Modern media landscape: diversity and fragmentation

Modern media landscape: diversity and fragmentation

Nazarov M.M.

Dr. Sci. (Polit.), Leading Researcher, Institute of Socio-Political Research of Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

ID of the Article:

For citation:

Nazarov M.M. Modern media landscape: diversity and fragmentation. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2018. No 8. P. 54-64


The goal of the study is to analyze media diversity and fragmentation as the process of "spreading" audience across multiple smaller channels. Representative samples of Russian TV audiences form the empirical base of analysis. Research suggested that audience fragmentation is characterized by several features. Audience is scattering across numerous thematic sources (each having limited audience). At the same time, there are few high-reach TV channels attracting mass audience. Still, the audiences of small channels are covered by the most popular sources, proportionately to their monthly reach. The research confirms that media diversity and fragmentation correspond to actual social trends. It brings democratization of medialandscape and promoting non-mainstream cultural products. Media diversity and fragmentation mirror information overload and related simplification of media content and change patterns of its understanding. Diversity of media choice does not necessarily bring diversity of media consumption. Commercial imperative focusses media supply and demand on certain media content formats. However, besides fragmentation, there is an ongoing concentration of audience around mass popular channels; this does not support arguments of "demise" of mass media. Media fragmentation follows the trend towards greater diversity and complexity among postmodern societies. It is accompanied also by social disintegration and fragmentation of the public sphere (universal issues fading out of public attention); ever growing content targeting based on digital algorithms and data couples with evident minimization of private sphere for the sake of widespread transparency.

media fragmentation; audience; digitalization; media landscape changes; television; internet


Anderson C. (2008) Long Tail. New model of business. Moscow: Vershina. (In Russ.)

Anderson C. (2009) The Longer Long Tail. New York: Random House Books.

Andrejevic M. (2013) Infoglut. How Too Much Information Is Changing the Way We Think and Know. New York: Routledge.

Bauman Z. (2002) The Individualized Society. Moscow: Logos: 201. (In Russ.)

Chandler D., Munday R. (2011) A Dictionary of Media and Communication. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Couldry N. (2012) Media, Society, World: Social Theory and Digital Media Practice. Cambridge: Polity: 95-97.

Eriksen Th.H. (2003) Tyranny of the Moment: Fast and Slow Time in the Information Age. Moscow: Ves' Mir. (In Russ.)

Hindman M. (2008) What is the online public sphere good for? In: Turow J., Tsui L. (eds). The Hyperlinked Society Questioning. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press: 268-288.

Hindman D., Wiegand, K. (2008) The Big Three's Prime-Time Decline: A Technological and Social Context. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. No. 52: 1: 119 — 135.

Horkheimer M., Adorno T. (1997) The Dialectic of Enlightenment. Moscow: Medium (In Russ.)

Kahneman D. (2016). Thinking, Fast and Slow. Moscow: AST (In Russ.)

Katz E. (2009) The End of Television? Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. No. 625(1): 6-18. DOI: 10.1177/0002716209337796

Kolomiets V.P. (2017) Sociology of mass communication in society of communicative abundance. Sotciologicheskie Issledovaniya [Sociological Studies], No. 6: 3-14. (In Russ.)

LaRose R. (2010) The Problem of Media Habits. Communication Theory. No. 20: 194-222.

Marcuse H. (2003) One Dimensional Man. Moscow: AST (In Russ.)

Miroshnikov B.N. (2012) The Networking factor. The Internet and society: Look. Moscow: Info-ROS. (In Russ.)

Nielsen (2017) Total Audience Report Q1 2017. nielsen-total-audience-report-q1-2017.html (accessed 29.01.2018).

Osipov G.V. (ed.) (2000) Russian Sociological Encyclopedia. Moscow: Infra-M, Norma: 74 (In Russ.)

Poster M. (1995) The Second Media Age. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Schwab K. The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Moscow: Eksmo. (In Russ.)

Television Through the Eyes of TV Audience. (2012). Ed. by I.A. Poluekhtova. Moscow: Analiti. tsentr Video Interneshnl. (In Russ.)

Turow J. (1997). Breaking up America: Advertisers and the new media world. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Turow J. (2006) Niche Envy. Marketing Discrimination in the Digital Age. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press: 178.

Warncke C. (2012) Big Data strategies: Key themes from l-COM 2012. Event Reports. URL: /98228 (accessed 29.01.2018)

Webster J. (2008) Structuring the marketplace of attention. In: Turow J., Tsui L. (eds). The Hyperlinked Society Questioning. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press

Content No 8, 2018