JKT48 Faces Challenges in Broadening Audience

Richardson Kilis

Richardson H. Kilis is a U.S.-educated Indonesianist who studies the relationship of technology and cultural exchange.

38 Responses

  1. Angga says:

    Can’t agree more with this. I don’t have any data but perhaps more than half of JKT48 fans is coming from the youth categorization. Only a handful of adults -some already exposed to Japanese pop culture before- that could connect themselves intimately if I might say with the group currently.

    And added with the fact that good groups image in the Indonesian general public is currently only based on vocal ability (and physical appearance) whatsoever without looking at another aspects of the group.

  2. tsu says:

    you sir, has my deepest respect for this article
    yes, AKB fans in Japan has more mature and more better incomed than the majority JKT fans in Indonesia

    I agree that the more serious and in depth media involvement is required for JKT to expand their fanbase
    but, there’s issues for generation gap if JKT manage to grasp the older, more mature fans
    I kinda wanted you has a seperated article on that issue

    • KageTora says:

      I think tsu’s idea about generation gap is worth considered. While I do have certain view regarding this generational cohorts, I need some free time to summarize it into a meaningful writing. Please share, if you have some view about this too.

  3. indr@ says:

    I agree with the article..
    Nowadays nearly every day I could see fans of JKT48 around the theater at f(x) 4th floor, and mostly are high school or college students…
    The management needs to think of a way to expand their market to broader audience.

    Although recently they tried to do that, through the promotion of the album Heavy Rotation on various radio stations.. Based on the website, market segment for i-radio, ardan and oz radio is the audience with the age between 15 to 30.

    So, let’s hope that they will succeed in obtaining more audience and fans, both from Indonesia and abroad.

  4. Djt says:

    Wants “the older” ppl watch jkt? It’s hard…. Pedophile issue …
    Wants normal girls watch jkt? This is also hard …. Most of indonesian girls feels unsecure if surrounded by male. Specially male like jkt fans, that’s just too scary for normal girls…
    But both of them can enjoy jkt songs, but don’t expect them to come to theater… Hopefully jkt fans will grow up and start to behave… Don’t to “norak/kampungan”(wierdo) the use of pin and member photopack is one of example … And some “normal” people starting reject jkt because of that kind of member …

    • Angga says:

      Don’t worry worries ’til worry worries you mate :D

      There’s really no any pedophile issue here. You know, sometimes people unconsciously afraid to accept changes or something new and they started to create this barrier unconsciously to separate them from that something new. Hence, the rejection (or perhaps..denial?) by the uh… “Normal”… people and the degrading image of JKT48 fans in general public and so does the image of fans wearing pin and members photopack as something…”weirdo” as you might suggest.

      People are just naturally afraid of something new and this is what we have now :)

  5. benimaru says:

    it is simply the cultural issue..

    such high expectacy will not be succeded here in Indonesia..

    just like the dude above says, unless you are an anti-social forever loner old dude who don’t know how to spend your monthly sallary, don’t hope adult (say above 30 yo) will pay attention to JKT as a fans.. and majoriity of women/girls in Indo still in the effect of K-pop/hallyu..

    plus, few self proclaimed religious morons in this country still think such idol concept as a taboo..

    it is already an achievement for JKT to have such fans like now..

  6. Djt says:

    Yup today achievement can considered great :)
    So don’t make something that will only make people turn to anti. Expecting older people to be jkt48 fans? Better put this a side. Keeping the current fans to be forever fans(after they 35++ they still fans) this what should they think. Also try to get the teenager fans as much as they can. And for fans try to behave so girls can also be jkt48 fans hahaha, don’t be too brutal in front of the girls fans, so they feel secure inside the theater ;)

    Lol i feel like a politician, get the younger one, forget the older coz their time is up ^^;

    • Angga says:

      forget the older coz their time is up ^^;

      Don’t say that :lol: . That makes me feels like I’m ready to kick the bucket or something :lol:

  7. tsu says:

    Well……IRL-wise i’m also include in the “mature” fans, since i 32 yrs old, i’m married, and i have a stable job and income
    i can get along with other younger fans in my city (im not in jakarta) only because i’m otaku since very young.
    so yeah, when “normal” people try to like JKT, i’m sure that deep in their heart, they will ask themselves “how do i get along with the younger fans”

    this will be important, because sooner or later they HAD TO go to the theater, because JKT is theater-based idol, you can’t grasp all their charm only by listening them on CD or watching on the DVD

  8. Rifqi says:

    I think while JKT48’s fans still comprised of young man, they already had a broader audience than local groups of their kind. I’m recently trying to, say, “study” the other groups which has been said as JKT48’s rival, and I have a rough conclusion that these local groups had a narrower audience than JKT48. However, when I compared it to singers or music groups, JKT48’s audience definitely need some rigging.

