Television in Indonesia

A Metro TV cameraman in Gelora Bung Karno Stadium Jakarta, reporting the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup match.

State-run station TVRI held a television monopoly in Indonesia until 1989, when the first commercial station, RCTI (Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia) began as a local station and was subsequently granted a national license a year later.

Each of the networks have a wide variety of programmes, ranging from traditional shows, such as wayang performances, to programmes like Indonesian Idol which are based on Western models. One typical television show common to almost every network is sinetron[1] Sinetron is usually a drama series, following the soap opera format, but can also refer to any fictional series. Sometimes it can be comedic, like the popular Bajaj Bajuri series, featuring a bajaj driver and the people he drives around.


TVRI head office, the first TV station in Indonesia.

The first time the Indonesian public witnessed the demonstration of a television was in 1955, 29 years after its introduction in 1926, and 26 years after the world's first television broadcast was made in 1929. These first televisions were brought from the Soviet Union during the Yogyakarta 200 years anniversary fair (Pekan Raja 200 Tahun Kota Djogjakarta).[2]

On July 25, 1961, the Minister of Information, R. Maladi, signed an agreement (SK Menpen) to create a committee for the preparation of the establishment of television in Indonesia. This was established as a part of the preparation for the fourth Asian Games. There was only a year to create a studio, broadcast tower, and other technical equipments in the former site of the Information Academy at Senayan. In that short period of preparation, Sukarno had a very prominent role, going as far as to personally choosing the equipment and where they should be imported from. The first experimental TV broadcast was the live coverage of the celebration of the 17th Anniversary of Indonesia's Independence on the morning August 17, 1962 from Jakarta's Merdeka Palace.[2]

At 14.30, August 24, 1962, the citizens of Jakarta witnessed the live broadcast of the opening ceremony of the 4th Asian Games from Gelora Bung Karno. This broadcast was held by the Television Division of the Radio and Television Organizing Committee Bureau. This day is now recognized as the birth of Televisi Republik Indonesia or TVRI, the first television station in Indonesia.[2]

On October 20, 1963, the government issued a Presidential Decision (Keppres) regarding the formation of the TVRI Foundation (Jajasan TVRI) as its governing body. In the first year of the TVRI broadcast, there are 10,000 television owners in Indonesia. Since then, the Foundation allotted a tax for television-owners until 1969, when the television property tax was transferred through mail and air deliveries nationwide. From 1963 to 1976, TVRI established television stations in Yogyakarta (1965), Medan (1970), Makassar (1972), Balikpapan (1973), and Palembang (1974). In 2001, TVRI has 12 television stations and 8 production studios. Color broadcasting was introduced on September 1, 1979[2] on TVRI's national and local stations, which expanded to other provincial capitals. TVRI also adopted a second channel for Jakarta viewers at the same time.

Advertisements were introduced to TVRI on March 1, 1963 to cope with the increasing broadcast hours. This advertisement was known as Siaran Niaga (literally "advertisement broadcast").[2] Now, television advertisements and other general advertisings are known simply as iklan ("advertisement").

On August 16, 1976, the Domestic Satellite Communication System (Sistem Komunikasi Satelit Domestik or SKSD) through Palapa A1 was inaugurated. This communication satellite was the first satellite owned by Indonesia and one of the first satellite operated by a developing country. Palapa A1 had 12 transponders which allows TVRI to distribute its broadcast reach nationally.[2] Thus TVRI entered the 1980s with a two-channel system, the first, TVRI Nasional, being broadcast nationwide with the second channel broadcasting local content from the provinces and Jakarta.

On January 5, 1980, President Soeharto issued an instruction to remove the Siaran Niaga advertisements from TVRI.[3] The reason for this is from the belief that advertisements may create negative effects for the development of Indonesia during that time. This instructions had created pros and cons, especially because there is no research behind this statement. One month later, the Department of Information's Research and Department division decided to perform a research about the effect of advertisements to national development programs aired within the TVRI network.[2] In March 1980, the ban on commercial advertisements was lifted.

As the only TV station in Indonesia for many years, aside from coverage of state events, sessions of the People's Consultative Assembly and national holidays, as well as news, educational programming and regional programs in the many regional languages, TVRI had also broadcast entertainment, child-oriented and sports programmes to suit the needs of the viewing public. As part of the plans of the Fifth Development Cabinet, however, noticing how its ASEAN neighbours had operated private television channels with success (Malaysia had its by then sole private TV channel, TV3, which opened in 1984 and the Philippines and Thailand also had private TV stations in conjunction with the state networks, while TVRI was by then in the same situation as in Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Brunei which all had only a state TV channel while Vietnam had both national and state-sponsored regional stations), the door was opened for the formation of private television stations and an end to the TVRI monopoly. On August 24, 1989, the second television station in Indonesia, Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia or RCTI, was inaugurated. This was the nation's first privately owned television station. The television station was owned by Bambang Trihatmodjo. Unlike TVRI, RCTI was allowed to broadcast advertisements up to 15% its broadcast hours, and began as a local station before broadcasting countrywide. TVRI would finally air advertisements since 1998 after the country transitioned to democracy. On August 24, 1990, the third television station, Surya Citra Televisi or SCTV, formerly Surabaya Centra Televisi, was inaugurated. This television station was owned by "king of cineplex" Sudwikatmono.[2]

