Staunton, December 22 – A new 57-page report prepared jointly by the Mediastandart Foundation and Aleksey Kudrin’s Committee on Civic Initiatives finds that the media in a majority of Russian regions is now stagnating, the result of a combination of state policy and the weakness of the advertising sector there.
The full report, available at komitetgi.ru/analytics/3573/ and summarized by Simon Zhvoronkov on the Polit.ru portal (polit.ru/article/2017/12/21/media/), rates the media in the regions according to 50 criteria and concludes that the situation varies widely but in almost no places can they be described as flourishing.
Over the last three years, the gap between the most developed regional media, which includes those in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yamalo-Nenets district, the Moscow oblast, the Nenets district, Sakhalin oblast, Khabarovsk kray and some others, and the least, which includes Crimea, Transbaikal kray, the Jewish autonomous oblast, and Kalmykia, has widened.
State regulation played a major but not exclusive role in this. The ban on foreign investors has hurt the regional outlets, and the preference of the authorities for central rather than regional media has as well. Moreover, the traditional media are far more regulated than the new media, and people are thus choosing the latter.
But also significant in the decline of regional media over the last several years has been the collapse of advertising revenue from the state and from business -- which has left outlets with ever less income and the harsh choice between raising prices or going out of business. And as prices rise, fewer people buy them because they too are suffering from the economic downturn.