CIBAR Annual Conference 2003

27th – 29th October 2003
Hosted by Voice of Russia
Moscow, Russia


 Copies of presentations are available to members.  Login 
Some may also be available to non-members – for more information contact CIBAR.

International broadcasting to, from, and within Russia and the CIS

From Adversaries to Colleagues: A Very Brief Historical Overview of Broadcasting to the USSR and Russia from a Western Perspective – Gene Parta

Summary: Since the end of the Cold War era, Western broadcasting to Russia and the former Soviet Union has undergone tremendous change. In this article the author presents historic and recent data on listening to, and the impact of, Western radio stations such as Radio Liberty, BBC World Service, Voice of America, and Deutsche Welle in the former USSR, accompanied by vivid descriptions of how that former adversary once tried to prevent its people, by way of ‘jamming,’ to tune in to these stations — a situation now replaced by one of collegiality and partnership.

Socio-Demographic Profiles of Information Media Audiences in Russia: Results from Moscow and St. Petersburg – Irina Chmovzh/Elena Koneva

Summary: This article presents data from Comcon Media Research’s own audience surveys in Russia’s two most prominent markets for information media in general that are, more particularly, also important homes to audiences of international radio stations. After an overview of various radio stations, audience profiles are outlined for the BBC World Service, the Voice of America, and Deutsche Welle.

The Voice of Russia’s Role in Creating a Single Information Space in the Commonwealth of Independent States: Results from a Mail Survey in Ukraine – Valentina Zlobina

Summary: Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Voice of Russia (VOR) has been striving to identify and reach out to audiences in the Commonwealth of Independent States, often, but not always, Russian-speaking or of Russian ethnicity. Based on a mail survey of 616 VOR listeners in Ukraine, this article shows how research of this type can help a broadcaster to learn about its audiences abroad and how listeners assess and evaluate the station. Results indicate that the VOR audience in Ukraine is somewhat older and accustomed to traditional ways of broadcasting such as shortwave which raises a key marketing problem — that of reaching out to younger audience segments.

Voice of Russia Audiences in the Czech Republic, Radio Prague Audiences in Russia: Results of Focus Groups in Moscow and Prague – Sofia Berezhkova

Summary: Joint qualitative research by the Voice of Russia and Radio Prague into the nature of their respective audiences in the other’s country indicate that Radio Prague’s Russian audience is divided into two segments: One group is made up of what the autor calls “Bohemian amateurs”, or people having some special interest in the Czech Republic and the Czech language and culture. The other group is dominated by shortwave radio fans. Voice of Russia’s audience in the Czech Republic seems to have good prospects for growth — programmes are welcomed by both Russian expats and Czechs, but respondents reacted negatively to VOR’s slightly conservative broadcasting format.

Opinion Polls and Focus Groups As a Means to Understanding Local Audiences in Chechnya: Implications for Broadcasters – Sergei Khaikin

Summary: Presenting detailed findings from a series of representative surveys and a number of focus groups held in war-stricken Chechnya, this article concludes that some international Western media should modify their assumption that separatist sentiments are prevailing among Chechens, making these media de facto mouthpieces of the separatist segment of their audience. Polls demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of the Chechens are loyal citizens. However, those Chechens generally referred to as “separatists” constitute a large enough share of the population and should be very thoughtfully and respectfully treated, in particular by the Russian media, the aim being to try to understand these people’s motives, values, and expectations. It appears, the author argues, that public opinion polls in Chechnya may serve as a “compass” for mass media, to help establishing a system of efficient broadcasting, raise the audience’s interest in broadcasts and, consequently, ensure higher ratings for radio stations.

The Use of International News Media in Russia During the Iraq War – Alexander Pavlov

Summary: Following the end of the Iraq War of 2003, Moscow-based research institute GfK Media organized an omnibus survey across 13 countries within the GfK network, including five Central Eastern European countries, to gauge respondents’ evaluation of the trustworthiness of the various media covering the conflict.

