The abundance of print media in Indonesia is due to the lack of limitations in establishing a print outlet. According to the record of Serikat Penerbit Surat Kabar (Association of Newspaper Publishers - SPS), in 2017, totally, there were 793 printed media with a total of 172 daily newspapers published. Of these 793 printed media, as many as 399 are newspapers (with a circulation of 7.1m), 67 weekly newspapers (circulation 174,000), 194 magazines (circulation 6.4m ) and 133 tabloids (circulation 3.4m). The number of printed media is decreasing. In 2011, the total number of printed media was as many as 1,361 outlets. In a period of time of 6 years, as many as 568 printed media stopped publishing, with 793 still active. The circulation of newspapers also decreased from 25.2m copies in 2011 to 17.2m in 2017.
The large number of printed media does not reflect the actual number of newspapers circulating in the market. These data only describe the number of printed media that have a permit. There are many printed media that do not publish regularly. In 2010, Leo Batubara, former member of the Press Council, estimated that only 30 percent of the existing printed media was healthy when viewed from a business perspective. Being healthy in business is measured from the ability of the printed media to publish regularly, to pay the journalists routinely and also to obtain permanent income from advertisement. From the 793 printed media, most of them did not publish periodically.
More real data concerning the number of printed media was revealed by the Press Council. In 2015, the Press Council conducted a data collection on the printed media by using the indicator of publishing regularity. The result was that the number of printed media was 321, of which: 177 were daily newspapers, 112 weekly newspapers and 32 monthly newspapers. Data on the number of printed media from the Press Council is much different from the SPS data above. The difference is explained by a different method of calculation. SPS calculated the printed media which continued publishing, meanwhile, the Press Council’s calculation is based on the media that published regularly (periodically). From 321 printed media in Indonesia, most of them (113 media or 35 percent) were published outside Java Island.
The 321 printed media are grouped into several publishing conglomerations. There are 8 groups of big publishers: Kompas Gramedia Group (81 printed media); Jawa Pos (122 printed media); Femina (11 printed media); Bali Post (7 printed media); Pin Point (14 printed media); Pikiran Rakyat (8 printed media); Bisnis Indonesia (7 printed media), and Suara Merdeka (5 printed media). The eight publisher groups have 222 printed media which equals 79.5 percent of all printed media in Indonesia. Only 20 percent of the printed media have no affiliation to publishing groups.
Of the 8 publishing groups, the two largest are Jawa Post and Kompas Gramedia. Jawa Pos has many local printed media outlets using the name “Radar”. Meanwhile, Kompas Gramedia has a network of local printed media in many regions using the name “Tribun”. The emergence of publishing groups is inseparable from the efficiency pretext and to outsmart the narrow niche market. These publishing groups have a business network from the upstream into the downstream, that makes the production cost of the printed media more efficient. Take Jawa Pos group network as an example. Jawa Pos owns PT Temprina Media Grafika that manages the publishing units in 29 cities. For paper, Jawa Pos has PT Adiprima Suraprinta, which is able to produce 100 tons per day. Meanwhile, for the news, Jawa Pos has Jawa Pos News Network (JPNN). This news network contains news resulted and managed by the journalists of Jawa Post and Jawa Post subsidiaries widespread in regions. Jawa Pos Company serves the needs of media in regions, starting from the publishing machinery, paper supply, ink, up to the news. With the pattern of news exchange, practically, 70 percent of the newspaper news is supplied from JPNN. The local newspapers do not necessarily recruit journalists in a large number. Through the vertical support, the local newspapers belonging to Jawa Pos can be present with a lean organisation.
Advertisement of printed media is stagnant. According to data from Nielsen, in 2017, the advertisement segment of printed media reached 19 percent of the total advertisement expenditure of media in Indonesia. In 2017, the total advertisement of printed media (gross amount, not yet reduced by discount) was IDR28.5tn (US$2.1bn). This figure was obtained by Nielsen by calculating the advertisement from 99 printed media. There was a slight decrease in the printed media advertisement, from IDR31.6tn (US$ 2.3bn ) in 2013 into IDR 28.5tn (US$ 2.1bn ) in 2017.
The competition of printed media gets more tight. Besides the advertisement market that did not grow, the main competitor of printed media is online media that makes news access free of charge. As a result, the printed media don’t increase the selling cost because they would be abandoned by the readers who turn to online media. Nevertheless, in another aspect, the printed media also cannot survive by relying too much on the income from advertisement that did not grow in the last 5 years. Not surprisingly, every year there are printed media forced to stop publishing. In 2015, as many as 8 printed media closed down (Sinar Harapan, Trax, Harian Bola, Jakarta Globe, Koran Tempo Minggu, Sekar, Animonster and Jurnal National). In 2016, there at least 11 more were forced to do the same (Girls, Horison, Cita Cinta, Kawanku, Chip, Sinyal, Chip Foto Video, What Hi Fi, Auto Expert, Car and Turning and Motor). In 2017, as many as 5 printed media stopped publishing (FHM, Maxim, Fortune Indonesia, Bloomberg, Tabloid Gaul, Cosmogirl Indonesia). Some of these printed media moved to having only an online version, but some of them vanished completely.