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Audience's Features of the Online Publications on Queer Culture

ФИО студента: Kalashnik Lada

Руководитель: Yulia Chernenko

Кампус/факультет: Faculty of Creative Industries

Программа: Media Management (Master)

Год защиты: 2021

Over the past three years, several media projects on LGBT culture have been launched in Russia. In October 2018, the online publication O-zine on queer culture and the LGBT community was launched. In December 2019, there was the launch of the first Russian magazine on drag culture Dragzina, and in early January 2020 — the laucnh of the Instagram magazine and platform for promoting Russian queer artists called Russian Queer Revolution. These projects provide an opportunity for the younger generation of queer people from Russia aged from 18 to 25 to unite and become visible in the Russian society. The purpose of the current research is to identify the features of the audience of online publications on queer culture. In order to achieve this goal, we identified several tasks: to analyze online publications on queer culture and their development in Russia, to conduct a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the audience of online publications in the Russian language on queer culture using questionnaires and secondary analysis of the results of media measurements, to obtain a characteristic of the audience of online media on queer culture from the editors, to conduct in-depth interviews with representatives of the audience of online publications on queer culture and to identify the key characteristics of the audience of online publications on queer culture. We examined the emergence and the development of the Russian media on queer culture, studied the quantitative and qualitative indicators of the audience of online publications about queer culture O-zine and Makeout using the method of secondary data analysis of Popsters and SimilarWeb services, as well as questionnaires and in-depth interviews with the representatives of the audience of these publications. While analyzing the results of our survey, we were able to establish that the real audience of online publications on queer culture is young people aged 18 to 25 years from Russia in cities with a population of more than 1 million people. More often it is cisgender women and men with higher education that reach out to queer content, half of the audience (51.2%) considers themselves to be in the LGBT community, 42.2% - do not. Members of the audience work in paid jobs, as well as study at higher education institutions. We also found that the audience of online publications on queer culture is dominated by lower-middle class respondents (48.2%), and 28.9% are experiencing financial difficulties. Only 18.7% of the respondents can be attributed to the middle class. These indicators can be useful for the management of online publications on queer culture in terms of the monetization of content. Both segments of the audience — queer and heterosexual people — are interested in the life of representatives of the LGBT community, moreover, the audience is attracted by the specificity of queer content, which distinguishes it from the rest of the information flow. The audience also reaches out to such content out of a desire to consume alternative content to the one that dominates in the traditional media and to be aware of important events for the LGBT community. It is also important for the audience to know what arguments to appeal to in a discussion or confrontation. The entertainment component of queer content acts as a kind of therapy for the audience, while the educational component provides applied knowledge that is interesting to people who are not from the queer community out of a sense of solidarity with their relatives, friends and acquaintances who consider themselves to be LGBT people. The queer community also seeks a sense of recognition and belonging, as well as the promotion of LGBT content. Moreover, we were able to get an assessment of the audience and management from experts, which confirms the results of the research, in particular, the difficulties associated with monetization — the lack of advertisers due to the special agenda and niche nature of the media.

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