Thailand Media Landscape: Navigating the Challenges in 2024
Thailand’s media landscape is poised to face numerous challenges in 2024 because media and content consumption have become increasingly fragmented. Social media algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI), especially generative AI, have notably been playing a bigger role in shaping how media and content are consumed.
The ‘Thailand Media Landscape 2023-2024’ report, produced by Dataxet Limited, explores current trends as well as information and developments across various media platforms. The report will also feature insights from exclusive interviews with academics, journalists, influencers, and executives. This comprehensive overview outlines the challenges that may arise in 2024 and provides valuable insights into effective strategies and the secrets to successful content creation and marketing.
Fragmentation is here!
Monitoring online and social media developments a must for content creators
As a result, content creators must find the right media platforms to present their content, make adjustments to their content presentation and produce unique content that can resonate with specific audience segments.
The trend of media fragmentation is in line with the perspective of Ravit Harnutsaha, CEO of Srichand United Dispensary Co., Ltd. and host of Mission To The Moon, who says that unlike in the past, media consumers have become increasingly fragmented and diverse.
Therefore, “experimenting” with different types of content-creation approaches is crucial to figuring out how to produce the main content that can be a strong point of your program or media type and on which media platform should the content be distributed during a specific time to best reach out to consumers and maintain their interest in the midst of intense competition in the media industry, algorithm changes and unstoppable technological advances.
Facebook, YouTube, TikTok popular among Thai social media users
; but YouTube reigns as platform for generating income
Although media consumption behaviors and the content offered to consumers have diversified significantly, it is undeniable that social media remains dominant and highly favored among Thais. According to data from DataReportal, Facebook remains the most widely used social media platform, boasting 48.1 million active users as of January 2023. Trailing just behind was YouTube with 43.9 million users. As for TikTok, it is the third-most popular social media platform in Thailand.
Despite TikTok’s relatively recent entry into the social media landscape, its user number skyrocketed in the past years, surpassing Facebook Messenger. According to DataReportal, in early 2023, the global TikTok users count stood at 1.218 billion, with 40.28 million users in Thailand.
Facebook Messenger reported the total number of users at 1.036 billion globally, around 35.05 million of which were in Thailand. Moreover, the ad reach in Thailand was ranked 19th in the world, accounting for 65.3%.
Eye on the Explosive Growth of TikTok’s Live-commerce and Shoppertainment
TikTok is a popular social media platform that has evolved from a short-form video service for entertainment into a news and information source for users in Thailand.
This aligns with data from Dataxet Co., Ltd., which was collected through the DXT360 platform with a report on TikTok released in May 2023. The data shows that TikTok had the highest volume of engagement among all social media platforms during the 2023 general elections in Thailand. Such evidence suggests that TikTok not only provides entertainment but also manages to build upon its popularity into becoming a medium for staying informed about news and important everyday issues.
Besides its popularity for acquiring information, TikTok has also ventured into the realm of e-commerce, spearheading the live-commerce trend, or online livestream selling, to captivate Thai TikTok users who are already enjoying online shopping. The introduction of live-commerce hence adds a vibrant charm to the thriving TikTok Shop feature. Furthermore, going live on TikTok itself also contributes to sustaining the relationship between buyers and sellers.
Thai Media Trends 2024
In the exclusive interviews, the Thailand Media Landscape report gathers insights from academics, mass media, influencers, and content creators to prepare for the challenges that may arise in 2024.
Discovering the "Generative AI" Trend and the Viewpoints of Thai media
Artificial intelligence (AI) is an innovative technology that is revolutionizing every business, particularly Generative AI (Gen AI). Since the release of ChatGPT at the end of 2022, different types of Gen AI have been a hot issue in every field, including the media. In the second and third quarters of 2023, the theme of seminars organized by various organizations or enterprises in Thailand is the role and relevance of AI for discussion. Then comes the well-known question:
As each media source or group of content creators employs AI in a unique manner and frequency, the answers offered to the aforementioned question by various media or public relations firms differ. Most people would think of AI as a power-saving machine that will assist with tasks like gathering information, creating storylines, creating pictures to accompany content, or translating languages. But, in the end, people must be the writers or creators of content for it to appear as they choose.
