BUILDING online communities is a key survival strategy for the operators of traditional media in an age of digital transition along with creating original content, media experts suggest.
“Viewership via both TV and online platforms is growing together. Digital content distribution will never kill or replace the way we consume TV shows on normal screens,” said Chalakorn Panyashom, chief operating officer of Workpoint Entertainment, broadcaster of the Workpoint TV digital channel.
Judging from his experiment of providing live feeds of top-rated TV shows via Facebook Live and YouTube Live, Chalakorn said the number of online viewers was still growing and traditional TV ratings were also increasing.
He took “The Mask Singer” music competition show that aired on January 26 as a good example. On that day, the programme generated the highest rating in the country for the 8-10pm airtime slot, at 8.382 points. On social-media platforms, the show was watched by 308,135 Facebook users and 116,371 YouTube users during the live broadcast.
Adding to Workpoint’s strong community, its official YouTube account is ranked No 1 with more than 5 million subscribers, and its video clips have been watched more than 400 million times a month.
Its Facebook fanpage is also on top with more than 7 million followers and reaches about 60 million to 70 million people per week. Its fanpage engages with 30 million to 40 million people a week and its video clips have been watched more than 35 times in a single week. Meanwhile, the TV station is also followed by more than 16 million Line users.
“By building up its online audiences, Workpoint will be able to monetise its content further as well as lure advertisers and sponsors to engage with us across media platforms,” Chalakorn said.
Online-community development is also another survival tool for print media in this period of digital disruption. The publisher of Maeban magazine said it understood the changes and how to prepare for this challenge.
Pongsiri Hetrakul, a publiser business development director at Meaban Maeban Publishing, said his company started by creating new content about cuisine and cooking tips for online platforms and used its Facebook fanpage to share these with its followers. With good storytelling and presentation, video clips featuring cooking tips and preparation had been shared widely in social media. As a result, Meaban Maeban’s fanpage has more than 1.72 million followers.
Last year, the publisher decided to build another online community based on the content and brand of its Nylon fashion and lifestyle magazine.
“With the rapid changes in digital media, revenue from digital advertising and sponsorships already covered [equal] traditional income, as advertisers and sponsors believe in quality content and target groups,” Ponsiri said.
The company is also planning to develop online communities for other publications, including TimeOut, a free-distribution magazine, Pradid Pradoy, Weekend and Agriculture Mag.
Thai Public Broadcasting Service is also planning to create special content via its social-media networks as well as its own media platform to engage with young audiences.
“Digital content offerings will be our focus this year to help expand our online community,” Thai PBS director-general Krissada Raungarreerat said.
Currently, Thai PBS’s Twitter account has more than 2 million followers, while its Facebook fanpage has more than 3.5 million.