Russian state-owned media outlets are to face budget cuts, as the government is to slash nearly 4 billion rubles from their planned funding this year.
The issue has been discussed at the governmental anti-crisis commission’s sessions, Gazeta.ru reported on Thursday, and the decision to reduce expenditures on the media has been endorsed at the governmental commission for budget planning, a source told the news website.
The information has been also confirmed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s press-secretary. “Budget requests are being approved at the moment. The general cuts for all state-owned media have been set at 5 percent,” Natalia Timakova was quoted as saying.
The total amount of 75.38 billion rubles designated for the state media in 2012 was 14 billion rubles more that the sum in 2011, and the 3.75 billion ruble cut is unlikely to hit the these media outlet very hard.
Experts, however, said that independent media might suffer, as state-owned giants will now aim to draw advertisers. “They will attract advertisers more actively, and this will damage private-owned media outlets,” the editor-in-chief of the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily, Pavel Gusev, told Gazeta.ru.
State funded TV channels, which enjoy the largest audience in Russia, receive a considerable part of their income from advertisers.
According to the Federal Antimonopoly Service’s latest data from 2009, Channel One and the All-Russian TV and Radio Broadcasting Company received 22.59 percent and 17.78 percent respectively. On the other hand, the Kultura TV-station hasn’t sold any airtime to advertisers for 15 years.
The positive outcome of the cuts could be that the overall situation in the Russian media market may become more leveled.
“The state-owned media have gigantic budgets which misbalances the market – it turns out that we are working not in a business, but some odd environment,” the editor-in-chief of the Argumenty i Fakty daily, Nikolai Zyatkov, told Gazeta.ru.
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