The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis that led to the digital disruption escalation that has boosted to the turning point for Lao media to rush to make the necessary adjustments to survive and change the way they do business to gain revenue, not to mention the crisis brought up by competitive foreign media – especially for Thai media that has long-lastingly offered interesting contents to the consumers far better than Lao media has.

Talking of digital technologies, Lao people or even people from around the world have found no limit and minimal obstacles in order to reach the internet facilities and electronic devices. According to the report, 79% of the population in Laos now has a mobile phone, with internet penetration standing at 43% of the population. Unsurprisingly, social media use in Laos directly correlates with the rate of internet access, also standing at 43%.

In the past consumers gained data and information through such offline media as television, newspapers, magazines, radio, and billboards. But now consumers have a greater variety of channels from which to gather information, for instance, LINE, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and many other applications, all of which are categorized as online media.

With this, it has also been the factors stimulating Lao media to seek out how they present their content and to differentiate themselves to attract and catch the attention of consumers whose media consumption habits have been being reshaped by technology in the age of digital disruption that has fully become a great challenge for the media industry in Laos nowadays.

This article is going to observe the Lao media landscape in 2022 through the references studied on both online and offline media, influencer marketing, and e-commerce.

OFFLINE MEDIA

In recent years, Laos’ media has expanded. There are around 24 regularly printed newspapers, all government-affiliated. Broadcasting outlets as well have expanded, and all 32 television stations and 44 radio stations are government-run.

Recommended Print Agencies

Vientiane Mai | LINK

Vientiane Times | LINK

Laotian Times | LINK

Recommended Television Channels

Lao star | LINK

TV Lao | LINK

National Lao TV | LINK

Recommended Radios

Climax Radio | LINK

Lao Youth Radio | LINK

CRI Radio | LINK

Nevertheless, offline media in Laos is facing a challenge. Due to the increasing number of internet users in Laos with more than 50% of the population, the ways of consuming information is changing. This change is transforming the lifestyle of a certain group of consumers from that of the past. For example, teens grow up with the Internet and use online media as part of their daily lifestyle. Therefore online media is one of the main channels that can reach this group of consumers. Even though there is a tendency that some official media, especially government media try to transform themselves into more online, the popularity still remains low. 

 

ONLINE MEDIA

Unlike the offline media that is day by day unpopularized and controlled by the local government, online media is on the other hand because Laotians enjoy comparatively uncontrolled access to the Internet. There are more than one hundred online media sources including websites and social media platforms where Laotians can unlimitedly access and consume mass content in real-time.

Especially for the social media field, it now becomes a must-have element for Laotians to share personal stories and stay in touch with each other on a regular basis. Not only do teenagers use social media, but most adults aged around 30-60 have also gradually acquired social media browsing skills in recent years. It means that the characteristics of social media users in Laos have expanded. This is because nearly 70% of the population working in the agricultural sector and education is hardly accessed and people are pretty not sophisticated in using the internet, in another word, they use social media in comfortable ways by socializing and entertaining but not for complicated or flexible stuff. Moreover, social media becomes an anywhere tool for Lao people to consume up-to-date content such as entertainment and news. Besides, shopping on social media also has been absorbed as a habit of many people due to its facilities that allow them to easily access their wish-list items. The most popular platform is Facebook and Instagram, YouTube, Tiktok, WhatsApp, Line, Twitter respectively.

Recommended Websites 

  1. BCEL.COM.LA | LINK
  2. LAOPOST.COM | LINK
  3. 108JOB.LA | LINK
  4. VIENTIANETIMES.ORG.LA | LINK
  5. THOLAKHONG.COM | LINK
  6. SOKVIEK.COM | LINK
  7. LSX.COM.LA | LINK
  8. MUAN.LA | LINK
  9. BOL.GOV.LA | LINK
  10. Yula.la | LINK

Popular Applications

  1. WhatsApp
  2. Facebook
  3. Tiktok
  4. Facebook Messenger
  5. Netflix
  6. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
  7. Line
  8. YouTube
  9. Adobe Lightroom
  10. Foodpanda

INFLUENCER MARKETING

Influencer marketing has cemented itself as a powerful alternative to all the different types of marketing methods currently available. In Laos specifically, the value that influencer marketing brings for brands have surpassed traditional and digital forms of advertising such as paid-for advertising, native ads, and programmatic ads. With an increasing number of online users, it seems to be a turning point that marketing functions in Laos are shifting towards online channels over the past few years. The powerful, authentic, and unique manner in which influencer marketing resonates with the target audience of any brand cannot be disputed.

