Mass media in a new reality: how the media are coping with the consequences of the pandemic

Mass media in a new reality: how the media are coping with the consequences of the pandemic
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27 July , 01:32
Economy
Photo: Twitter
How the media worked during the pandemic and how they get out of it - in the next analysis of Novye Izvestia from the cycle Russia and the pandemic.

Yelena Ivanova, Julia Suntsova, Natalia Seybil

When short stories about the coronavirus from the Medical News section hit the front pages of all the media and then took over all news broadcasts, some might think that a golden age has come for the media as an industry. The number of views shot up, the country did not crawl out of all its gadgets, while watching TV, reading on a laptop and exchanging information on social networks. When normal life came to a standstill due to quarantine, and citizens could not leave their homes, the last doubts about who would benefit from the lockdown vanished. But things are not as simple as they seem. "NO" figured out what happened to the media during the pandemic, and where it will lead.

Television is a game of the interest

In Russia they started watching TV again. According to Mediascope, in the first week of quarantine, TV viewing time among audiences over four years old increased by 24%, compared to in the first two weeks of March, and in Moscow - by 23%. This increase is in line with the global trend. IN Peru during quarantine TV viewing increased by 55%, in Spain - by 47%, in China - by 41%.

"Among the motives for changing spectator behavior are the confusion of people, the desire to get as much information as possible from different sources, the return of family viewing, the expectation of official messages, presidential appeals, which are usually broadcast on television. The intensity of informal communication in social media has also increased. means that the audience still did not flow from the Internet to television. Young people competently used several sources of information in order to obtain more reliable information, " Olga Makhovskaya, a senior researcher at the Institute of Psychology, writes in her report" Formation of solidarity attitudes by the media in a pandemic".

The paradox is that according to polls by Online Market Intelligence and the Platform for Social Design Center, only 8% of Russians believe the official information. Half of the "non-believers" believe that the incidence rates are underestimated, the other half are dissatisfied with the "fanning panic".

“Perhaps this is the result of polarization within society into 'we' and 'they', 'people' and 'power', when the distance of power is high,” says the psychologist. However, everyone - both agreeable and dissenting - watched TV during self-isolation.

Ivan Zasursky , Head of the Department of New Media and Communication Theory of the Faculty of Journalism of Moscow State University , explains "NI": " The pandemic was a media event, and at such a time people like to read and watch events. The media won in terms of the fact that people had more attention . Television and the Internet were the beneficiaries, unlike, for example, cinemas".

For the first time in recent years, TV programs were watched by young viewers, although this did not last long. In May, the young returned to the Internet.

“There is still no sharp struggle between the Internet and TV in Russia as such. Everything is clearly seated in chairs - the older audience chooses television, the younger the Internet. Moreover, the further you go to the regions, the lower the age of television consent and the younger the audience. I'm trying to make sure that the audience of the same YouTube becomes more and more mature. But this is a long and iterative process, "says media manager, producer Leonid Parfenov, Katerina Gordeeva, Tatyana Felgengauer Ilya Ovcharenko.

Dmitry Kazakov, SA Media Group, writes in VK: "TV and online movie services squeezed the maximum out of the pandemic: the audience growth was about 53% during the isolation. Now TV viewing is falling (as always in the summer), only the series that started watch even during quarantine. It should be noted that the young audience (14-24) got enough of this content in mid-May and finally went to the Internet, where, in fact, they still happily stay".

An unexpected situation is developing for the television advertising market - the ratings have increased, but there is no advertising. There are no official figures for the second quarter, but the market is confident in a significant reduction in advertising. The question is not whether there is a drop, but how much less TV channels will receive - by 10% or 15%. OMD OM and ADV are more pessimistic; Media Direction Group believes that the decline will not exceed 10%.

