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Survey: TV Viewers' Appetite for News Remains High
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 22 Jun.'11 / 18:15

Georgians remain avid consumers of news with 83% of respondents watching news on national TV stations every day, according to a new comprehensive survey on the Georgian media.

The survey on broad range of media-related issues by Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC) was made based on the public opinion survey of over 2,000 respondents in Georgia conducted in late March and early April, 2011. (A brief presentation of some aspects of the survey available in pdf; full version can be browsed on interactive data base on this link).

The survey is similar to the one conducted by CRRC in October, 2009 and like year and a half ago, the recent poll again showed that most of the respondents spend between an hour and two hours daily watching news on TV.

The survey shows further increase in popularity of entertainment TV programs, in particular of comedy shows.
 
“But this increase in interest towards the entertainment shows has not come at the expanse of interest towards news and current affairs, which still remains high,” Koba Turmanidze, CRRC-Georgia country director, told Civil.ge.

Like the previous survey, the recent one also demonstrates that viewers in Georgia show a clear appetite for investigative reporting.

Marked changes over the previous similar survey in October, 2009, are mainly related to use of Internet with number of respondents saying they surf the web during their free time has more than doubled to 20% in the recent poll.

Number of those respondents who access Internet daily has also increased from 13% to 23% this year. 70% of respondents with Internet access say they mostly browse social networking sites.

Television remains prime source of information for 88% respondents.

Although number of those for whom Internet is the main source of information remains still low at 5% (up from 3% in 2009), it is outstripping newspapers and magazines more than two fold already; the latter remain main source of information for only 2% of respondents – no change since the previous similar survey in 2009.

Number of those respondents for whom Internet is a second choice of getting information about current events has also more than doubled from 6% to 14% this year, but slightly falling behind newspapers and magazines, which is a second source of information for 18% of respondents, down from 26% in 2009.

Rustavi 2 TV and Imedi TV are the most watched television stations in Georgia with 88% and 85%, respectively, mentioning these two broadcasters among the stations they watch for news. The Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) falls far behind with 32%.

These three television stations enjoy with nationwide broadcasting covering most of the country.

Maestro TV and Kavkasia TV, the two television stations covering mainly the capital city Tbilisi, were mentioned among stations watched for news by 6% and 9%, respectively.

43% of respondents think that Imedi TV serves interests of the government. In case of Rustavi 2 TV, 53% gave the similar response and 48% of respondents said that public broadcaster serves the interests of the government.
 
In case of Kavkasia TV and Maestro TV, 38% and 29%, respectively, say these two TV stations serve the interests of opposition. At the same time, 46% say do not know whose interests Kavkasia TV serves and 56% failed to answer in case of Maestro TV.

43% of respondents say they trust in news broadcasted by Rustavi 2 TV, up from 37% in 2009; 42% said the same in respect of Imedi TV – no change over the previous survey and 25%, up from 17%, said they trust in news carried by the Georgian Public Broadcaster.

At the same time, 42% of respondents believe there is no freedom of speech in the Georgian media, down from 46% in 2009 with 34% of respondents saying the opposite, down from 36% in 2009.

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