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Lithuania – (F2) Patterns of news media use (consumption of news)

Score in short:

Although the mainstream news media are heavily used in the country, the population in Lithuania is segmented (dispersed into different audience groups) according to its socio-economic status and socio-cultural needs (the type of media and how it is used).

Score in detail:

Despite the fact that people consider newspaper reading an important activity, it is television that receives the biggest share of daily media use. The entire population reads and watches news regularly, but clear differences emerge when information use between people living in the cities and peripheral regions of the country is estimated. For instance, people living in bigger cities tend to read more dailies than those living in the outlying regions, whereas people from smaller cities and living in the peripheral regions are more active TV program watchers and magazine readers.

Among TV news programs, the news program on commercial TV3 television is the most popular (the evening news program on TV3 has a 12 % share of the audience, while the “Panorama” news program on the PSB channel has 6.3 %). generally, each TV station has two or three news programs – these are thought to be inseparable from the station’s image and necessary to produce to uphold the station’s reputation.

Being a small country, Lithuania also has a dispersed audience, which, as television audience studies vividly describe (česnavičius 2010), is split into a large number of different audience groups, each with a very different relation to such content categories as news/information or talk shows and general entertainment, mainstream or niche programs. In another study (TnS gallup 2009), a clear difference in value orientations was disclosed between people living in big cities and those living in the outlying regions, although this result is only applicable to the age group between 30 and 49. For instance, people from smaller cities tend to rely more strongly on traditional values (e.g., religion) and are much less interested, for example, in cultural programs, whereas people living in the cities support individualistic values and are more pragmatically oriented (they are more practical, more logical; and they are also more interested in the arts, popular culture and celebrities, but not at all interested in, for example, religion). Interestingly enough, in the two other age groups (15-29 and 50-74) no such clear differences were detected. In sum, all this shows that media use among decision-makers is quite dispersed according to the place where people live (center or periphery) as well as the value orientations and content preferences of those who consume media.