The NRA (National Advertising Alliance, which sells 90% of TV ads) is trying to regulate ad discounts and provide less ad space. But the fact remains: the top 100 largest advertisers in the pandemic cut their spending on TV advertising by more than a third, follows from the analysis of the PRT Edelman Affiliate agency, which interviewed 42 representatives of companies from industries such as manufacturers of consumer goods and drugs, operators communications, car dealers, etc. At the same time, the majority of respondents attributed the decline in advertising budgets to the fall in consumer demand. Advertisers are trying to persuade panicked customers not to remove the ad completely, but only to postpone it until the fall. However, with industrial production falling by 10% for the second month in a row, it is difficult to predict what will happen at the end of the year. An advertiser is a windy people, if you have to choose between advertising and salary, he will choose the latter.

Media researcher Anton Gumensky teaches at the Faculty of Journalism of Moscow State University. He said: “An interesting situation happened. It seemed that advertising revenues would grow with increasing media consumption. But this did not happen. In general, people began to buy less, the economy sank, people lost their jobs. The number of viewers increased, the number of views increased, and advertising revenues fell. . TV is a single-channel platform, while the Internet is a multi-layered medium, advertising can be placed both on the website, in the messenger, in YouTube. Television has grown, but there are no ads".

However, advertisers started cutting their ads in March. Such a major player as Aeroflot , at the end of March announced a complete rejection of all advertising for an indefinite period. Aeroflot was forced to remove all advertisements in order not to fire employees. The TV program also underwent changes: instead of new programs and broadcasts of major sporting events like the World Cup or the Tokyo Olympics, there were reruns of old programs and series.

The TV companies themselves knew already in May that the TV advertising market will go into a strong negative. Top managers of four large channels, based on NRA data, predicted a loss of 20-25% of income. For the two main channels, the drop will be even greater - almost 30% It is interesting that these data have not yet been published, the NRA refuses any comments. The transition of advertisers from TV to the Web has accelerated.

Mikhail Simonov, President of the Silver Mercury Festival, Vice President of AKAR and the Russian Association of Marketing Services (RAMU), told NI: “As long as there are estimates, there is no official data for the second quarter for publication. As far as I know, the television market fell by 20 As for our market of marketing communications, marketing services, the drop was 60% in general, the content industry - 70-80%, in events - up to 100%, everything was closed there. But at the same time, a lot of budgets flowed to online. they say that there is not enough inventory, which means that the price is rising. Online media have become more in demand. People eat, drink and smoke, consume goods and services in any case. For example, Beeline needs to communicate with its consumers in any case. was in outdoor advertising, but if people aren't on the streets, those budgets spill over into online inventory".

Return to normality television viewing is shrinking. Analysts with this agree, but part of the audience will remain on television: "Ultimately, the numbers will return to "pre-quarantine time" with a slight increase of 5-10%. Perhaps in Russia, the timetable for returning to the previous television viewing will also take longer, as the quarantine measures will be lifted. in several stages, which means a smooth return of the population to active economic activity", - says Andrey Grigoriyev, CEO and co-founder of GetShop.TV . Advertising after quarantine is also unlikely to be the same. According to GetShop.TV, up to 50% of the budgets previously allocated by advertisers for promotion at points of sale can be redistributed in favor of interactive advertising on TV, social networks and other digital channels - where there is a target audience.

The TV advertising market in 2020 will fall by 11%, the communications OMD OM Group predicts, only the Internet will grow. But even there, advertising revenues will increase by only 2%. This forecast was made taking into account the following conditions: the average annual exchange rate of the ruble against the dollar is 74 rubles, the average annual price of a barrel of Brent oil is $ 37. Each additional month of the epidemic will mean the loss of another 2% of advertising budgets, experts say.

TV channels are losing income anyway, starting at the end of 2018. Ad revenue decreased last year by 6% to 175 billion rubles. Even if the market straightens out by the end of the year, since the third and fourth quarters for television are the most monetary, no one is undertaking to predict the decline now. Whether it will be like in 2008-2009, when the channels missed 18% of the planned income, or 14%, as it was in 2015, no one knows now. Therefore, the channels have already frozen part of the costs of content and campaigns for its promotion. And during quarantine, the filming of most TV shows and some programs was stopped. Television bosses consider the situation more serious than it even was in 2009, so the worst case scenario is 30% or more.

Is the internet on top?

