New media zooms ahead in Thailand

NEW media like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube have been playing a greater role in Thailand to the extent that they have begun to disrupt traditional media like television and newspaper and could very well displace the latter.

Actually, this disruption has taken place the world over and Thailand is no exception.

media,oneWhat does it mean?  A disruptive innovation is an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing leading firms, products and alliances in the established market.

Let’s look at Google as an example.  Most people correctly say Google is disruptive but don’t understand why. Google’s search algorithm wasn’t disruptive. It was AdWords, its advertising service, which turned out that way. In contrast to Yahoo, which required advertisers to spend at least $5,000 to create a compelling banner ad and $10,000 for a minimum ad purchase, Google offered a self-service ad product for as little as $1. The end result? Struggling Yahoo has just recently been bought out by Verizon.

Facebook has now become the most popular social network worldwide as it has over 1.71 billion monthly active users.

And Facebook is the most popular social networking site being used by around 19 million Thai people.

But surprisingly, Bangkok ranks highest with the most number of Facebook users in the world.  Bangkok has some 8.68 million Facebook users, beating global megalopolises like London, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Mumbai, New York City, and Los Angeles, Socialbakers found.

By 2018, the number of Facebook users in Thailand is expected to reach 21.6 million.  It has just come up with another disruptive function, Facebook live, which is expected to steal more viewers and more importantly ad revenue from traditional media, which have been suffering losses if not lower revenue and profit during the past three years.

Among the media firms listed on the Thai stock exchanges suffering a loss during the first half of this year are Amarin Printing and Publishing, operating a digital TV and printing magazines, Matichon, MCOT, Post Publishing, Nation Multimedia Group, Mono Technology and Grammy while BEC, generally known as Channel 3, suffered a sharp decline in revenue and profit during the past three and a half years.

Thai people are not using Facebook, Instagram and Youtube just for normal reading, viewing and socializing but also for doing business, selling goods and services online.  Lately, Facebook and Youtube have also been used as a political tool airing political views both on local and international issues.

In the recent campaign for and against the country’s draft constitution before the referendum, Facebook had been widely used by politicians. Rival political movement leaders, Suthep Thaugsuban and Jatuporn Prompan, over their Facebook live broadcasts expressed their views daily for weeks on the draft charter ahead of the August 7 referendum.

Many popular Facebook pages like Thanong Fanclub, which provides news and analysis of what’s happening locally and internationally especially as to who are really Thailand’s friends and foes, has over 140,000 followers, a lot more than readers of a newspaper these days.

And there are tens of pages like that providing alternative information which are not generally appearing in the traditional media be it newspapers, TVs or websites.  With such interesting alternatives they quickly become smarter in consuming information and therefore less dependent on what the traditional media has to offer.

Overall, such a disruptive development has changed both business and political landscapes in this country, and if the traditional media and business have not found a way to adjust themselves, they certainly will be displaced sooner or later.


TOP: People are now using social media to do business. Photo:  Esther Vargas

INSET: New media is just a click away. Photo: Jason Howie

By Kowit Sanandang.





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