Russians Split Between Those Who Watch TV and Those Who Use Internet

August 11, 2014
While TV use is nearly constant, the Internet use is growing rapidly, and radio and print media use are falling, according to a new Sreda survey. Photo:

Staunton, August 10 – Seventy-one percent of Russians watch television almost every day, 43 percent regularly use the Internet, 26 percent read newspapers and journals, and 20 percent listen to radio regularly, while TV use is nearly constant, Internet use is growing rapidly, and radio and print media use are falling, according to a new Sreda survey.

Those who watch television are far more likely to accept the Russian government’s version of events, the Sreda analysts say, while those who use the Internet are far more skeptical about the Kremlin’s suggestion that Russia is a besieged fortress surrounded on all sides by enemies and must adopt Soviet-style autarchy to survive.

In part, this reflects the differences in the demographics of the two groups: younger and more educated people are going online more, when compared to the country as a whole. But it also reflects the difference in the information that is available to those who rely primarily on one kind of media than to those who consult on multiple.

Television retains its dominance because of its overwhelming popularity among those aged 46 and above, the sociologists found, while it has lost ground among the young, those who have enough money to purchase a car, and whose incomes do not exceed 4,000 rubles (115 US dollars) a month. There is also a gender divide: women watch television more than men do.

Those who identify themselves as members of the middle class or intelligentsia, the Sreda Group continued, “more rarely watch television and more often prefer the Internet or print media.” And while the groups which watch television are declining in size, those who turn to the Internet or the press are increasing.

Students are twice as likely to use the Internet as are Russians on a whole: 86 percent as opposed to 43 percent. Seventy-three percent of Russians from 18 to 30 now go online regularly, as wel as 73 percent of specialists, 66 percent of those with incomes above 20,000 rubles (570 US dollars a month), and 65 percent with higher educations.

Ever fewer Russians are reading the print media, with the share saying they do having fallen from 37 percent in 2012 to only 26 percent now. But beneath those general figures, there are differences, with higher shares of Muscovites (36 percent), those with higher education (35 percent), and specialists (34 percent) saying they read the press regularly.

At the other end of the spectrum, Sreda reports, only 17 percent of Russians with incomes under 4,000 rubles (115 US dollars), 19 percent of workers, 19 percent of youth, and 21 percent of Russians with only secondary educations or less now read the print media.

Russians also divide in terms their use of radio. Only 20 percent of Russians routinely listen to the radio, but 40 percent of Russian managers do, as do 31 percent of Muscovites and 30 percent of those with incomes above 20,000 rubles a month. Poorer Russians and those living in smaller cities or rural areas turn to radio far less often. Since 2012, radio use has fallen by eight percent.