    I don’t know what kind of strategy JOT will do, but I particularly think that TV shows would do good in spreading them to an older audience. Perhaps from some variety shows first, then jumping to some short dramas or such. I was really surprised when a report about JKT48 appeared on Ikonia Metro TV, since Metro’s segmentation were focused on adults and common people in general. But in my view, this marked the beginning of JKT’s approach toward a more diverse audience.

  9. HERMAN says:

    My personal experience: A Friend of mine (27) is a die hard fan of JKT48 ever since their first debut. Unfortunately, when “normal” people around him knew that he is a wota, then they started to call him pervert, pedophilia, nerd, “Om2 cabul”,zombie, zomblo,etc. And to make it worst, his girlfriend dumped him just because she felt so incredibly jealous. Poor guy, he had my sympathy. So, the conclusion is: Gathering more fans from older segment, that won’t be easy.

    • Angga says:

      Not an easy task but also not impossible to do. The generalization of “Pedophilia”, “Nerd” or any kind of degrading words by non-fans is something that we have to face, like it or not. Just be who you are. Usually, the older segment already understood the risk they will have to take.

      As for me…I am what I am. I enjoy the girls and I don’t care what people think about me since they don’t know me for who I am :D

      • djt says:

        well since i stop to listen to anyone, so i don’t care much on what people talking about me, but to make other people like me that’s will take too much effort and the effect is not significant :D

        The point is how to make JKT48 accepted by older people right ? well for me, let those older alone, JOT better focused on the teenagers. and make sure that teenager will be fans forever, and keep make new fans from the teenagers ^^ soon when the teenagers became the older now we have older segment of JKT48.

        The real challenge is how to make a girls love JKT48 :D so if a boy already have GF, the girl won’t dump hi just because the boy is JKT48 fans. But they will have a date on JKT48 theater ^^ if this can happened then JKT48 is success conquer Indonesia

        • Angga says:

          That’s already happening as we speak now. Couples that love JKT48 altogether and often spend their date night on the theater. They gonna get married soon :lol: , I’m curious now as how they will named their baby.

          But still, we can’t use that as our barometer for JKT48 success. Hanging on to the teenagers and waiting for them to get older and financially capable is a long (Very long) term investment and to be bold, I myself still unsure whether JKT48 have reached a profitable status yet so to speak.

          If they can’t managed to take the risk as AKB did with a Pachinko parlor years ago, I’m not even really confident with their…say..lifespan..if they have to depend on that long term investment in teenagers.

        • I think there is a skewed image of what a JKT48 fan is and can be. Currently the fan base is comprise mostly of those who call themselves Wota. Although Wota are an integral part of the fan base (and I argue that Wota are actually necessary for the idol business to be successful), there will be a segment of the population that will never attend a JKT48 Theater event and still be a supporter of the group or several of its members.

          This segment is what management needs to think about and grow in the long term. They are the ones who support the group from the sidelines but will eventually make up the bulk of the demand for the group’s activities. They are the ones who purchase a single copy of a music release to support that one member rather than buying multiple copies and vote stacking. They are the ones who consume traditional entertainment and will only support members who appear on these programs.

          That person does not have to be a supporter of the entire group or even the idol business, but he or she will empathize with the member’s desire to become successful in the entertainment industry.

  10. RedRanger48 says:

    When older people supports Afikah or other Idols from Idola Cilik, they considered it as normal, so why can’t we apply the same logic to older JKT48 Fans? :-P Regarding the guy who dumped by his girlfriend etc, well we cannot judge it as whole. My friends still have working and fine relationships with their girlfriend(s) , even though they know their boyfriend(s)’ hobby.

  11. mm says:

    I think a good way to gain more female fans is an all-girls theater show. At least once a month, like AKB. :wink:

    • indr@ says:

      Yup, an all-girls theater show might be a good idea..
      I think they also need off-theater event that could attract more female fans. The events so far are bowling, billiard, futsal dan basketball which are more of a boys thing…

      • Angga says:

        One great suggestion is Ikebana Event. Great for females and great for cultural exchange!

        • mm says:

          Ikebana is a great idea. Same goes for tea making ceremony, if we want to learn from the Japanese culture.