However, if people working in the media industry lack knowledge of how to adapt and use this technology creatively, they may face competition from other content creators who employ AI to help boost efficiency and long-term performance.
The influencer market continues to expand, but their identity must be distinctive to thrive
The influencer industry continues to expand in size due to the influx of new participants. According to Nielsen Thailand, Thailand has up to 2-3 million influencers, ranking second only to Indonesia in Southeast Asia. This is partly due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the rise of social media platforms such as TikTok, which has allowed many individuals to create content until they become famous.
As the number of influencers grows and becomes more diversified, they must have distinctiveness and authenticity in order to thrive in the business long term. Associate Professor Dr. Smith Boonchutima, Lecturer at the Department of Public Relations, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University, believes that
Any influencer who is not authentic and does not have a thorough understanding will be discarded because those who know them will decide on better choices because there are many options. So, if someone wants to be an influencer, they must be exceptionally talented. They come and go if they aren’t particularly good.
: a red-hot trend and strategy, fulfilling digital gratifications
Fandom Marketing, or tactics for creating brands through fans, remains popular in the digital era. This is due in part to influencer and social media, which has established a community and evolved into a fandom. “Dom” or fanclub is therefore no longer limited to the world of Korean artists and singers’ fans.
Especially in 2023, a strong and powerful trend among fans who are enthusiastic about Thai and international artists, influencers, athletes, beauty queens, and Y Series followers (those who are interested in and admire MSM) has exploded exponentially after being suppressed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fandom movement therefore has stressed their role and purchasing power in supporting their favorite artists or influencers from various campaigns.
In 2023, one campaign that has been highly talked about and successful as a result of the fandom power is “Lotus’s Anniversary 2023 ‘Golden Moment Park Seo Jun Meet & Greet in Bangkok,” which aims to celebrate Lotus’s 30th anniversary. The campaign’s first-place winner has spent more than 78 million baht.
In terms of the future of fandom, fandom owners or influencers must have their own identity and uniqueness in order to thrive among rapidly growing new influencers and content creators and maintain their community and fan base.
Digital TV is not yet extinct, but it is not growing either; rather, splitting business lines to diversify risks
Even though social media and streaming have disrupted digital TV, causing fewer viewers on traditional TV screens, this does not mean people have stopped watching TV. Instead, they choose to watch TV shows online. According to Nielsen data from October 2023, the rating for viewing TV programs on TV devices was still the highest at 7.327%, while the rating for watching TV on digital media such as YouTube was 1.638%. As a result, digital television is not yet extinct.
However, while television continues to exist, the television business does not “grow” as much as it once did. The TV advertising budget has merely fallen and stayed constant over the last ten years. Similarly, Nielsen figures for the first ten months of 2023 reveal that, while TV has the biggest percentage of advertising spending, valued at 50.415 billion baht, this figure has declined 4% from the same time last year.
Therefore, players in the Thai TV market today must split their business lines and manage risk diversification in order to thrive. Whether it’s producing movies, series content for OTT platforms, or even manufacturing a drink based on the sitcom series.
2024 Media Landscape in a nutshell
2024 is the year that Thailand’s media landscape will face challenges not only from AI, especially the increasingly popular generative AI, but also from the fragmentation of how media and content are consumed.
Meanwhile, with the number of content creators and influencers skyrocketing, influencers continue to appeal to both brands and media agencies. As a result, “Fandom marketing” has been widely employed because fandoms have proven to have “the roles and purchasing power” to support their favorite artists or influencers in various campaigns.
As for social-media platforms, Facebook, YouTube and TikTok are the most popular platforms among Thai social-media users, but YouTube is the most popular income-generating platform. Nevertheless, the arrival of TikTok in the e-commerce market and how it drives the popularity of live-commerce among Thai TikTok users, who are already into online shopping, is an interesting development.
Digital TV still manages to retain its foothold despite the disruption caused by social-media and streaming platforms as well as declining TV ad spending.