'Kontan' business daily makes debut

Ika Krismantari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesia's largest media empire, the Kompas Gramedia Group (KGG), launched Kontan, its first business daily, on Monday in a move that will further heat up the competition in the business-media market.

Sharing the same name as the group's weekly business journal, Kontan, the new newspaper will go head to head with two other national business dailies, Bisnis Indonesia and Investor Daily which have for many years controlled the business newspaper market.

"There are still wide open opportunities in the segmented newspaper market as a lot of potential remains untapped, Kontan editor-in-chief Yopie Hidayat told The Jakarta Post by phone Monday.

With an expected circulation of 75,000, the newspaper wants to become the country's preeminent business daily among both businesspeople and ordinary people.

"Our vision is to provide more personalized business news. We are aiming at new readers, including young, upwardly mobile people and housewives, who manage their families' finances," Yopie explained.

He said that the existing business newspapers were failing to fulfill people's growing needs for general business information as much of the content was still focused on corporate news, while ignoring the needs of the grass roots.

"We want to humanize the business news," he said.

In its first issue, Kontan not only contained news on macroeconomic issues and corporate affairs, as is the norm in business dailies, but also lighter, but equally important, information for ordinary people, such as tips on how to start up a business.

Investor Daily chief editor Primus Dorimulu insisted he was not worried by the arrival of Kontan daily, saying that in a free market, competition was always healthy.

"I don't see any problem. It's quite normal if we have to compete for the same readership," Primus said.

Investor Daily was first published in 2001 by the Investor Group, which also publishes other business-oriented media, including the newly launched Globe Asia magazine. Currently, the paper has a circulation of some 40,000 copies per day, and is distributed in 25 cities throughout Indonesia.

Similarly, Bisnis Indonesia chief editor Achmad Djauhar responded positively to the launch of Kontan, saying that its entry into the market would stimulate improvements in the quality of the existing business dailies.

"They (competitors) always motivate us to continue to improve our own product," Achmad said.

Believed to be the country's biggest business daily, Bisnis Indonesia has a total circulation of 85,000 copies.

Commenting on the Kontan's debut, Nielsen Media Research's executive director, Ananto Pratikno, told the Post that the market for business and investment-oriented newspapers was still wide open.

"The most important thing is that they are able to meet the needs of untapped market segments," he said
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