On September 13, 1990, the president issued Presidential Decree no. 40 regarding the television property tax collection between Yayasan TVRI and PT Mekatama Raya, a private company owned by Sudwikatmono and Sigit Hardjojudanto. Since the beginning of 1991, this private company was the responsible body to withdraw television property tax from the people. The reason for this change is to increase revenue from the lower 1969 post and air mail system.[2]

On January 23, 1991, PT Cipta Televisi Pendidikan Indonesia (TPI) started its broadcast of educational programs with some advertisements. The company was led by Siti Hardjanti. During its first years, TPI shared channels with TVRI and as a blocktimer then with the channel, its facility and operational staff, whenever TVRI did not broadcast, were supported by the channel.[2]

On April 14, 1992, the Directorate General of Radio, Television and Films decided that Yayasan TVRI will phrase out the television tax altogether when, after one year, PT Mekatama Raya failed to increase the revenue from payments made by viewers.[2]

On October 1992, the Ministry of Information issued televiison broadcast licenses for six companies: PT Indosiar Visual Mandiri or Indosiar (Jakarta), PT Sanitya Mandara Televisi (Yogyakarta), PT Merdeka Citra Televisi Indonesia (Semarang), PT Ramako Indotelevisi (Batam), PT Cakrawala Andalas Televisi or ANTV (Lampung), and PT Cakrawala Bumi Sriwijaya Televisi (Palembang). Of all these six television companies, only PT Indosiar Visual Mandiri and PT Cakrawala Andalas Televisi were able to broadcast continuously. On February 28, 1993, PT Cakrawala Andalas Televisi, a joint venture between Agung Laksono and the Bakrie family, started its first broadcast. The broadcast station was initially planned to be located in Lampung, but later moved to Jakarta, in a building at Kuningan. PT Indosiar Visual Mandiri, owned by Salim Group, started its first broadcast on January 11, 1995.[2]

In March 1998, TV Kabel Indovision, operated by PT Matahari Lintas Cakrawala under the leadership of Peter F. Gontha, started its operation as the first cable television in Indonesia (the first cable television was operated in the United States in 1972). Previously, since 1996, Indovision had operated using television decoders and parabolic antennas.[2]

In October 1999, out of fourteen applicants that had been received by Department of Information, five television broadcasting companies passed the selection and received broadcast licenses. These companies are: Trans TV (PT Televisi Transformasi Indonesia, led by Ishadi, the former head of TVRI), MetroTV (operated by Grup Media Indonesia which was led by Surya Paloh), Global TV (PT Global Informasi Bermutu, established by Timmy Habibie), Lativi (PT Lativi Media Karya, owned by Abdul Latief), and TV7 (PT Duta Visual Nusantara Tivi Tujuh). Metro TV was the first to broadcast on November 25, 2000, as the seventh Indonesian television channel[2]

On June 7, 2000, following the changes after the dissolution of the Department of Information by President Abdurrahman Wahid, TVRI was officially able to change its status into a Service Company (Perusahaan Jawatan).[2]

The use of Chinese was banned from 1965 to 1994 in Indonesian television, but its use did not come until years later. In November 2000, after more than 3 decades, Metro TV would become the first to broadcast news in Mandarin Chinese to the Indonesian Chinese community.[4]

Types of Indonesian television broadcast[edit]


Terrestrial TV started with the establishment of the first television station in Indonesia. Indonesia only has one television channel until the establishment of RCTI is a first private television in Indonesia. Currently, the major national free-to-air terrestrial television stations in Indonesia are TVRI, RCTI, SCTV, MNCTV, antv, Indosiar, Metro TV, Trans TV, Trans7, tvOne, GTV, Kompas TV, NET., RTV, iNews, and MYTV, Info TV (Indonesia), Mola TV. Since Q1 2011 the authority allow (Indonesian) digital television simulcast with analog television in some area. Indonesia adopted DVB-T format but decided to change to DVB-T2 on 1 January 2012.


Satellite television has been available in Indonesia since Indovision, now known as MNC Vision, incorporated on 8 August 1988 and officially launched on 16 January 1994. Since then, technology for satellite television has changed from analogue to digital. Satellite television in Indonesia using digital video broadcasting-satellite format. Up to now, there are more than five satellite pay TV operators: MNC Vision, Transvision, Skynindo, OrangeTV, Topas TV, K-Vision and BiG TV. Free satellite television is available nationwide through various satellites, such as Palapa-D and Telkom-1.


