Modern media landscape:
diversity and fragmentation
Dr. Sci. (Polit.), Leading Researcher, Institute of Socio-Political Research of Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia firstname.lastname@example.org
The goal of the study is to analyze media diversity and fragmentation as the process of "spreading" audience across multiple smaller channels. Representative samples of Russian TV audiences form the empirical base of analysis. Research suggested that audience fragmentation is characterized by several features. Audience is scattering across numerous thematic sources (each having limited audience). At the same time, there are few high-reach TV channels attracting mass audience. Still, the audiences of small channels are covered by the most popular sources, proportionately to their monthly reach. The research confirms that media diversity and fragmentation correspond to actual social trends. It brings democratization of medialandscape and promoting non-mainstream cultural products. Media diversity and fragmentation mirror information overload and related simplification of media content and change patterns of its understanding. Diversity of media choice does not necessarily bring diversity of media consumption. Commercial imperative focusses media supply and demand on certain media content formats. However, besides fragmentation, there is an ongoing concentration of audience around mass popular channels; this does not support arguments of "demise" of mass media. Media fragmentation follows the trend towards greater diversity and complexity among postmodern societies. It is accompanied also by social disintegration and fragmentation of the public sphere (universal issues fading out of public attention); ever growing content targeting based on digital algorithms and data couples with evident minimization of private sphere for the sake of widespread transparency.
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