High-quality online publications, media channels, data services, digital platforms with content, and online training are booming during the pandemic. The accelerated digitalization, the growing importance of subscriptions, the role of platforms and the use of algorithms - all these trends have only intensified during the pandemic. In many parts of the world, news attention has risen to all-time highs.

According to Hootsuite statistics, a Russian spends an average of 7 hours 17 minutes online every day. Each user seeks to concentrate all sources of information in one place, without leaving the checkout to communicate with friends, follow the stories of bloggers and read journalistic materials, flipping through the feed of a smartphone, says Maria Gusakova.

During self-isolation, users in Russia spent significantly more time on video services. So, in January - March of this year, in the Russian-language version of YouTube, the watch time of videos increased by 40%, and their number - by 30%, said Mikhail Zhdamirov, head of Yoola Ads Yoola. At the same time, the number of viewers increased by a quarter.

The experts drew attention to a new phenomenon in online advertising. Anton Gumetsky in an interview with "NI" points to the strengthening of trends in the use of multiple screens at once:

“The television audience has grown, and we assume that the Internet audience has also grown. We are sitting on the couch watching TV and at the same time flipping through social networks on our smartphone. People were especially actively looking for information on the topic of COVID, many were very alarmed. Everything about the numbers has grown. There is an interesting situation with ad revenue. Views have grown and audiences have grown, but as far as advertisers are concerned, many of them have given up on the coronavirus-related neighborhood. As the media reported a huge amount of information about the coronavirus, advertisers had a problem. Does he want his ad to be associated with disease and pandemic, or does he want his ad block against some kind of pleasant background?"

During the epidemic, the media began to reduce the amount of negative information, replacing it with positive information. On the one hand, psychologists agree with this approach, who indicate an increase in aggression during quarantine. On the other hand, objectivity suffers from such an interpretation of events. Due to market pressures, editorial offices were forced to shift their focus.

Boris Omelnitsky , President of the Interactive Advertising Development Association IAB Russia, in an interview with "NI" indicates that advertisers have also changed their advertising strategy: “Placement depends on brand safety - when 70% is about coronavirus, there is no other content. Therefore, those who continued to use brand safety filters lost their coverage. Those who have customized their messages in the context of the coronavirus - for example, that their products are safe, or that they take special care of their consumers - have benefited and gained audience growth".

The winner of the pandemic is online video and video game producers.

The rise in video consumption has led to higher demands for content quality, and this is reflected in the results of advertising campaigns. According to an IMHO study conducted jointly by cprogrammatic partners, all other things being equal, the effectiveness of advertising posted in high-quality content is two to three times higher, says Nikolay Kiselyov, IMHO Deputy CEO. He noted that the same can be said about media indicators - placing advertisements in professional content increases the visibility, viewing depth and visibility of the ad.

A real hunt has begun for content makers, and demand in this sense is still outstripping supply. Inveterate Internet consumers have loudly announced that from now on they want not only TV shows and toys, but also a top-notch journalistic product: documentaries, analytics, reporting. Trends are predicted to continue beyond the coronavirus.

Content producers have to quickly improve formats and digital infrastructure.

New internet formats

What will Runet look like after the reboot?

YouTube is changing. Self-isolation has forced bloggers to look for fundamentally new formats that make it easier for brands to integrate - this is content without staged footage, which makes it cheaper to produce and increases the nativeness of advertising placed in it.

Food streams (digital analogs of a TV shop), where users receive discounts and buy goods in real time, have spurred the growth of live broadcasts. Their number has grown by 20-25% compared to last year.

Collaborations. Self-isolation has also breathed new life into this format. Vivid examples are the cover from "Chicken Curry" and "Cream Soda" to the song of the "Bread" group "I Pay for Techno", into which the ZhK group PIK was integrated. Sberbank and Alexey Pivovarov had an unusual "post-quarantine" format - "Business at a Distance". These formats will continue to evolve and become digital advertising drivers, experts say.

