According to Moscow observers, it is the existence of video on Youtube and other Internet platforms that is drawing people away, not only because it is more interesting but also because it is more diverse, something that means that as the audience of state TV declines, the audience becomes more fragmented just as in the West with the radical increase in channels.
Two new articles celebrate Youtube’s rise and state TV’s fall: Aleks Sinodov says “the Internet has opened the era of film-samizdat” ( ) and Aleksandra Podolskaya of Novaya gazeta argues “instead of one big old TV, we now have many small new ones” ( ).
It would certainly be wrong to suggest that this is anything but a trend. However, anyone who has lived in the US from the time when everyone watched three national channels to one in which there are hundreds of very specific ones certainly knows, the multiplication of channels fragments the public in ways that few other things have.
If something similar happens in Russia over the next few years, it is likely that something similar will occur there, a trend that will reinforce certain divisions while destroying others even as it makes if far more difficult for anyone at the center to count on television to mold opinion in the way the Kremlin wants.