The Philippine media industry has undergone a massive transformation in recent years, as digital and social media have taken center stage.
Boasting a population of 100 million plus, the Philippines has become a prime target for brands, businesses, and advertisers, cementing its status as one of the leading markets in Southeast Asia.
Although traditional media, such as broadsheets, remain the most credible source of information for Filipinos; digital media is on the rise with an increasing number of Filipinos turning to the internet for news, entertainment, and information. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have become essential tools for communication and expression, with millions of Filipinos using these platforms daily.
Traditional vs. Digital – What are the Key Channels in the Philippines?
Traditional media, such as print, television and radio, still play an important role in the Philippines, with daily broadsheets being the most important medium to the general public as they provide in-depth coverage of both local and international events.
However, with digitalization becoming more popular than ever, it is no surprise that traditional media outlets are also making their presence online to stay connected to their audience. The Philippine Daily Inquirer, one of the Philippines’ biggest media outlets, is now driven by its digital version, Inquirer.net with approximately 165,877 daily pageviews and remains one of the top online channels in the country.
Magazines are also able to retain their popularity with the help of digitalization. E-magazines have become one of the go-to sources of information for Filipinos to get updates on what is trending.
Additionally, television and radio also remain popular in the Philippines. There are now about 227 T.V stations and more than 700 radio stations across the country. For example, the gigantic GMA Network’s combined people net reach, including GTV and its other digital channels, is 78 million viewers, with an audience share of 59.5 percent of the total population in 2022.
It’s worth mentioning that social media has also become increasingly popular in the country. Almost 50 percent of Filipinos now use social media as a source of news and of course, entertainment. As of January 2023, there is now around 90.2 million Facebook users in Philippines, around 42.8 million users on TikTok, followed by approximately 19.02 million users on Instagram.
The rise of digital media has created opportunities for new formats in the Philippines. Streaming services, such as Netflix, iFlix, and Bilibili have become popular in the country, offering a wide selection of movies, TV shows, and documentaries. Online video and community platforms, such as YouTube and Bilibili, have also become important sources of content, with many Filipinos turning to these channels for their favorite content creators and personalities.
“Filipinos are avid online content consumers. With up to 96 percent of the population watching their favorite TV shows on streaming services such as Netflix each month, it has surpassed the global average of 90.9 percent, and is currently leading the world in vlog watching and playing video games.” said Rae Cay, Vero’s Digital Account Manager. “From here, subcultures like the ACG (Animation, Comics, and Games) community have grown from a niche interest to mainstream in the country.”
Securing earned media coverage: What gets picked up easily?
Earned media is essential for building brand awareness, establishing credibility, and reaching a wider audience. However, with so much competition for media attention, it can be challenging to get your story heard. Here are some key topics that are most likely to get picked up easily by the media in the business, lifestyle, health, and tech sectors.
- Market Entry and Expansion: News of a company entering or expanding in the Philippine market is a hot topic that journalists are likely to cover. This is particularly true if the company is a well-known brand or if the market entry represents a significant investment.
- Revenue Disclosure: Companies that are transparent about their revenue and financial performance are more likely to receive media coverage. This is because journalists are always on the lookout for stories that can provide valuable insights into the financial health of the country’s economy.
- PO Announcement: Product or service announcements are always a good opportunity to get media coverage. Journalists are interested in learning about new and innovative products and services, especially if they have the potential to disrupt the market or change the way people live and work.
- Corporate Partnerships: Joint ventures, strategic partnerships, and other collaborations between companies are also newsworthy. These types of stories are interesting to readers and can demonstrate the strength of your brand and its partnerships.
- Personnel Appointment: The appointment of key personnel, such as a new CEO or CFO, can also be a source of media attention. Journalists are interested in learning about the background and experience of the new leader and what changes they may bring to the company.
- New Product Launches and New Places: Consumers are always interested in new and exciting products and places, so news of product launches or new store openings is likely to get picked up by the media.
- Collaborations: Collaborations between brands, especially in the fashion and beauty sectors, are also newsworthy. These stories often generate interest because they showcase new and innovative products and services.
- K-Wave: The K-Wave, or Korean cultural wave, is a growing trend in the Philippines. Stories about K-Pop, Korean dramas, and other Korean cultural exports are likely to get picked up by the media, especially if they are tied to new product launches or events.
- COVID-19: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created a significant amount of media interest in the health sector. News about the latest developments from the pandemic, as well as measures being taken by the government and private sector to combat the virus, are likely to receive media attention.
- Medical Breakthroughs: Stories about medical breakthroughs, such as new treatments or cures, are also newsworthy in the health sector. Journalists are interested in covering these types of stories because they can have a significant impact on the lives of many people.
- Data-driven Consumer Insights: Companies that use data to gain insights into consumer behavior and trends are likely to receive media coverage. Journalists are interested in learning about innovative uses of data and how it is being used to drive business decisions.