Digital-first is the new "gold standard" in video advertising, says Ivan Paryshev , CEO and founder of AstraOne. Nowadays videos are created in the image and likeness of TV advertising, which does not take into account the peculiarities of digital, which reduces their effectiveness on the Internet. Digital-first-format is adapted for the Internet, taking into account all the possibilities of the digital environment, and assumes a different approach: deep personalization, providing a safe advertising environment, creating a video with the ability for the user to watch it without sound. The product allows you to make a dialogue out of advertising with a unique history of interaction and adaptation of communication to the user's fleet of devices. An “interactive layer” (banners, titles, etc.) is added to the videos and placed in AI-verified content. Such advertising in the future will become similar in efficiency to TV, the expert notes.

Time to listen: Podcasts are on the rise. Their listeners are educated, solvent young people. The outlook for this market in 2020 and beyond will be good news for investors. Radio is losing its audience, which opts for audiobooks and podcasts, the agency said Deloitte in its report, "High-tech, telecommunications, entertainment and media. Development forecast of the industry in 2020". The push for further development of podcasts can be provided by the use of smart speakers, which compensate for poor sound quality that hinders monetization. According to forecasts, already in 2020 the product will occupy 25% of the market in the USA and cities of China, in the next years the trend will spread to other countries, and growth will continue.

For the first time, gaming is becoming a serious advertising platform not only for gamers. In the first half of 2020, the top five categories of advertisers placed in gaming media (in terms of purchased inventory on Kanobu.ru and Igromania.ru) were divided into FMCG, game publishers, gadgets, pharma, film distributors. At the same time, an interesting trend has emerged recently - companies have ceased to advertise exclusively "goods for gamers". “If earlier brands thought that they needed a product that would be called a gaming one, now this is an optional condition. The most important thing is to articulate the value of your product for a gamer”, - said Irina Putintseva, a spokesman for CEO & Founder Bridge Agency.

Video games have become a real profit driver for their creators. Mail. Ru Group published its second quarter report. The group's gaming business has grown by a record 44% when compared with the corresponding period last year. The company said that 76% of its revenue came from overseas users. However, the semi-annual report of the company says that games are an investment business of the group, with an income of 18 billion, 16 billion were spent on games. In other words, for Mail Roo it's a long-term game.

Advertising on the Web

In Russia, 94.4 million people use the Internet. In 2018, a historic event took place: Internet advertising surpassed television in terms of money volume. "The online advertising segment is feeling the consequences of the pandemic: the decline is observed in all formats. The contextual advertising market remains the most stable, while the placement of banners has dropped sharply," said the chief analyst of RAEC Karen Ghazaryan.

During the pandemic, the Interactive Advertising Development Association IAB Russia conducted 4 waves of market research among the members of the Association. 85% of survey participants are sure that the situation in the advertising market will worsen and the volume of advertising will decrease. At the same time, there are no alarmist sentiments among market participants, half of them believe that the situation is rather good than bad. 77% of advertisers reported that they have rescheduled, reduced, or canceled ad budgets. 77% indicated a change in customer strategy. A third of advertising tenders were canceled in May.

Boris Omelnitsky told NI: “We monitored the impact of the coronavirus on a monthly basis and at the beginning of June found positive trends: offline businesses returned after self-isolation, which again needed to inform their customers about themselves. If we talk about who is being advertised, these are all those companies. During self-isolation, many rebuilt their business and implemented elements of e-commerce. They established delivery, entered into contracts with courier services, with Yandex-taxi, organizing the delivery of goods and products home. They are now actively promoting and advertising these That is, FMCG fast moving custemer goods businesses of Pepsi-Cola, food, bars - rebuilt their strategy in accordance with the new reality. They realized that they must not disappear from the attention of their consumers. Now you need to advertise not only offline, but also on new online marketplaces - Sbermarket, Beru, Wildberries , and you need to be recognizable in these online showcases".

Mail. Ru were the first Internet market giants to publish a report for the second quarter of 2020. The company's ad revenue decreased 5.7% compared to the second quarter of 2019. This is, of course, a fall, but not as significant as the market expected. Boris Omelnitsky, President of the IAB Russia Interactive Advertising Development Association, says: "At the beginning of the pandemic, there were many emotional forecasts, they talked about a fall in the Internet market by 20% and 25%. Yesterday Mail.ru reported , they only have a fall in the second quarter 5%. But the situation can change very dramatically, and what factors will affect it is difficult to say now".

