The Russian media business is developing as a whole according to the Western scenario. Therefore, since the end of the 20th century, strong market consolidation has been observed and the main Russian media holdings are appearing. We’ll tell you in whose hands the “fourth” power is concentrated today, and how different media corporations differ.
What are media holdings
Consolidation of markets leads to the emergence of large and very large companies. This is how holding companies emerge, and in the field of the media, media holdings. These are large companies uniting several media platforms under one leadership. Holding is a special form of management; it involves a certain company managing other enterprises. But in everyday practice so often called and concerns, and syndicates, and unions. The holding usually owns a controlling stake in subordinate organizations and therefore can make critical strategic decisions. However, subordinate companies often retain their freedom in choosing editorial policies and in their development tactics.
The history of the formation of Russian media holdings
The main reason for the emergence of holdings is the need to survive in the face of growing competition. It is believed that historically the first Russian media holdings appeared at the end of the 19th century, when the media market was emerging. However, the real-life process of enlarging the media market takes place at the end of the 20th century. In the wake of perestroika, a huge number of media appeared, they developed spontaneously, many were politically engaged and did not bring, in the main, large profits. But by the end of the 20th century there was a tendency to commercialize the media, and this naturally led to the emergence of major players who began to buy up small media. It is the need for growth and increase in profits that has become the driver of the concentration of the media business. By the beginning of the 21st century, the main landscape of the Russian media industry is taking shape.
Russian media market today
Today in Russia there is no single database of statistics that would make it possible to understand how many media outlets exist on the domestic market. About 79% of the population choose the Internet as the main source of information, but television platforms do not give up their positions and fight for a young audience. Paper media is showing an obvious decline, but they are gradually being converted to digital media. The main media holdings in Russia, the list of which varies in different sources, own different media: both digital and television. But there is a certain specialization. Some players focus on electronic media, others on television or radio. According to various estimates, the lion's share of the market is occupied by 8-10 largest players, and the remaining part falls on regional media holdings and individual media.
Listing the key media holdings in Russia, first of all, it is worth mentioning the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company. It was created on the basis of state Soviet resources in 1990. The holding includes a federal network of television and radio stations.
The largest media assets of the holding are the television channels “Russia-1”, “Russia K (Culture)”, the news channel “Russia-24”, the children's channel “Carousel”, and the channel for foreign broadcasting “RTR-Planet”. The holding also includes a network of radio stations: Radio of Russia, Vesti FM, and Radio Mayak.
Owning these assets allows the holding to cover all corners of Russia. In addition to broadcasting, the company also acquired several digital television channels: Real Scary Television, Mult, Russian Bestseller, Russian Detective and others. VGTRK also includes 9 regional television and broadcasting companies. The holding company has its own Internet resources, the largest of which is the Vesti.ru portal and the websites of the TV channels. The share of VGTRK in the Russian media market is approximately 35%.
In 1998, a new player entered the list of the largest media holdings in Russia - a subsidiary of Gazprom. She manages several very influential media: NTV, TNT, TV-3, Friday, Match TV, a whole range of channels broadcasting films, including Kinomiks, Indian Cinema, and Native Cinema , "Cinema Hit", "Film Premiere" and others. The holding also owns a number of large radio stations: Avtoradio, Humor FM, Ekho Moskvy.
GazpromMedia also retains several print publications, in particular it continues to publish the magazines Caravan Istorii and 7 Days, and the holding also has several large Internet sites. Like other Russian media holdings, GazpromMedia has created a network of companies selling ads on its resources in the regions of the country.
National Media Group
In order to increase competitiveness in 2008, several resources came together and created the National Media Group, which today is confidently on the list of major Russian media holdings. The company went through a difficult path of mergers, purchases and acquisitions, and today owns such serious assets as a 29% stake in Channel One, controlling interest in Channel Five and RenTV, STS, Domashny, Che. The group also includes several large paid television channels and film production and distribution companies.
Media Empire A. Usmanova
Until recently, Alisher Usmanov and his holding UTV were the largest player in the media market. The company was established in 2009 and was immediately focused on managing large television projects. Its assets include U, MuzTV, and Disney TV channels. Later, the businessman sold his stake in UTV Holding to Ivan Tavrin, who is now the sole owner of the company.
Today Alisher Usmanov owns such large sites as Mail.ru Group, VKontakte and Odnoklassniki. Also, its assets include the largest publishing house Kommersant. The holding is constantly updating its assets, selling part of the sites, so there are no statistics on its share in the media market, as well as for other major players. This business is very mobile and poorly reflected in statistical reports.
Russian media holdings cover not only news and entertainment resources. There is such an interesting company among media players as Aktion-ICFER. This is the largest professional media network. The group includes more than 100 professional publications, several online services, 17 reference systems and several distance learning courses. This company offers information services for accountants, lawyers, human resources managers, financial directors, and managers. The network works mainly through subscriptions.
Internet media holdings
An interesting holding is Rambler & Co, which combines several of the largest Internet projects at once: Afisha, Lenta.ru, Rambler, Gazeta.ru, Championship.ru and others. Today, the holding ranks first in terms of reaching an Internet audience, overtaking the rest of the players and reaching over 6 million users per day. In second place in terms of the number of users of the worldwide network is Hearst Shkulev Media, which owns the sites of Ell, Maxim, and Mary Claire magazines. And the third place is held by the Komsomolskaya Pravda holding with a large number of regional representative offices.
Regional Media Holdings
Do not remain aloof from the enlargement of the market and the regions of Russia. Local media holdings exist in all parts of the country. The largest local players are AS Baikal, Don Media, My Udmurtia, Moscow Media. Each region of Russia is experiencing a gradual enlargement of the media business, as the survival of independent media is becoming increasingly difficult.