- New Product Launches: News of new product launches, especially in the tech sector, is always of interest to journalists. Whether it’s a new smartphone, laptop, or other consumer electronics, these types of stories are likely to receive media attention.
On top of that, if your brand is running an event, we suggest using the four key strategies below to get your media coverage.
- Save the Date/Event Line-Up: The first step in getting your event picked up by the media is to announce the date and line-up as early as possible. This will give journalists time to plan their coverage and ensure that they have the information they need to write about your event. It’s also a good idea to provide a brief overview of what attendees can expect, such as keynote speakers, entertainment, and other highlights.
- Pre-Event Announcements: As the event approaches, it’s important to make additional pre-event announcements to build excitement and anticipation. This can include reminders about the event date and line-up, as well as updates on any new or exciting developments. You can also reach out to journalists to offer interviews or behind-the-scenes access to the event.
- Post-Event/Event Wrap-Up: After the event has taken place, it’s important to follow up with the media to share highlights and wrap-up information. This can include photos, videos, and testimonials from attendees, as well as a summary of what took place. This will give journalists the information they need to write a comprehensive story about your event.
- Event Sponsors and Participation: Finally, it’s important to highlight the event sponsors and participants. Journalists are interested in learning about the companies and organizations that are involved in the event, and how their participation contributes to the success of the event. This information can also be used to demonstrate the strength of your brand and its partnerships.
Whether it’s a corporate conference, a product launch, or a cultural festival, these suggestions will help you get the coverage you need to reach a wider audience.
Local media outlets often prefer to write about content creators with a high following and engagement, or content that recently became viral. They are seen as celebrities in the Philippines, and stories about their life achievements, such as buying a house, getting married, or having a baby, are often under Entertainment news.
Media and Community Engagement
In the Philippines, media and community engagement activities have grown in recent years, creating opportunities for brands and businesses to connect with their target audience and build stronger relationships.
“One of the key benefits of media and community engagement activities is the opportunity to connect and address the unique needs of different communities, helping to build trust and establish a positive brand image.” said Nicole Briones, Vero’s Operations Director in the Philippines. “In 2022, our team in Manila created a very fun and engaging IMC campaign to launch Duolingo’s Filipino to English language course in the country by engaging them in a duet challenge. This campaign was a success because we were able to tap into Duolingo’s spirit of fun, as well as Filipinos’ love for karaoke.” Read the case study of the campaign here.
In 2023, there are several potential media engagement opportunities that brands can consider to drive impact and increase visibility.
- Personalized Gifts: Celebrating birthdays and anniversaries of key media influencers and journalists can help to build strong relationships with them. Brands can personalize gifts to show appreciation for their work and make a lasting impression.
- Explore branded media content: Investing in branded content with media publishers can help increase brand awareness and reach a wide audience. Advertorials can be used to share brand stories and communicate key messages to the target audience.
- Lunches/Coffee Sessions: Organizing lunches or coffee sessions is an excellent opportunity to foster face-to-face relationships and build credibility.
- Thematic Watch Parties: This is a great activity to engage with influencers and their followers, as well as the public. This can be a fun way to get people talking about a brand and its products and/or services, while also providing an opportunity to drive conversations and increase brand awareness. For example, earlier last year, Vero helped boost Bilibili’s social media growth in the Philippines by working with Andre Knite (they/them) to throw a watch party on Bilibili Philippines Facebook page and was able to reach more than 500,000 people on the platform without any paid ads. Learn more about the campaign here.
The Need for Discernment in the Digital Age: A Challenge
Despite all the opportunities that the local media brings, the country still faces major challenges when it comes to disinformation and fake news.
The Philippines is among the countries with the lowest trust levels in the news, with a significant decline in the overall trust in mainstream news. This is partly due to the head of state, President Rodrigo Duterte, who has continued to make threats and insults against media companies known for their critical reportage. As a result, many journalists and media outlets are facing charges from high-profile state functionaries and government agencies. Social media is also overwhelmed with posts trying to discredit both mainstream and alternative media as credible sources of information.
Furthermore, the vaguely worded provisions in new Philippine laws define “terrorism” and “fake news” in broad terms, creating an atmosphere of fear for journalists. Despite the tradition of watchdog-adversarial journalism in the country, the Philippine media landscape is struggling to function as an increasingly militaristic approach to governance erodes media freedom.
“Filipinos are increasingly wary of the proliferation of fake news on the internet, with over half of social media users showing concern about the veracity of information. The results of a Pulse Asia survey in September 2022 found that 68 percent of adults encountered false political news on the internet, and 67 percent on television.” said Bianca Balderas, Vero’s PR Manager. “As people become more discerning in their use of digital technology, it is crucial to be responsible and diligent in verifying information before consuming or sharing it online.”