The main buyers of targeted contextual advertising on the Internet are small and medium-sized enterprises. It is they who have the hardest time now. The state only helps large companies with state participation. Who will help the little ones?

It turned out that the Internet giants themselves are interested in them - Yandex, Mail.ru, social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki. The companies decided to support small businesses with free advertising. At the end of March, Mail.ru Group promised to allocate a billion rubles. Thanks to these funds, the social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki will double the budgets for promoting small and medium-sized enterprises in mobile advertising offices, and the "Yula" service will give 200 free ads a month. Yandex has also allocates 500 million rubles to support small and medium-sized businesses. Businesses will receive bonuses for two months if they advertise in Yandex.Direct. Each advertiser will receive bonuses for 15 thousand rubles. Advertising agencies also keep up with the giants:

"With bonuses, everything is even more interesting: previously conservative contractors with additional discounts, now, like magicians, take out of their wide pockets free" buns "with which agencies generously endow their clients. Of course, there is no magic here: the reduction of advertisers' budgets has led so why not please those who continue to communicate with the consumer? As new services, more and more agencies are starting to offer their marketing expertise and full outsourcing of advertising processes. This allows manufacturers to reduce research costs and optimize In general, we can say that those who offer more and better for less money will survive, because rational consumption is now more relevant than ever", - says Dmitry Kazakov.

Redistributing the advertising pie

According to the analysis of PRT Edelman Affiliate agency, in May of this year advertisers among all digital channels for promotion in the top five included: SMM (66%), contextual advertising (53%), blogging activations (44%), Digital PR (31% ). Advertisers, following the audience, change locations and are ready to quickly reshape the "advertising pie".

“Advertisers have not completely gone online yet, but are sending ever larger budgets to online media, taking funds from traditional media. It is easier for him to analyze the consumer's ability to pay on the Internet, targeting as a gift, as they say. In a crisis, the advertiser is becoming more attentive to his expenses, he no longer wants to shoot sparrows with a cannon. Before the pandemic, the situation was the opposite. The financial return from online media was lower, because it was believed that the audience trusted the Internet less than television and print media", - says media expert Alexander Alymov.

In the quarantine, the majority of the active paying audience, on the contrary, the level of trust in the official media has significantly decreased.

"In the first quarter of 2020, we noted a monthly increase in the blogging audience of at least 30% due to new customers. For the advertiser, the tool effectiveness factor comes to the fore. The same influencer marketing as a combination of word of mouth and promotion in social networks uses the power of digital to influence a large audience as natively as possible.Technologies of analysis, selection of bloggers and scaling of advertising campaigns allow the industry to compete in terms of the volume of placements with TV, and in the accuracy of data - and even significantly outperform. The algorithm is able to accurately determine, depending on the goals of the advertiser, which bloggers, with which audience and on which platforms to attract. he will be able to select a specific audience yu, it is for her to convey the necessary message, provoke an action, get feedback and quickly calculate the result of the investment. TV is hardly capable of solving such problems, "said Artem Paulkin, commercial director of the HypeFactory agency.

“The economic consequences do not inspire optimism, but there are things for which I would like to thank the situation - first of all, for the speed of transformation of business processes, which in ordinary life could last for years,” says Maria Kolosova, CEO of GroupM. The media investment group surveyed more than 600 advertisers and media providers and found that market participants are very optimistic about the online advertising market.

According to the estimates of GroupM clients and partners, the business will begin to recover in September 2020, but the advertising market will return to its previous volumes only in the first quarter of 2021. The recovery of the Russian advertising market is expected a little later in comparison with the EMEA region, which is probably due to the later introduction of quarantine and its duration in Russia.

After the end of the coronavirus crisis, 10% are ready to invest in advertising more than before - mainly technology companies, online services, and manufacturers of goods.

