The Jakarta Post
Number one: Indonesian vlogger Atta Halilintar is currently sitting in the top spot of Indonesia's Youtube sphere with 24.5 million subscribers. (instagram.com/attahalilintar/File)
Vlogs and other do-it-yourself videos have shifted professional preferences and created new dreams for the young generation to chase.
From music videos to reaction videos, YouTube provides a wide array of videos to enjoy.
According to statista.com, YouTube has a penetration rate of 88 percent in the Indonesian market, making it the most used social media platform in the country in 2019.
Celebrities and video content creators see it as the perfect platform to express themselves, be popular, and make a profit, starting a new wave of YouTube content creation in Indonesia.
Of the hundreds of thousands of Indonesian creators, five have become so big that each of them has millions of subscribers. These top-five channels are those of Atta Halilintar with 24.5 million subscribers, Ricis Official with 21.4 million, Rans Entertainment with 16.6 million, GEN Halilintar also with 16.6 million and last in the pack is Jess No Limit with 16.4 million.
Of those five most subscribed channels, the top four focus on broadcasting events that happen in the creators’ lives through a video format known as daily vlogs. Daily vlogs usually cover interesting events in the YouTuber’s life, creating presumably authentic videos.
Privileged: Ria Ricis' popularity as a Youtuber has allowed her to gain access to prominent public figures, such as President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo. (Youtube Ria Ricis Official/-)
Social media expert Enda Nasution, also known as the founding father of blogging culture in Indonesia, said the creators of the top channels knew just how to market their daily lives with the right hook to connect with Indonesian viewers.
“Naturally the viewers would not want to watch vlogs of someone’s life if it is not interesting,” said Enda.
“While we can see that daily vlogs are in high demand, we should bear in mind that popular channels offering daily vlogs are run by celebrities.”
Rans Entertainment fits this definition well. The channel is owned by celebrity couple Raffi Ahmad and Nagita Slavina, who were popular personalities from broadcast television before they started their YouTube channel. Bringing their fame to a new platform, Raffi and Nagita were able to broadcast their lives on YouTube and attract millions of viewers.
Stories are a prominent aspect of entertainment. Books and movies are only some of the ways that people enjoy stories, while daily vlogs are a new form of storytelling.
Social observer Devie Rahmawati said humans naturally enjoyed narrated stories.
“Before YouTube, soap operas were very popular among Indonesians. Daily vlogs from celebrities provide similar drama to soap operas.”
YouTube vlogs provide more proximity and novelty than television. People see YouTubers like Atta Halilintar as people who became wealthy and successful by creating vlogs on YouTube.
Devie said that seeing the wealth and success of these figures was a way for viewers to escape their daily routines and daydream about what they could be, and maybe even try to become creators themselves.
“But it is often forgotten that being a successful content creator requires consistency and frequency. Being a social media celebrity is also not as easy as it seems. They do their jobs 24 hours a day,” she said.
The daily vlogging trend has brought about a shift in professional preferences among the younger generation. It is now common to find people of the younger generation who dream of being YouTube content creators.
Disgraced: The need for attention and subscribers has seen some YouTubers produce sensational and controversial content that put them in trouble. In May, Youtuber Ferdian Paleka was arrested after pranking transgenders with a fake food donation. (Kompas.com/Agie Permadi)
The simple format of daily vlogs gives viewers hope to possibly follow in their idols’ footsteps and make it big on YouTube.
Enda added that daily vlogs were a format that could incorporate different topics, and though they might seem similar, each vlog had different stories and values.
The topics could deal with religion, politics and even education. And some vlogs may revolve more about the personalities involved in the videos that around a specific topic.
While a topic gives value to videos, it is not enough to grab viewers. When creating content, Devie pointed out, there were three basic considerations to pique the audience’s interest: creation, achievement and sensation.
“The easiest one to attain is sensation, and this has led to a lot of lower-quality content,” she said.
“People yearn for sensational stories, and that is the case everywhere, not just in Indonesia.”
According to Enda, foreign YouTube content creators are not fixed on one topic. Content creators in the United States use a global language, English, giving them a larger public.
While this gives them more opportunity to express themselves, Enda thinks that having a global market makes it harder for content creators to attract and herd their public.
In its essence, YouTube provides a platform where creators can create visual projects and broadcast themselves or their art with the limited resources they have.
Broadcasting used to be the domain of television, supervised by media corporates who restricted the freedom creators had.
Enda noted that YouTube made it possible for content creators to be creative and make any type of content without duration limits, and this led to a redefinition of valuable content.
With its growth, YouTube has become a monetized industry where creators can make money with their content. Enda said that this was where problems arose, as to attract more viewers, content creators would not only steal ideas but sometimes even steal other people’s videos and claim them as their own.
“YouTube has shown us that content does not have to be informative or even entertaining,” Enda said.
“It can just act as a background to accompany people while they go about their daily activities.”
The writer is an intern at The Jakarta Post.
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