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Newspapers Retain Prominent Position Among Russian Media - Expert

Moscow, 12 May: About 70 per cent of the country's adult population read newspapers. The total circulation of newspapers and magazines in Russia totals about 5bn copies a year, which shows that print media still hold a prominent position in the Russian media space, the president of the GIPP guild of publishers of newspapers and magazines, Aleksandr Strakhov, has said.

"Print media have taken second position on the advertising market. More than 70 per cent of the country's adult population read the press," Strakhov said at a meeting of the section of the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications titled "the Press and Mass Communications".

He said that the majority of publishers today recognized that on the whole the industry had not been hit by the general economic downturn. "Growth in advertising is evident but this does not mean that it should continue to be business as usual, the way it was before the downturn," he said.

Strakhov also said that pressure from new and emerging media was becoming more and more significant. "Publishers are having to invest more and more in the development of multimedia projects. Competition for readership and advertising is also increasing. In such conditions it is the strongest and the most energetic publishers that survive and develop," he said.

Strakhov said that state policy for the regulation of media activities "should be aimed if not at supporting economically effective media than at least at improving conditions for their operation, which are not easy, including at preserving a greater number of jobs".

"When we are talking about state support, we are not talking about allocating some additional funds to particular media but about systematic work to create favourable conditions for the development of publishing in general, tax regulation, abolition of unjustified hurdles for businesses and the creation of normal conditions for normal distribution and subscription activities," Strakhov said. He also said that publishers realized the need for state financial support for media "in the most difficult socially significant positions". "However, we would like to have a better understanding of their target and the amounts of funds being allocated," he said.

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