Television is often an effective tool in promoting people to people connections and cultural understandings. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) International in conjunction with Indonesia’s largest media company MNC Group have teamed up together in order to do just this. ‘Window on Australia’ was launched in Jakarta’s Pullman Indonesia Hotel, on Monday the 9th of November. The second of its kind, the month long exposé will run until December 8th and aims to promote Australia and Australian content to Indonesian audiences. A compilation of feature stories on Australian life covering food, education, travel, innovation, science, technology, Indigenous Australian culture and business will be aired daily across MNC television channels. In addition to the channels run by MNC Media group, Indonesians will be able to access ‘Window on Australia’ content via Indonesia’s leading online news source Detik.com, and via the ABC’s Australia Plus news portals.
Amongst other distinguished media and entertainment guests, in attendance was the Ambassador of Australia, Paul Grigson, the CEO of ABC International, Lynley Marshall, the CEO of MNC Media Group, Harry Tanoe, and the CEO of Detik.com, Arifin Asydhad. Each gave a speech commending the launch, explaining that it is also a celebration of the Indonesian-Australian relationship. The Ambassador of Australia noted that with the New Colombo plan, Indonesia has been the most popular country for Australian Students to complete their exchange. He sighted this as an indication that the ‘people to people’ relationship is improving. Arifin Asydhad also added that Detik.com’s mission was to promote positive and inspiring stories of Australian daily life in order to strengthen Australia-Indonesia relations. The online media source has recently pursued this goal through D New Generation, a new innovation in online delivery. However, both also noted that the two countries could improve their trade relations, specifically in regards to the trading of goods. These comments come before the Indonesia Australia Business Week, which will be held in Jakarta the 17th to the 20th of November.
Ms Marshall said that the partnership between the media outlets will ‘enhance knowledge and understanding between Australia and our nearest neighbour’. She added that ‘with initiatives such as Window on Australia and our valued media partnerships, the Australia Plus platform is providing unique opportunities for Australian businesses to engage with South-East Asia’s biggest and most dynamic country’. The ABC’s Australia Plus media service has the capacity to reach 190 million people in a variety of countries across the Asia Pacific region.
MNC president Hary Tanoe also praised the media partnership as he emphasised the mutual benefit of promoting culture. One of MNC’s programs is broadcast on ABC3 Australia, demonstrating that cooperation allows for Australian audiences to be exposed to Indonesian media. He outlined that the main objective for cooperation was to inspire the audience through stories on Australian life in a wide range of sectors, such as agriculture. This was an important focus for this years programming as he explained ‘For the second year of Window on Australia, we have emphasised agriculture stories as we want to learn and improve sustainable agriculture and promote our national strategies in achieving food security.’
The MNC promotional video was then shown. It began by explaining all of the group’s media activities. The company operates 4 of Indonesia’s 11 free to air channels; RCTI, MNCTV, GlobalTV and iNewsTV. In addition, they manage 22 pay-TV channels. Furthermore, they operate Indovision and TopTV; subscription based direct broadcast satellite television and radio services. With over 2.13 million subscribers, MNC is the leader in Indonesian Pay TV with over 74% of the market share. In other words, they are a very influential media group. The video then moved on to the groups’ finance and investment branches. It was revealed that MNC group is one of Indonesia largest investment companies, owning businesses in various lines of activity, including media, financial services and investment portfolios such as coal mining. The company intends to invest billions into its property and infrastructure portfolio with the Lido and Bali Nirwana Resort developments. It showed that MNC Group is a very ambitious media provider, and one of Indonesia’s most powerful companies.
Towards the event close, the MNC journalists from Indonesia that travelled to Australia for ‘Window on Australia’ provided the audience with their impressions of the land down under. The cold weather repeatedly came up as an obstacle, with Melbourne’s freezing climate mentioned several times. The cost of cigarettes was also a problem, as one journalist spent over $300 in 2 weeks on them alone. In Indonesia, 1 packet of cigarettes costs approximately $1.50AUD, in comparison to Australia’s $30AUD a packet. Depending on which part of Indonesia you live, that could be at least a full week’s wage.
ABC Sambal sauce and Indomie instant noodles were frequently mentioned as the items most missed during their 3 weeks away from Indonesia. Although I am confident that you can find these items in Australian stores, as any University student on a budget could tell you. Food came up often, as one of the journalists recounted how his wife had prepared 1 kilogram of Rendang (curry from Sumatera), a bag of Ikan Asin (a small salted fish very popular in Indonesia) and several packets of Indomie so that he would not miss Indonesia. Yet to his disappointment, most of this was confiscated by customs upon entry into Australia.
On the flip side, all Journalists enjoyed Melbourne’s café culture and obsession with AFL. Functioning public transport, environmental policies and the nice people all impressed the journalists. The Sydney Harbour Bridge climb was one of their favourite activities as it gave them a feeling of ‘being on top of the world’. Bondi Beach was also mentioned as being an incredible location in Australia, with one journalist expressing her excitement as she realised volunteer lifeguards actually exist, and are not just in the movies.
As always in Indonesia, the hash tags of the event were essential. Competitions for the best photo of the event were posted on #jendelaaustralia (window on Australia) or #jelajah (adventure).
Certainly, the event launch was a success. After all, the promotion of people to people relationships and understandings is vital in pursuing a successful international relationship.
Quotes come from the following source
ABC News, 10 November 2015 ‘ABC International launches Window on Australia in Indonesia in partnership with MNC Group’. Retrieved from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-10/abc-international-launches-window-on-australia-in-indonesia/6927448