Serbian citizens have a large number of media at their disposal. Data from the Media Registry of the Agency for Business Registries shows that there are 2000 media registered with the Registry – over 800 printed publications, more than 300 radio stations, over 200 TV channels and 600 online media. