Indonesia’s film industry is struggling because of COVID-19. Here’s how data will save it.

Across the globe, millions of seats in cinemas are now left empty as the unseen enemy, COVID-19, lurks in public spaces.

In 2019, Bloomberg had dubbed Indonesia’s film industry as “the next biggest scene” for the year.

Fast forward to 2020, the industry is among those significantly impacted by the pandemic.

Why is it important to rescue the Indonesian film industry?

‘Ratu Ilmu Hitam’. IMAGE: GoPlay.

Within five years, Indonesia’s film industry grew rapidly.

In 2018, the Southeast Asian nation’s box office takings reached a whopping US$355 million, a testament to the talent and interest people have for the films produced.

This led Indonesia to become the 15th biggest market in the world and sixth largest in the Asia Pacific.

By 2020, before the ill-fated pandemic struck, local films were estimated to account for 55 percent of the films released. That’s more than half.

However, as more and more people begin to remain indoors and more cinemas are rendered empty, Indonesia’s film industry is struggling to survive.

COVID-19 has not only taken the lives of thousands of people, but also the livelihood of millions.

How can the Indonesian film industry be rescued?

Are online streaming platforms the solution? IMAGE: GoPlay.

It might all be doom and gloom but for Gojek, it’s time to go into overdrive to rescue Indonesia’s film industry.

Edy Sulistyo, the chief operating officer of GoPlay, Gojek’s on-demand streaming service, believes that the COVID-19 provides great opportunity for Indonesia’s film industry to evolve.

“GoPlay’s primary goal is to showcase and get Indonesian content creators and filmmakers to be discovered,” Edy said to Mashable Southeast Asia recently, adding that GoPlay does this by focusing on premium Indonesian content.

He added that the platform itself has been something that many content creators and filmmakers had been longing for.

“Because the number of distribution channels such as cinemas is extremely limited. So if you’re a content creator who’s looking to be discovered today in Indonesia, it’s basically impossible.”

Enter GoPlay and the reliance on data.

Gojek’s GoPlay aims to take the Indonesia film industry to another level. IMAGE: GoPlay.

Edy believes the solution to the problems faced by the Indonesian film industry is GoPlay.

“We work extremely closely with local filmmakers right from the start. From the creative development all the way to the post-production,” Edy said, adding that the objective is to ensure that content creators produce high quality films and series that appeal to the Indonesian people.

Content creators themselves are able to stay financially sustainable courtesy of GoPlay’s revenue-sharing model.

The platform also allows its users to view content on a pay-per-view basis. In July 2020, GoPlay further expanded by introducing a livestreaming platform that allows users to interact and engage with each other and even purchase items, something its competitor Netflix lacks.

This provides content creators ample amount of opportunities to gain further revenue through tickets and merchandizing.

Edy says GoPlay also solves another huge problem faced by the Indonesian film industry: Transparency, or the lack of it.

“Many filmmakers don’t know how their films are really performing whenever they release them in cinemas. So to estimate the success of a film, it’s often done by calculating the number of tickets sold.”

While profitability is certainly good news for producers, the challenge the traditional approach poses is that filmmakers often are in the dark about who are the people viewing their films, their likes and dislikes, and if a particular film would do well in Surabaya.

“So prior to GoPlay, when filmmakers wanted to produce something, they mostly relied on their gut feeling. And the issue with that is everytime they want to premiere something, they can only hope for the best.”

In a sense, COVID-19 is fast tracking Indonesian filmmakers to start relying on data when it comes to decision making.

Edy alluded that GoPlay would serve as a good tool for local filmmakers to analyze if their content is working and if it’s worth spending so much effort, time, and money on a particular genre or type of content.

“Because GoPlay is built upon a technology startup, so we place huge importance on data,” Edy said, adding that the Indonesian film industry is excited to see how the platform can take the nation’s content creators to a whole new level.

GoPlay is now available for download on Google Play and the App Store. For more information about the online streaming platform, go here.

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Cover image sourced from GoPlay and The Jakarta Post.