Although the global Covid-19 pandemic has caused panic and a slump in sales for a variety of businesses, it has been found that many brands have turned to influencer marketing to repair, regain, and restart what has been a disastrous year for many. The trust placed on influencers to help brands bounce back from the devastating impact Covid-19.

Recommended influencers in Laos

Remark: The list below is not sorted in descending order or based on the ranking.

Beauty & Lifestyle:
  • Nui Souphaphone | FB Link  | Followers: 51,176 | Pros: Miss Universe 2017
  • Keota Phonepasert | FB Link | Followers: 427,751 | Pros: She produces the content accessible for many target audiences in social media
  • Barbie Piyamarth Phounpaseuth | FB Link  | Followers: 103,633 | Pros: Miss International 2018
  • Christina Lasasimma | FB Link | Followers: 149,182 | Pros: Miss Universe 2020

Christina Lasasimma

Pop Culture:
  • Aey Inthavong | FB Link | Followers: 90,674 | Pros: Famous in Yaoi Series Actor
  • Alexson Sitthiso | FB Link | Followers: 126,274 | Pros: Multiple competencies
  • Chanthida Mild | FB Link | Followers: 48,977| Pros: Singer artists with significant character
  • Ananda Sundara | FB Link | Followers: 10,401 | Pros: Famous in Yaoi Series Actor
  • A’Anitar Yaganegi | FB Link | Followers: 56,239  | Pros: Truly populated by young audiences
  • Hannah Rosenbloom | FB Link | Followers: 156,353  | Pros: 4 Eve Member
Travel:
  • ລາວທ່ຽວລາວ Lao Thiao Lao | FB Link | Followers: 84,940  | Pros: Supported by Lao Government and UNDP
  • ປີລະທ່ຽວ  | FB Link | Followers: 20,863  | Pros: Quality content with a good production
  • Jipnoii ຣີວິວ | FB Link | Followers: 49,532  | Pros: Quality content with an interesting photography
Food:
  • Jipnoii ພາເລາະ | FB Link | Followers: 191,490  | Pros: Quality content with an interesting photography
  • ທ້ອງແຕກ “THONG TAEK” | FB Link | Followers: 141,854  | Pros: Quality content with multi-type of contents
  • L O R L O M – ລໍ້ ລົມ | FB Link | Followers: 13,000  | Pros: Specialized in Video content

Jipnoii ພາເລາະ

Now is the right time for brands to leverage the power of influence to create a digital connection. As time spent on influencer content increases, this will become the norm. Much like any marketing strategy, an influencer marketing strategy takes deliberate targeting and planning.

 

E-COMMERCE

While interest has grown, electronic commerce is not widely used in Laos, due to the underdevelopment of the telecommunications infrastructure and the low rate of formal banking and credit card use.  However, Facebook is the most common and effective tool used for businesses to communicate with their customers. Across the country, the majority of internet users access the web by mobile device.  Broadband internet access is widely available in Vientiane.  The Lao government passed a Law on Electronic Transactions in 2012 and Decree on Electronic Commerce in 2021, paving the way for future growth in electronic commerce.

Top common platforms used for e-commerce in Laos

  1. Facebook 
  2. Instagram
  3. Tiktok

Nonetheless, the Lao government has named the development of e-commerce as one of its core strategic goals over the next 10 years. According to the long-term development plan, Laos will complete the construction of essential Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure and draw up legal documents to support e-commerce by 2025.

In addition to the development of e-commerce in Laos, the Lao government has outlined in its strategic plan that it will attempt to lower the cost of internet services. Internet service fees in Laos are quite higher than those in most ASEAN member nations. Lao internet providers attribute the high cost of internet services to the purchase of bandwidth from neighboring countries but not from the main internet service providers. It seems that Laos needs to negotiate with neighboring countries to allow the purchase of bandwidth and internet services from the main providers so that there is access to more affordable internet services.

Now, the bank in Laos has done it again with the launch of OnePay, an application allowing users to pay anyone, anywhere, directly from their account by simply photographing a QR code. The cost of goods and services is then deducted directly from the user’s account, and deposited in the vendor’s account, eliminating the need for cash altogether. The system its fast and convenient, and best of all means your wallet will be a lot lighter.

Top payment methods in Laos

One Pay

Master Card

Visa/Debit

One Pay, Image credit: BCEL Bank Facebook

CONCLUSION

We hope the information sourced for you above will allow you to find out more ideas regarding the Laos media landscape. Understanding the Laos media landscape would be the key to starting planning media for your brand exposure in Laos. If you need personal advice specifically crafted for your business, contact us anytime, our Lao local team is happy to help!

 

Written by Souphaxay Khammanivong

 

References:

 

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