Every second participant in the IAB Russia poll believes that the maximum negative impact of the pandemic is yet to come. According to 41% of respondents, the crisis in the advertising market will end in 2021. One in four hopes that the pandemic will be over by the end of this year.

When "NI" asked the president of the "Silver Mercury" festival Mikhail Simonov about his assessment, he sincerely laughed at the question: "This will happen when the economy recovers".

What about other media?

The paper media crisis in numbers

In the June survey of the Alliance of Independent Regional Publishers (ANRI) about the assessment of measures to support the media, 124 editorial offices from 51 regions of the Russian Federation took part. The situation remains consistently difficult, it follows from the results of the analysis.

Circulations and revenues from retail sales continue to decline to critical levels. The drop in advertising revenues affected almost all respondents - 98.5% of those surveyed. The number of employees has been reduced to a viable limit. 40% of survey participants said they have cut the payroll. More than half of the survey participants - 69% by June were unable to take advantage of the proposed measures of state support due to the failure to pass the OKVED, as well as the filter on organizational and legal form in the resolution.

According to experts, at least 1.5 million people work in this industry in Russia today. During a pandemic, print media are deprived not only of advertising, but also of distribution sites.

Marina Mishunkina , first deputy general director of the publishing house Argumenty i Fakty told NI: "If we talk about the pandemic period in the acute phase, we saw a drop in a number of advertising segments by up to 50%. But these are direct sales in print. And sales in any publishing house they include not only print advertising, but also the Internet, small products, and complex special projects that are implemented on different 360-degree platforms for greater audience coverage - this is a new reality that brings publishers additional money at the level of thematic projects".

The editor-in-chief and owner of MK Pavel Gusev talks about the challenges for newspapers and possible solutions: “If we talk about the media in general, the press has suffered a lot. There are publications where the fall in advertising revenues was up to 60%. In MK, the situation is different, we have many publications, both printed and electronic, we have our own distribution system, and our own printing house. At the beginning of the summer, the electronic media we got in plus or minus, because they have different sources of income. We have a car site, MK site - they work very well We are not cutting salaries, but the editorial office has been transferred to remote work".

Even within one publication, fine tuning has to be done, says Marina Mishunkina to NI. To the question: "Which ad segments fell? Which ones grew?" - she replies: "The financial segment behaved very alarmingly. There was a" patchiness "in the medical segment: it was in working order and afloat, but still showed negative dynamics. In general, doctors were more active than financiers, but there were losses in this segment.

The property was "blown away" very seriously. However, it already comes to life again.

I really hope that everything will stabilize. We are already in July in terms of this year's budget. And the Internet has increased sales by 25% this month. Many interesting projects are being launched".

In Argumenty i Fakty a huge circulation for the present time - 1 million 250 thousand copies, the cost of its production is colossal. Therefore, reducing the price of advertising space is not an option. On the contrary, from September 1, advertising rates increase. Life in Russia is expensive.

Vladimir Sungorkin, editor-in-chief of KP, told NI that the publication had lost 30% of distribution income and 20% of advertising revenue, so we have to fight for every ruble: “ Advertisers demand more discounts, we meet them halfway by bargaining. Large advertisers start us blackmail, taking advantage of the market situation. They understand that everyone is in a difficult situation, they have to meet halfway and make discounts. A number of advertisers just stopped advertising campaigns. But we try to work with those corporations that were not hit by this crisis. Quite a lot of corporations, who got off lightly. Many companies are now on the contrary rising - distance selling, distance distribution. "

Many print media need help. The publishers call the most popular support measures that need to be introduced: a subsidy for paying salaries, writing off social contributions for April and May, a soft loan, postponing the payment of taxes and insurance premiums.

Publishers are taking all measures to preserve the editorial and publication. “All of our highly paid managers, both in the editorial office and in the directorate, have cut their salaries by 20%. This did not apply to ordinary journalists, but only to heads of departments, editors. While this decision will be in effect until September. We have cut fees by 20%. This affected all journalists. These measures allow us to pass the crisis months normally. We are now issuing salary loans, which may be unrecoverable if we keep the state. We are very counting on this loan. Tax benefits did not affect us, as we are considered large business, we do not pass the criteria for small and medium-sized businesses", - Vladimir Sungorkin told NI.

