced by the Indonesian culture.
ANTV’s strategy in presenting foreign series with localized content could be considered brilliant, and the local audience response was overwhelming. As a result, the ratings for ANTV foreign series were at an all-time high. It was apparent from the ratings of King Sulaiman series that earned 22.8% shares, Mahabharata 21.6%, Jodha Akbar 18.4%, and Navya 14.7%.
Aside from Indian foreign series, ANTV has also popularized Turkish series. The reason for choosing Turkish series is the emotional closeness between our two countries. This is due to the closeness in languages. Seeing it from the social economic status, the Turkish series tends to be watched by audience from middle and upper class. In 2015, ANTV had broadcasted 10 Turkish series that dominated the market share, three of which were Canzu & Hazel (3.2 ratings), Shehrazat 1001 Malam (2.7 ratings), Abda Kejayaan (2.1 ratings).
According Otis, ANTV didn’t just rest on their laurels of gaining the highest TV market share in foreign series. To maintain audience loyalty, ANTV employed 360? Communication Strategy whereby ANTV applied integrated strategy communication. Under this strategic umbrella, ANTV created the off-air show called “meet and greet” that brought together the actors of Mahabharata series and other series to meet with their audience in a number of cities in various regions. The response was amazing. An average of almost 30 thousand people came to these events.
In order to maintain fan loyalty of ANTV series, the off air “meet and greet” agenda is held at a minimum of once every two weeks in a number of cities in Indonesia. This off-air program manages to get the highest ranking compared to similar programs by other TV stations. In fact the Mahabharata meet and greet program had attracted more audience than World Cup 2014 that was aired by tvOne. From here ANTV can see how great the loyalty of fans.
To ensure that the audience would not get bored by ANTV’s menu, Otis Hahyari alongside with his team has a target of one new program every month. The same is applied in choosing animated programs for children. ANTV does not only air US-produced animated programs. They also choose the best animated programs from Russia, France, or local production. These fresh creations are what propels ANTV from being the underdog in terms of TV shares, into the highest rated TV station.
Naturally the rise in TV shares reflected on the company’s revenue. Viva Group’s revenue (ANTV & tvOne) in the first semester of 2017 was Rp 1.3 Trillion, rising by 9.1% from the same period in 2016 of Rp 1.2 Trillion. Judging from the percentage of increase, ANTV has the highest revenue compared to other non-listed TV companies as well as listed TV companies.
The CEO of Trans Media, Atiek Nur Wahyuni admitted that the competition in TV industry is fierce. Each TV station is trying to outperform its competitiors. TV industry players fuly understand that truly, there’s no audience that is loyal to a TV station. They are loyal to a program. “So the competition depends on the creativity to create a program that the audience likes,” Said The Most Admired CEO 2017 that supervises Trans TV, Trans7, Detik.com, CNN Indonesia, CNN.com and Transvision, according to Warta Ekonomi magazine.
The battle of TV stations takes place minute by minute to chase audience ratings for each of their flagship programs. At the very least, the silent transformation that was done by the Three Musketeers (Anindya Bakrie, Erick Thohir and Otis Hahyari) has generated results. Their two TV stations are at the top of the ratings. The transformation in the body of Viva Group did not only make ANTV and tvOne as just TV stations, but also transformed it into a human talent and event organizer company.
ANTV’s silent transformation is not fully detected by competing TV stations. According to Anindya Bakrie, ANTV and tvOne are the resilience competitors that cannot be easily beaten by their rivals.
Source: WARTA EKONOMI