          Or maybe handcraft session together? Make mug from scratch (out of clay) and then paint them?

          Also, I think even in a female event we can still play sports. Maybe volleyball and a lot of girls plays futsal too. ^^

          Or an event where we can go shopping together with the members lol.

          • Angga says:

            And that’s why we need a change of pace. Ikebana or tea ceremony (thanks for this idea, it’s a good one!) event is something good for a starter. There’s a lot of sportswoman out there but isn’t it getting stale a little bit recently with sports only event?

          • indr@ says:

            You mean like in the Ghost movie? I think I can imagine myself crafting the clay together with Melody :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  12. tsu says:

    well, i guess i’m lucky then my waifu is as otaku as i am, moreover she’s happens to be an avid Acchan fans more than me, hehehe she’s also know every single member of AKB, incl kenkyusei

  13. RisingSunWarrior says:

    i’m 22 which looks like 35 and my friend said that i’m phedopilia and i dont care because at least i still interested in opposite gender :wink: :wink:

  14. WasshoiJ says:

    good stuff (y) great insights

  15. HERMAN says:

    Not listening to anyone who called themselves “normal”, and being such “A man gotta do what he has to do.” are not a big deal at all. I believe you can live with that. But, being dumped by your beloved girlfriend just because you are an ordinary (no, not a zombie) JKT48 fan? Man, I think it might hurt sooo much. And believe me it really was.

    Luckily, I’m an undercover JKT48 fan so nobody knows that I’m a wota. That means I can watch their show, watch their theatre, listen to their song, buy all the swags, magazines and cd(s) without anybody “normal” shouting loudly at me: “Man! You’re nothing but a sick pervert!.” And that makes me fell great.

    • Angga says:

      Dumped by over-jealous girlfriend because of your hobby (as long as you are not over did it obviously)? I’ll take it any day as a blessing in disguise :P

    • HERMAN says:

      Yeah, guess you’re right anyway. It’d be better.

  16. Almira says:

    I’m actually pleased by the fact that most JKT’s fans are young.
    Yes, I do believe that our music preference should be independent with our age. But if you are older and overdo it (collects every photo packs, giving expensive gifts to members, basically lives in fx etc), I would say that it would creep me out. For instance, just imagine a 30 something adult women who devoted herself to, lets just say.. coboy jr. Sometimes she would write poems or sweet letters to their members. I’m sure that she will be frowned upon by her peers. I know its their own business, but its hard to restrain yourself from judging them. Appreciating music have no limit on age but obsessing it is another story.

    As for female audience, I’m pretty confident that it will grow larger soon. JKT’s fans demographic are unique since most boys rarely obsessed with celebrities. Boys usually obsessed with sports teams.

    • Angga says:

      I do believe the word “over” is always meant something not good :lol:

      I personally don’t categorized collecting photo packs as something over the boundary. Same with philately or baseball card trading perhaps. But giving expensive gift and basically lives in f(X) is something I would categorized as over the boundary as you said although the boundary for “Expensive” is always not the same per individuals.

      • djt says:

        collecting photopack not that weird, but using pin every where, and using photo of your oshi as a badge, that’s a bit weird ^^;

        • HERMAN says:

          Not only pins, but also wearing red shirt with their oshi’s face on it, assorted lighsticks, a fan(with oshimen’s face on it, of course!), weird masker, handkerchief (with picture of…you know what), huge and disturbing banner (Jesus man! Where the hell did they get that?) Ha ha ha ha ha! That kind of people should register themselves to Grogol Asylum for good.

      • Almira says:

        Yes, I agree that the word “over” is always meant something not good. But since being obsessive is quite common in JKT’s fandom, I think it might be a problem.

        If you consider photo packs as baseball cards, it might not be that weird. But collecting photos of (some) under-aged girls are pretty weird for me (we are talking about older fans here) :P

        And for the expensive gifts (ie. Iphone 4), I think giving expensive gifts should be banned by the management. It only results in apparent inequalities for fans. Personally, I think it’s rude if a guy you barely know gives you expensive gifts. And I also think girls who gladly receive them are not lady like. Especially if you don’t give anything back.

    • HERMAN says:

      No man, people collecting photopack are very common. (Remember Panini? Yes, sumthin’ like that) As common as collecting bottle caps, soccer jerseys, shoes, etc. It’s not weird anyway. Wanna hear something weird? “Maafkan Sama’ah (Summer)” that’s weird! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    • indr@ says:

      Giving expensive gifts to members is good actually, for the members of course, but it is bad for your wallet :D