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Belarusian audience of news sites in October 2020

November 2020

After August 2020, when was broken the connectivity infrastructure of the Belarusian segment of the Internet, which led to the fall of the daily Internet audience more than doubled, and the mobile Internet audience 85%, then many of the largest Belarusian online media with non-state form of ownership was blocked by the decision of the Ministry of information of Belarus, it becomes extremely important to regularly assess the Belarusan Internet audience news sites, sections of websites.

For our analysis, we will use the results of the only regular gemiusAudience media research available on the Belarusian market using the subscription model. Unfortunately, socio-demographic data for the mobile audience, which should have appeared according to the statements this year, is not yet available.

Mobile audience at leading Belarusian portals, such as tut.by, onliner.by is more than twice the size of the computer audience:

However, as can be seen from the table of research results for October 2020, the total computer audience tut.by, onliner.by, mail.ru, ok.ru, kufar.by more than 3 million people aged 15-74 or 72.44% of the total Belarusian computer audience coverage or only 1/4 of the Belarusian computer Internet audience did not visit these websites at least once during October.

To analyze the audience of news sites, we will create 4 aggregators that combine sites by certain criteria and allow you to study the audience based on the intersection, i.e. when a user of news sites who consumed news content on several or all of the sites from the same aggregate during the month of October 2020, it is counted only once.

The first group consists of Russian-language news aggregators. In December 2019, there was a publication about the growth of the Belarusian computer audience of these recommendation services. In October 2020, 22 sites had an aggregated audience of 1,021,500 people or 23.92% of reach. It turns out that almost one in four of the entire Belarusian Internet audience visited one or more news aggregates. Compared to last year, this is an increase of 41%.

The second group consists of Russian news sites, not including thematic publications (fashion, food, cooking, computers, mobile phones, cars, Hobbies). The aggregate contains an audience of 33 publications, ranging from ria.ru, rt.com, riafan.ru before forbes.ru, ridus.ru, meduza.io. In October 2020, the aggregated audience was 1,433,716 people or 33.57% of the coverage, i.e. every third Belarusian desktop user visited these sites.

The third group is Belarusian news sites of media resources with state ownership (belta.by, tvr.by, sb.by, ctv.by, ont.by, minsknews.by, grodnonews.by, gp.by). Their total audience in October 2020 was only 745,898 people or 17.46% of the coverage of the entire Belarusian computer audience aged 15-74 years.

The fourth group is an aggregation of all tut news feeds.by and title page of the main Belarusian news portal. In October, such visitors were 1,342,943 people or 86% of the total computer audience of the portal or 31.44% of the coverage of the entire Belarusian Internet audience.

The total Internet audience of all four groups was 2,343,276 people or 55% of the total audience coverage:

It is curious that almost 230,000 people visited all four of the aggregator. The most active audience was Belarusian news sites with state ownership 89% visited some other of the presented aggregates. The aggregate's audience from the portal sections was less active Tut.by Only 66% visited sites in other aggregates.

The total audience of the two aggregates (Russian news sites and sites with recommendation content) was 1,723,923 people, or 40.36% of the coverage. One conclusion is a lot.

We will conduct a study of individual socio-demographic characteristics of aggregates.

By gender:

As you can see, the audience in all aggregators is predominantly male.

By age:

Russian news aggregates have the highest percentage of people in the older age group. Aged 25-34 on Russian news sites. It is important to remember that this aggregate contains audiences for sites of a very wide and diverse news agenda.

According to the level of education, the category of higher and postgraduate education, the audience of the Tut.by aggregate is leading-39%, followed by the aggregate of Belarusian websites with state ownership 32%.

Russian news resources account for 30%, while the aggregate of Russian recommendation sites accounts for 29%.

By occupation. The share of "white collar workers" is:

  • Tut.by (Home+News) 45,2%;
  • Belarusian companies with state property 39.5%;
  • Russian news sites 36.3%;
  • Russian news aggregates 34.6%.
According to the place of residence. The share of the Minsk audience:
  • Tut.by (Home+News) 41,5%;
  • Belarusian companies with state property 33.8%;
  • Russian news sites 32.4%;
  • Russian news aggregates 30.5%.
Of course, for a comprehensive analysis, it was very important to be able to study the mobile audience of Russian news sites and aggregates, since it can be as significant as the mobile audience of Belarusian portals, then their influence on the Belarusian Internet audience may be even more significant or less due to the fact that most of the audience of these resources belongs to an older age group and has the opportunity, and prefers a more leisurely and attentive consumption of news information from computers than from mobile devices.

Regular disruption of the Internet, including weekly disconnection of the mobile Internet on Sundays in Minsk, blocking of news sites by the decision of the Ministry of information, hindering the activities of journalists subjected to arrests, detentions for checking documents, fines, and the loss of accreditation of journalists of international publications, except for representatives of Russian media, leads to serious problems and threats to the information security of the Republic of Belarus. Low media literacy of a large part of the Internet audience weakens the ability to resist misinformation and unreliable information (fakenews).

Author: Mikhail Doroshevich
The publication is prepared by the Baltic Internet Policy Initiative

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