Back to news
29 April 2022

Alexander Zharov speaks about current trends in media consumption at the VIII “Innovative Practice: Science Plus Business” Congress

The VIII “Innovative Practice: Science Plus Business” Congress opened on December 14. The event is organised by the Moscow State University and Innopraktika non-governmental development institute.

A plenary session called “COVID-19 as a catalyst for creating a new global value system within society and the economy” was the first event at the Congress. Gazprom-Media Holding CEO Alexander Zharov spoke at the session.

As part of the discussion, the speakers discussed how COVID-19 changed global society and became a catalyst for the creation of a post-coronavirus era. That is, an era of changes in the global value system within society and the economy, adapted to that globalisation.

Speaking about the values that are transmitted through the media, Alexander Zharov noted that the pandemic led to inevitable changes in media consumption habits. The pandemic led to the self-isolation of millions of people around the globe as well as the switch to remote work for about 30% of company employees, and now dictates new rules of the game to media, Internet companies and content distributors. The consumption of information through television and Internet grew exponentially during the pandemic. Thus, we have arrived at a situation where in addition to the ‘traditional’ evening primetime from 18:00 to 22:00, we now have a daytime primetime as well. This required TV channels to change their approach to programming. Moreover, there has been a noticeable, rigid segmentation of age groups across the different platforms. While people over 50 years old tend to watch more traditional TV, the younger generations prefer a variety of platforms and online content. It is also worth noting that family television viewing is growing in Russia and so is the demand for such content.

Gazprom-Media Holding has seven of its own production entities that create content for all kinds of media platforms. Another fundamentally important change is worth noting here. The client takes centre stage today and content is becoming more personalised and viewer-oriented.We are able to offer viewers information that they are personally interested in across all media environments thanks to the knowledge we have gathered about our viewers and the accurate profiling and targeting that we use. 

“Today the classic concept that ‘content is king’ is being replaced by a new paradigm. While we used to operate in the system where ‘content is king’, when both content producers and advertiser clients aimed to get the widest possible coverage of the audience, today the ‘client is king’ because both the content message and the marketing message as well as distribution are becoming more and more targeted. In this way, the industry is working for every client in the digital world, for every consumer of its services, so its value to the consumer is also growing.”
Alexander Zharov CEO of Gazprom-Media Holding

Alexander Zharov noted that politics, economics and virology are at the centre of today’s news agenda.

“People are living in a changing world since, in addition to the pandemic, which accelerated the digitalisation process, the way of life is also changing. People are often disoriented and looking for answers to the questions of how to live in this changing world. More and more they are searching for information that can help them to better navigate these changes. Thus, the mission that media companies who offer news information have is to teach, explain and educate. The media helps people to deal with the aftermath of the pandemic, including by showing them how TV series characters would behave. Two types of content are in demand: informational content that explains current events; and in the entertainment segment - feel-good family comedies that show those very characters and role models of behaviour that today’s viewers can use as a guide.”
Alexander Zharov CEO of Gazprom-Media Holding

Other session participants included: CEO of RUSAGRO Group of Companies Maxim Basov, CEO of PhosAgro and a member of the Management Board of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) Andrey Guryev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund Kirill Dmitriev, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Maxim Reshetnikov, rector of Moscow State University and Russian Academy of Sciences member Viktor Sadovnichy, and Chairman of Promsvyazbank Pyotr Fradkov. Natalya Popova, first deputy CEO of Innopraktika, moderated the session.