Almost half of Russians believe that the movies and TV shows they watched in the past two to three years had an influence on their opinions and behavior. At the same time, around 40% of the country’s residents began to watch domestic cinematography more often. A study, carried out by the central social project Platform with the support of National Media Group, assessed the influence modern cinema has on society and revealed the demand for socially significant content.
Film Influences Attitudes Toward Reality
After watching films, one in two respondents thought about social problems and experienced the wish to change something in their lives. Younger age groups are especially susceptible to the influence of art. Almost 70% of survey participants under the age of 24 noted that films encouraged them to reassess their views and make important decisions.
There were a number of possible responses to the question, “What thoughts and feelings does modern Russian Cinema evoke in you?” The most popular responses were:
- Forces me to contemplate society’s and other people’s problems (28%);
- Shows people who’s examples I’d like to follow (26%);
- Inspires me to become better, change myself (23%);
- Evokes empathy (17%);
- Makes me proud of my country (17%).
Development of Online Cinema Facilitates Growth in Film Quality.
Together with an increase in interest in modern domestic films and TV shows, more than a third of respondents made note of an improvement in overall quality of such entertainment. A number of positive changes were noted including: an increase in production quality, the inclusion of relevant topics, and the development of storylines. The betterment of the quality of Russian cinema was noted by:
- 44% of users of paid online cinema platforms;
- 41% of those who regularly go to movie theaters;
- 39% of those who download films and tv shows off the internet;
- 38% of TV watchers.
The development of streaming platforms and on-demand services has had a positive influence on people’s attitudes toward domestic cinematography. In the battle for the audience, such platforms aimed to create quality products and invested significant funding in them.
Almost half of the people surveyed aged 18 to 34 and two thirds of respondents over 45 year of age believe that cinema should be aimed at developing a sense of morality in people. Each respondent was asked to choose a number of important values and topics for plots.
The main ideas and concepts that, in Russians’ opinions, should be broadcast by contemporary cinema are:
- Family and children (39%);
- Kindness to those around us and mutual assistance (39%);
- Love for the motherland, its history, and respect for traditions (34%);
- Caring for the weak, elderly, and socially unprotected population members (24%);
- Valuing healthy lifestyles, and the dangers of harmful habits (24%)/
Generation Gaps: Differing Demands on Cinema
The demands of today’s audiences on cinema content vary. Those 34 years and younger orientate themselves based on Western standards of the film industry and make note of the need for the creation of engaging plot lines and improvement in production quality and special effects. In their opinion, films should raise topics like protecting the environment and ecology, continuing education and self development, and aiming for freedom and independence. Younger viewers prefer to watch films and TV shows on-demand - on free online platforms or streaming services.
More than 80% of those surveyed aged 45 and older stated that the main source of the film content they consume is what is offered on basic TV. They access contemporary cinema in comparison to Soviet cinema and believe that it’s lacking in optimism and the representation of positive human qualities. Representatives of older generations would like to see more films that have patriotic themes and promote traditional values.
The Development of Socially Significant Cinema in Russia: Expert Opinions.
Over the past 15 years in the global film industry, social impact (the influence on the audience’s attitude toward socially significant problems) has become the third most important criteria for success after box office gains and critical acclaim. Research shows that in modern society there is a demand for films that carry certain messages and portray certain values. But according to experts, in order for socially significant films to become widespread in Russia, it’s necessary to fix a whole slew of problems first, such as: learning how to reach a wider audience, attracting financing, finding new formats, and gaining expertise by developing a competency for social projects in film companies.
This study was conducted in June of 2021. The survey included the participation of more than 1,300 respondents aged 18 and older, living in cities of 100 thousand people or more, and also included over 100 respondents who’s professions are connected to film production. In-depth interviews with experts in the field were also conducted. During the study, respondents were able to choose multiple answers to open-ended questions.
Svetlana Balanova, General Director of National Media Group: “NMG’s TV and cinema products can be found on all platforms on which residents of Russia consume such content. All Russians come into contact with this company’s work, be it through new reports, full length films, or TV shows or television programs. For us, both the commercial success of what we produce and the influence they have on society are important. NMG plans to create no less than ten socially significant TV and film projects of differing genres by the end of 2022.”
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