Media Sphere Development Index 2018: TV stagnation, growing confidence in informal media

    The Foundation for Media Studies and the Development of Standards for Journalism published a report entitled “The Media Sphere Development Index - 2018. Dynamics of the institutional development of the media in the top-level regions of the Russian Federation in 2015–2018” .

    Experts note that during 2017–2018, there was a significant increase in the Internet audience: over the year, the share of those who never go online has decreased from 26% to 14%. Despite the stagnation, “zomboyaschik” still remains the most common information channel: three quarters (76%) of respondents watch TV shows (on any device, including online). According to the survey, only 3% of respondents never use TV.

    But a positive trend is noticeable. People are gradually learning to collect information from several sources in order to get a complete picture of the topic of interest; already 42% of Russians are able to notice the differences between objective information and subjective opinion. Young people and middle-aged people showed especially optimistic results, but citizens of 60 years and older with the analysis of information are very bad.

    The table shows the results of the answer to the question "Which of the following can you do?"

    AlternativeTOTAL18-24 years25-34 years35-44 years45-59 years60 and older
    Collect information from
    different sources to
    get a complete picture of the topic that interests me
    Notice differences between
    information and other
    messages, including
    opinions, judgments, criticism
    Determine whether the
    information found on the
    Internet is correct and

    Fake news

    Remarkable is the generally low level of knowledge about the phenomenon of “fake news”. Only 38% are familiar with this problem, the rest either do not, or have heard something. Moreover, if among young people 90% know or heard something about this phenomenon (including 68% know each other), then among the audience over 60 years old, 74% have not heard of fake news. Confidence in Russian television is still quite high.

    The table shows the answers to the question “Which sources of information about events in the country and the world do you trust more? Select the three most reliable sources from your point of view? ”

    Trust ...%
    Transmission on Russian state television63%
    Information from family members, friends, acquaintances27%
    Posts of information sites on the Internet18%
    News in search engines (in Yandex News, Google News)17%
    According to Russian newspapers and magazinessixteen%
    Social Media Posts15%
    Transmission on Russian private (non-state) television12%
    Service information obtained in the framework of professional
    communication with colleagues, partners, etc.
    YouTube video 12%
    Transmission on Russian state radioten%
    Channels in Telegramfour%
    Transmission on foreign television3%
    Transmission on Russian private (non-state) radio 3%
    Transmission on foreign radioone%
    According to foreign newspapers and magazinesone%

    “A rather impressive part of the respondents found it difficult to answer the question about the reasons for choosing one or another source of media. It can be assumed that the choice of the information channel occurs unconsciously for almost one-fifth of the respondents, ”the report says.

    News remains the main media content for the Russians. Two thirds of the audience is interested in the socio-political agenda (domestic and foreign policy, the situation in the country and in the world). The lack of interest in the socio-political news is stronger, the younger the respondent. Among young people aged 18–24, almost a quarter (24%) said that they were not at all interested in such information, and 37% chose the answer “rather not interested”.

    Increased trust in informal media

    And in 2018 there was another important trend: the growth rate of confidence in the informal media. According to a survey in 2018, 12% trust YouTube with information, 4% of Russians have channels in Telegram ( three times more among young people ). In 2017, these figures were 8% and 1%, respectively.

    According to the study, the experts identified several key trends:

    • In 2018, the greatest difference was reached for all the years of research between the first and the last region in the Index. The latter region has never had such a low score, and Moscow, as a stable first region, has never had so high.
    • In those regions where business, government and society are involved in the activities of the media, there is also a higher-quality content of the publications themselves. And, conversely, where there is less influence from the main stakeholders, the quality of the produced materials is worse.
    • The least linked were the private indices “Audience” and “Media Subjects”. This indicates a lack of connection between the quality of the audience and the state of the media themselves. That is, the media are essentially oriented not toward the interests of the audience, but toward the interests of advertisers and the authorities .

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