Media in the Middle East

“Balance-Seekers” and New Information Sources: Media Usage Patterns in the Middle East – Mark Rhodes/Carole Chapelier

Summary: After an overview of media consumption trends and the dynamics of media markets in the Middle East, this article presents findings from various surveys carried out in 2003. These show that television is in a lead position, with national channels being the ones usually most preferred, although transnational channels such as Al-Jazeera have managed to gain important market positions and are often viewed as more reliable sources of information. The article pays special attention to Radio Sawa (a U.S.-sponsored youth-oriented pop radio in Arabic) and its considerable success in certain countries of the Middle East, and the rise of the Internet.

The reception and interpretations of Deutsche Welle’s Arabic-language offerings in the Arab world – Abir Lucassen


Sampling issues

Afghanistan: A View From the Ground – Mark Eggerman

Summary: This presentation was based on 45 colour photographs of Kabul and areas within two hours drive of the city. The main purpose of the presentation was to give people an impression of quantitative survey research fieldwork conditions in Afghanistan, particularly the physical geography of Kabul, and the variety of neighbourhoods included within and around it. This paper is based on the notes used to present the images.

Assessing the Market Potential of a TV Service Targeting German-Canadians: “German TV” and Research for Small Ethnic Target Groups – Alice Buslay-Wiersch

Summary: For preparing the launch of pay-TV channel “German TV” in Canada, Deutsche Welle undertook a survey in Canada. Its objectives were to collect data on a) the overall number of Canadians with some form of command of the German language and b) this target group’s inclination to subscribe to this channel. The survey design was based on a nationally representative sample and an additional ‘ethnic’ oversample. The article argues that this worked very well and, despite considerable costs, proved to be feasible for generating detailed information on a relatively small population group.

Internet research

Beyond ‘Hits’: Website Research and Developing Website Evaluation Criteria at Radio Free Asia – Lewis Harper

Summary: Log files from a station’s website are virtual gold mines for audience information. This article describes which website-traffic measures are used at Radio Free Asia that go beyond mere ‘hits’, such as ‘page views’ and, above all, ‘daily unique IPs.’ These criteria, the author demonstrates, are now increasingly combined with mapping and tracking devices, surveys, evaluations of connectivity and website content, and even ‘nerd’ interviews. The article argues that no single web metrics method is comprehensive. Proxy traffic remains especially difficult to track. Most importantly, research shows that content is the attraction — design matters to the extent that it helps or hinders people in getting to a site’s content.

Does One Site Fit All? A Qualitative Content and Usability Study of Deutsche Welle’s Chinese and Spanish Websites – Oliver Zöllner/Roland Schürhoff

Summary: For evaluating the content and usability of an international broadcaster’s Chinese and Spanish website versions a total of 16 respondents were invited to individual combined think-aloud and in-depth interview sessions which were finished by a short questionnaire exercise. Based on a subjectivist approach, results point at strengths and weaknesses of the website as perceived by web users, their needs and expectations not always met, and interpretations of the website at times coined by national stereotypes and cultural contexts. In view of all factors, one site may not always fit all, the authors conclude.


Digital Radio Mondiale – What Do We Need to Know from Research? And How Do We Prepare for DRM? Graham Mytton

Summary: Summarising earlier research on market prospects for Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), a technology first seemingly ‘dead on arrival’ but now blossoming in different form, this article stresses the importance to research the needs of the customer when introducing a rather similar technology such as Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM). Research is needed into several aspects of the likely take-up of DRM, including audience attitudes, expectations and habits; willingness to purchase new equipment; key attractions of the new technology to different consumer and lifestyle groups. Now that it is becoming possible to broadcast commercially attractive entertainment radio over very long distances without the need for local regulation or frequencies, the author argues, the new landscape in shortwave could soon look very different.

DRM: New Perspectives for International Broadcasting: Results of an E-Mail Survey – Valentina Zlobina/Nikolai Sonichev

Summary: In June 2003 major international broadcasters simultaneously began broadcasting in the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) standard, among them the Voice of Russia (VOR). Shortly after, an e-mail poll of VOR listeners was taken. The objective of the poll was to have foreign audiences’ opinions on AM digital broadcasting in general and VOR’s delivery in particular. Results indicate a strong interest in DRM on the side of the audience, yet also call for an enhanced information and marketing campaign for the new AM digital broadcasting standard.