The influence of audience on television content in post-authoritarian Indonesia
In Indonesia, the downfall of the last authoritarian ruler in May 1998 marked the beginning of the transition to democracy in the country. Before 1998, the autocratic government monitored firmly the media content for decades. However, a question arises, who actually controls media content in the current era of liberalization. This empirical research intends to investigate the role of audience in influencing the program content. The data collections involved various sources, including interviews with around 100 television workers, participant observations, documents, and television reports. The results revealed that audience influence on television content is best presented on the use of rating reports in developing the program content. Every program content must be blended with entertainment elements with the intended goal is to reach the highest level of marketability. This mixture finally produces a dumbing-down effect, or the deliberate diminution of the intellectual level of program contents to ensure mass acceptability.