The level of Russian confidence in television as a source of information in 2020 became a record low over the past five years, according to a study by Deloitte. Only 23% of citizens trust TV, 55% consider the Internet as the preferred source of news, taking into account news and official sites, social networks and blogs. However, Russian TV channels do not see a negative trend, referring to the growth of the news audience against the backdrop of the pandemic and foreign policy events.
The level of trust in television as a source of information in 2020 decreased among Russians by 5 percentage points, to 23%, according to a Deloitte study on media consumption in Russians. This share of respondents chose TV as the most preferred source of information (see infographics), according to this indicator, the survey was conducted in June of this and last year.
Deloitte has been researching media consumption in Russia since 2016. Then the level of trust in television was 28%, then it stayed at 30% for two years, and for the last two years it has been declining. This year TV is least trusted by Muscovites (20%), residents of other millionaires (21%) and students (15%), according to the report. The maximum level of trust was recorded in the North Caucasian Federal District (28%). Traditionally, a high level of trust in television is also shown by people 55–59 years old (32%) and over 65 years old (36%), servicemen and government officials (36%).
News and analytical Internet resources, as well as official websites, for example, of companies and government agencies, turned out to be the main sources of information for Russians. But trust in them also decreased – from 42% a year earlier to 39%. Another 16% of citizens chose social networks and blogs as the main source of information – the level of trust in them increased from 13% last year.
Telemanagers interviewed by Kommersant categorically disagree that they are losing the audience’s trust.
VGTRK does not record any decrease in interest in its information television broadcasting, the trend is exactly the opposite – the foreign policy situation, the economy and the pandemic have contributed to a significant increase in audience demand, said the deputy general director of the state holding Alexander Nechaev. “Responding to the request of viewers, in 2020 we have constantly increased the volume of this genre on the air,” he points out. Thus, Russia 1 channel has increased the volume of information and socio-political broadcasting by almost a third in comparison with last year, the audience of news releases is growing, and at the daily Evening with Vladimir Solovyov it has increased by 24%, says Mr. Nechaev. In his opinion, the opposition of informational television broadcasting to the Internet, which “wanders from report to report,” is basically outdated, since in the first case we are talking about the genre, and in the second – about the preferred platform for media consumption.
“Now the media do not limit themselves to just one medium or platform,” agrees NTV editor-in-chief Alexandra Kosharnitskaya. So, the channel itself, in addition to the air, has a website, official YouTube channels, and social networks. Everywhere, according to Mrs. Kosharnitskaya, the audience is growing compared to 2019, as is the time for watching NTV’s news programs on the air, “in almost all age categories.”
But in stressful moments of life, such as the self-isolation regime in the spring, Russians significantly increase media consumption on the Internet, says Anton Suchkov, Deputy General Director of Rambler & Co (Lenta.ru, Gazeta.Ru, etc.) for digital strategy.
Against this backdrop, the audience is increasingly irritated by online advertising, notes Deloitte.
As a result, more than 50% of respondents are already using or are going to connect ad blockers, Olga Tabakova, partner at Deloitte, said (last year there were 44%). Russians, according to her, are on average a little more loyal to advertising on TV, finding it more useful than on the Internet. IAB Russia President Boris Omelnitsky points out that they block annoying ads on the Internet in the first place: only 26% of computer users and 17% of smartphone users have installed full blocking programs, while the rest use tools that skip ads that meet industry recommendations.