The Jakarta Post
Netflix is among the most popular streaming services in Indonesia. (Shutterstock.com/sitthiphong )
Communications and Information Minister Johnny G. Plate and Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim may have the same idea about the increasingly popular streaming service Netflix: that it has to play a role in developing the local film industry.
But the two ministers chose different approaches to achieve that goal — something that many Internet users believe reveals a generational gap.
Johnny, a 63-year-old politician from the NasDem Party, recently drew criticism from local Netflix subscribers for reportedly asking the streaming service to stop streaming its popular original series to give space for Indonesian films.
“Netflix, please use this country’s creative products. There are a lot [of Indonesian filmmakers] who can make movies to be released,” said Johnny, as quoted by kompas.com on Wednesday. "We want [Netflix] not to release Netflix Originals for now; [they should] utilize the creative works of Indonesians first.”
His remark received a series of angry comments from Internet users who feared that the government would end up banning Netflix in Indonesia, given the fact state-owned telecommunication company Telkom Group has already blocked access to Netflix.
Some netizens have even cast doubt on whether the minister has enough knowledge about Netflix.
Johnny Plate ini paham cara kerja Netflix ga seh?— a$ap slim (@aldyfrn) January 7, 2020
Netflix Originals ya produksi nya pake orang2 lokal negara itu lah, cuma standar mereka lebih bagus aja.
Contohnya ya Dark (Jerman), Okla (Korea), Casa de Papel (Spanyol), dan masih buanyak lagi.
A Twitter user with the handle @aldyfrn tweeted, “Does Johnny Plate understand how Netflix works? Netflix Originals are produced by local creators, with better [quality].”
Since its launch in Asia four years ago, the streaming service has invested in making original series from across the region, according to Netflix Asia Pacific managing director Kuek Yu-Chuang.
“Almost all of it has been commissioned by local content executives who live locally, know the local culture and speak the language,” he said.
Netflix Indonesia has so far produced only one original movie, The Night Comes for Us, which was released in September 2018. Written and directed by Timo Tjahjanto, the film was praised by Deadpool creator Robert Liefeld, mentioning Timo as the future of action films.
Johnny later clarified that he had never asked Netflix to stop streaming foreign movies but that what he meant was that Netflix should not produce its own Indonesian films for now and should focus on streaming movies owned or produced by Indonesians. Such a request, he said, was intended to develop and protect the rights of local filmmakers.
Amid the confusion, Nadiem and Netflix announced on Thursday that his ministry and the digital platform had agreed to forge a US$1 million partnership to train local scriptwriters.
“I am happy to see more Indonesian content appearing on Netflix,” said the 35-year-old minister who cofounded Indonesia’s unicorn start-up, Gojek.
With regard to partnership, Nadiem said, “By developing our talents, Indonesia will become a more appealing destination for international film producers.” He added that the ministry hoped Indonesia would become the world’s most popular filming location.
Most internet users approved of Nadiem’s move, highlighting his different approach to Netflix compared to that of his more senior colleague in the Cabinet.
lmao the Minister of Education and Culture, a millenial, basically saying “OK, BOOMER” to the Minister of Communication and Information Tech, a boomer, regarding Netflix in Indonesia. https://t.co/TfeUpbJVhX— fanfan (@ytamanotwt) January 10, 2020
Twitter user @ytamanotwt commented that the action was similar to a millennial, in this case was Nadiem, saying “Ok, boomer” to a boomer, Johnny.
User @Geraldigp said the Communications and Information Ministry had gotten dunked on by the Education and Culture Ministry.
“The timing couldn't have been better. There are only two choices on the road to the future. Either you adapt with the times or get left behind and mocked for the rest of time. Guess who's who on this issue now,” wrote
Kominfo basically just got dunked by Kemendikbud. The timing couldn't have been better. There are only two choices on the road to the future. Either you adapt with the time, or be left behind and mocked for the rest of time. Guess who's who on this issue now. https://t.co/smxyp8kBiE— Geraldi Gideon P (@Geraldigp) January 9, 2020
Twitter account @genovevu praised the move, tweeting, “Meanwhile, Kominfo stays outdated, eh.”
Reza Idris, 33, and Chenny, 24, are among the Netflix users who supported the collaboration.
Reza told The Jakarta Post by telephone that the partnership would help local filmmakers create better-quality movies. “By putting [the films] on the platform, people from all over the will be able to access them,” he said.
Chenny agreed with the purpose of the partnership, which is to develop local talent and introduce local culture to a global audience.
“I think the Education and Culture Ministry has taken positive steps and it should be appreciated,” said Chenny.
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