Paper media has been steadily squeezed by the Internet before, but the coronavirus accelerated these processes. Print versions are already unprofitable for many media outlets: printing and logistics costs are growing, subscriptions, on the contrary, are proportionally reduced, and there is no need to talk about competitive characteristics in terms of the speed of information delivery to the reader, says ex-Minister of Economy of the Russian Federation Andrei Nechayev. Power structures - government and presidential administration - ready to save only the print press that can be used for state propaganda, experts say.

Radio

The main listeners of the radio are motorists. Citizens spent two months at home, so advertising revenue fell dramatically. According to the forecast made in May, in the II quarter of the radio station should lose 25%, predicts the advertising group OMD OM. Media Direction Group assesses the situation on the radio more harshly and predicts the loss of 40% of income at once to radio stations. The recovery in the radio market will begin no earlier than August - September, believes Denis Maksimov, managing director of Media Direction Group.

Alexey Venediktov, editor-in-chief of the Ekho Moskvy radio station, recently wrote on his telegram channel about Echo's problems: “Speaking about business, we have minus 37% of advertising in May. We have cut salaries for management by 90% - we get 10% in for three months on a voluntary basis. We have not yet touched a penny of journalists' salaries, but I'm afraid we will have to. We have given up the administrative space - we have the entire administration sitting at home, working remotely. So far we do not collapse, but that's just start. So my job is to keep salaries".

Yuri Kostin, CEO of Gazprom Media - Radio, told NI: “The pandemic has shown that the radio has a loyal audience. The people have returned to listening at home. We are present digitally - in mobile devices, in smart speakers, so listening at home has increased . Despite the drop in hearing in cars, in general, in quantitative terms, the audience is almost unchanged, increased online listening, but revenue fell very particular -. at the regional radio stations have some -. actually reset to zero fall was 50% -. minimum of 70 and, often, further “to the plinth”. As for key market players like GazpromMediaRadio, the situation is better with them. We have a reserve of strength and experience. I have already experienced several crises, since 1998, observing one and the same trend: radio falls and rises the fastest".

Revenue falls as advertisers leave therefore, one of the market tools was to reduce the price of an advertising minute. However, the situation in the capital and in the regions developed in different ways.

“The dumping was in the regions. The price fell very strongly. Desperate people were selling ad time for next to nothing. We did not revise the tariffs much, we worked with discounts. GPM-radio does not sell advertising, the head organization, Gazprom Media Holding, sells, I don’t want to go into their kitchen, but I know that I didn’t fall to the level of “take it at least for how much”, says Yuri Kostin.

What's next?

All market experts speak with one voice that hard times await the media in Russia. They call the second quarter the most difficult, in which all adversity fell: quarantine, falling oil prices, falling industry.

The industry was expected to see a drop in revenue. Data for the second quarter is still unpublished. The NRA, which sells 90% of TV ads, declined to comment on any metrics, quarterly or monthly. Channel One reported that no service would provide any information. There were reports that some media holdings switched to monthly planning.

In May, the media were included in the sectors of the economy that will be supported by the state. Other than this informational message, no details are given. If the central media, after a protracted battle under the carpet, receive subsidies from the state, there is no one to intercede for the regional media, because their main one is the same small business. And he, as you know, cannot count on state support. In general, the media market is rebuilding itself to the new reality, but it will take time. First, the economy should "recover", then the oil price should stabilize, and it is desirable that there is no new wave of a pandemic. Yuri Kostin, like many market experts, is very cautious, although the “glass is half full”: “I don’t think the market will quickly return to the indicators it was before the crisis, but it will recover if there are no notorious second and third waves of the epidemic, but even if there are any, the government already has experience.

Corr.: Will it be possible to stabilize the situation by the end of the year?

I am sure that it will be possible if there are no hyper-crisis phenomena. We are very dependent on macroeconomic situations. I cannot say that we will return the positions that were before the pandemic in terms of quantity in monetary terms, but I think that there will be a fairly gradual start to growth within a few years"

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