Against all odds, Russian independent media survived the shock of 2022 and continue to reach a wide audience inside and outside Russia. This is a phenomenon of historical proportions – the sector includes at least 93 media projects, ranging from early-stage startups and media focused on ethnic minorities to large publishers serving a broad public. Now a new research report by the JX Fund and The Fix shows that these media still reach a total readership of 6-9% of the adult population.
The continued existence of Russian independent media is a resounding achievement for the media teams and for the global development community. Yet the financial situation of most media is precarious and dependent on donor financing. Moreover, media continue to struggle with a myriad of operational issues, from securing a permanent home for the media company and its employees, to dealing with the effects of censorship and blockages, which have a significant impact on the accessibility of their target audience.
A DATA-BASED APPROACH
Such challenges require an expansion of support and the development of systemic solutions, which in turn requires a deeper understanding of media needs and industry trends. To this end, the JX Fund, together with media researchers from The Fix, has collected data from both stakeholders and the media themselves and compiled it into a dashboard. Based on regularly submitted data, the exiled media dashboard provides a multidimensional and continuous overview on the development and needs of media in exile.
SUCCESSES AND THE ROAD AHEAD
A research report now presents the initial results and insights from the data collected. In addition to a detailed presentation of viewer numbers on various distribution channels, some of which even exceed those of well-established Western media, the report also focuses on smaller regional and special interest media. At the same time, the report reveals significant funding gaps over the next three years and presents various strategies for efficiently closing these gaps.