‘Not always audit indicators are reflected in financial ones’
Svetlana Dzyubinskaya from the Ministry of Digital Development — about the state of print media industry
Against the background of the difficult political and economic situation in Russia, the state of print media industry is changing. Thus, the audience of publications is growing, but at the same time, revenues are decreasing. The problems of the information sphere were described at a lecture by Svetlana Dzyubinskaya, the deputy director of the Department of State Support for Periodicals and the Book Industry of the Ministry of Digital Development. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.
Level of trust in print media is increasing
The audience of Russian print media in March-July 2022 increased by 6% compared to the same months of 2021, which became an absolute record for the number of readers in 2 years. The most sagging in terms of audience volume was the period from September 2021 to February 2022. Prior to that, the peak demand for news resources was recorded from September 2020 to February 2021.
This trend is connected, according to Svetlana Dzyubinskaya, the deputy director of the Department of State Support of Periodicals and the Book Industry of the Ministry of Digital Developemnt, with the “difficult situation in the country”.
“In our difficult situation in the country, as well as during the pandemic, interest in news topics is increasing. Against the background of interest in news topics, the level of trust in official sources is increasing. In this sense, I am not afraid to call periodicals official. Official — in the sense that all the information is carefully verified, there are practically no fakes," she explained.
As for trust in the media, the audience relies most on central and regional television — the confidence index is 36 and 28, respectively.
At the same time, trust in news sites, central and local press has also increased. They rely less on information in messengers and social networks — the trust index of these sources has collapsed.
Russians still prefer the websites of publications in the media. They are used by 32,7% of the country's population. In the printed version, only 25.2% of the total audience of a particular publication reads the media.
“We have repeatedly said: despite various statements that the print media are not interesting, that few people read them, that everyone has already gone online, one way or another, the audience indicators speak a little differently. Unfortunately, these audience indicators are not always reflected in the financial indicators of our editorial offices, and we still have this question: “How can we monetise our audience and turn it into real income?", said Dzyubinskaya.
Main source of income is the circulation of printed publications
Meanwhile, print media revenues are falling. According to SPPI and ACAR, in 2022, compared to last year, advertising revenues of Russian central and regional publications fell by 42%. At the same time, according to Mediascope, this indicator has decreased by 7%, and some publications even have an increase.
The reasons for this trend are the withdrawal of the largest advertisers from the Russian market and budget cuts across the entire segment. At the same time, the world forecasts for the press are quite optimistic.
“At the last event, there was a large number of regional media, editors said that advertising continues to fall. It is clear that it has decreased in the general market," the speaker said. “But editors who actively work with their entrepreneurs... I was told separately afterwards: “You know, nothing has fallen. We remain at good level. Of course, we are not growing, but we are not falling either.” Then I talk to another editor — and it's about the same picture. Therefore, we cannot say that we have lost 50% of our income... I think this is not a general indicator. Those who actively worked with advertisers, their advertising remained at about the same level.
Media revenues from retail and subscription sales are also declining. Since 2013, there has been a steady decline in this parameter. In 2019, the revenue of publications from traditional types of distribution amounted to 57 billion rubles, in 2020 and 2021 — 46 billion rubles each. Experts forecast this trend to continue.
The main source of media income is the circulation of printed publications — in 2022, it amounted to $53,1 billion. Advertising in print versions has brought the industry $38 billion. At the same time, the figures decrease from year to year.
The digital press demonstrates the growth of income level. However, they still failed to achieve the indicators of the printed media. In 2022, revenue from paid digital content amounted to $8,4 billion, from advertising — $14,4 billion.