Senior journalists launch Kumparan, Indonesia’s first hybrid online media
By Masyitha Baziad January 24, 2017
- Offers a combination of news sites and social media
- Received an undisclosed first round of funding from regional investors
IT HAS been two decades since the first online news portal was launched in Indonesia. Today, the country is home to around 2,000 online media, according to the country’s Press Council, but only about 211 are eligible to be called a media company.
The space is crowded and competition is tight, though this id not stop a group of senior journalists from getting together and establishing a new media entity that they claim will redefine the media landscape in the country.
Set up by the founders of Indonesia’s most popular online news site Detik.com, Budiono Darsono, Abdul Rahman, and Calvin Lukmantara have now joined forces to create Kumparan, a collaborative and an interactive platform for people to read and share information. The three have now become Kumparan’s board of directors.
Kumparan also includes other Detik.com’s executives namely Hugo Diba who now serves as the chief executive officer of Kumparan, Arifin Asydhad is the chief content officer, Heru Tjatur is chief technology officer, Ine Yordenaya is chief operational officer, and former BBC journalist and producer Yusuf Arifin is chief of collaboration and engagement.
“Our concept is to let readers create content as well, to interact and engage with them, rather than only serving them the news. We believe this will answer the needs of today’s digital native society,” its chief marketing officer Andrias Ekoyuono told Digital News Asia (DNA) via email.
He added that currently the company has more than 100 in-house journalists to write stories for the platform and about 100 public figures and communities who are members as well as content providers.
“Our members and content providers come from different backgrounds. We have ministers, activists, experts, actors, artists, musicians, writers, and other people from a variety of communities. This we believe will attract readers in a way they have never been attracted to a news site before. It is also a social media platform,” Andrias added.
Without mentioning any numbers or specific details, Andrias said the company is expecting to see tremendous growth in Kumparan’s members this year.
Kumparan has also received an undisclosed first round of funding, both from the founders as well as investors in the region. No further details were given regarding the funding.
“In the short term we want to acquire more readership and membership. In the long run, we want to see our platform having a greater social impact. We want it to be a place where people can share and gather information,” he explained.
When asked about how Kumparan will deal with ensuring accuracy from content generated by its members, Andrias said that all members’ stories will be monitored and checked by a special internal team, as well as by asking readers to flag content that they think is not accurate.
“We are a startup and therefore our journey will develop from many suggestions especially from our readers. We are also developing a system where we will be able to filter any hoaxes from our content,
“Our DNA is in the technology itself. We want to ensure that our platform is based on technology and that technology will always be improved over time to deliver the best experience to our readers and members,” he added.
How it works
It took less than a year for the founders to discuss the idea of Kumparan, and only six months for the platform to be developed, explained Andrias. Now, Kumparan is available on web app, as well as a beta version of the mobile app that can be accessed on both iOS and Android.
For people who only want to read, Kumparan works like a usual news site. Once the web address or mobile app is open, people can browse stories in the home site, or via categories. In the mobile app, readers can choose to see news from trending to topic pages.
However, for people who want to take their experience to the next level, such as following public figures or stories, commenting on stories, or even wanting to share their own stories, a sign-in process is needed. So far the process is enabled only via Facebook or Google+ sign in.
Once signed in, the ‘about me’ page will be accessible. It contains an ‘about me’ section, as well as profile pictures that users can edit. So far, there are no premium account features on the platform.
With a Kumparan profile, users can write articles, upload photos and videos to support the articles, and follow other profiles within the platform. Stories will be displayed in horizontal feeds just like other social media such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Andrias said that Kumparan does not have an age or gender limitation with regards to its target market. It targets people across generations, ages, socio-economic segments, and genders.
In terms of monetisation, Kumparan is adopting the traditional media business model with advertising as its core.