PT Broadband Multimedia Tbk is the first operator for cable TV in Indonesia under the brand name "Kabelvision" on 16 January 1994. In 2006, the company launched Digital 1 along with the technology changed from analogue to digital. The company then change the name of the company to PT First Media Tbk on 8 September 2007 and also launched new brand, name First Media. Cable TV now is only available in Jabodetabek, Surabaya, and Bandung area. Cable TV in Indonesia is using digital video broadcasting-cable format.


Mobile TV has two categories, free-to-air and Pay TV. Free-to-air TV available for years in Indonesia. Free-to-air is using analogue technology like UHF/VHF. Now free-to-air TV has adopted digital technology. In Indonesia, free-to-air TV is using digital video broadcasting-handheld format.

There is only one operator for Mobile Pay TV in Indonesia. Mobile TV is currently only available in Jakarta.

List of terrestrial television channels[edit]

Name Slogan Owner Launch date Genre Type Terestrial available via Former name(s)
TVRI Televisi Republik Indonesia Government of Indonesia 24 August 1962 (1962-08-24) General Public Digital and analogue
RCTI Oke Media Nusantara Citra 24 August 1989 (1989-08-24) General entertainment Commercial Analogue only
GTV Pilihan Terbaik Keluarga Indonesia 11 October 2017 (2017-10-11) (relaunch date) tvG (8 October 2002 – 13 October 2006)
Global TV (13 October 2006 – 11 October 2017)
MNCTV Selalu Di Hati 20 October 2010 (2010-10-20) (relaunch date) TPI (23 January 1991 – 20 October 2010)
iNews Inspiring and Informative 31 October 2017 (2017-10-31) (relaunch date) News and sports SUN TV (1 January 2007 – 25 September 2011)
SINDOTV (26 September 2011 – 6 April 2015)
iNews TV (6 April 2015 – 31 October 2017)
SCTV Satu Untuk Semua Surya Citra Media 24 August 1990 (1990-08-24) General entertainment Digital and analogue Surabaya Centra Televisi (24 August 1990 – 23 August 1993)
Indosiar Memang Untuk Anda 11 January 1995 (1995-01-11)
O Channel Informent 16 June 2005 (as local channel)

2013 (as national channel)

Analogue only
antv Kev Visi Media Asia 1 March 1993 (1993-03-01) Digital and analogue ANteve (1 March 1993 – 28 February 2003)
tvOne Memang Beda 14 February 2008 (2008-02-14) (relaunch date) News and sports Lativi (30 July 2002 – 14 February 2008)
SportOne 2014 Sports and general entertainment
Metro TV Knowledge to Elevate Media Group 25 November 2000 (2000-11-25) News
Trans TV Milik Kita Bersama Trans Media 15 December 2001 (2001-12-15) General entertainment
Trans7 Milik Kita Bersama 15 December 2006 (2006-12-15) (relaunch date) TV7 (25 November 2001 – 15 December 2006)
CNN Indonesia 15 December 2015 News Digital only
DAAI TV Tzu Chi October 2006 Inspiration Digital and analogue
Kompas TV Kompas Gramedia 9 September 2011 (2011-09-09) News and sports
Gramedia TV General entertainent Digital only
NET. Net Visi Media 26 May 2013 (2013-05-26) General entertainment Digital and analogue Spacetoon (terrestrial) (23 March 2005–17 May 2013)
RTV Rajawali Corpora
Mayapada Group
3 May 2014 (2014-05-03) (relaunch date) B-Channel (1 November 2009 – 3 May 2014)
MYTV Mayapada Group 1 February 2019 (2019-02-01) (relaunch date) Women and General Entertainment Analogue only Banten TV (28 August 2006 – 31 December 2015)
INTV (1 January 2016 – 1 February 2019)
Jawa Pos TV Jawa Pos Group 17 August 2015 News and sports Radar TV (as local channel) (2012 – July 2017)

Most-viewed channels[edit]

Most viewed channels in Q1 2018.[5]

Position Channel Group Share of total viewing (%)
1 ANTV Visi Media Asia 15.6%
2 SCTV Emtek 15.6%
3 Indosiar 13.3%
4 RCTI MNC Media 11.8%
5 MNCTV 9.6%
6 GTV 6.8%
7 Trans TV Trans Media 5.8%
8 Trans7 5.8%
9 RTV Rajawali Corpora
Mayapada Group
10 NET. Net Visi Media 2.8%


Metro TV[edit]




Trans TV[edit]


MNC TV[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sinetron is an abbreviation from an Indonesian phrasedenotind "electronic cinema".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Dicky. Kompas Research and Development. Kompas. 2002
  3. ^ National Budget Plan 1981/1982 (RAPBN 1981/1982)
  4. ^ "Metro TV breaks Indonesian TV mould". Television Asia. Singapore: Cahners Business Information. November 2000. p. 8.
  5. ^ "Tingkat Kepemirsaan Stasiun Televisi, Siapa Unggul?". 26 August 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.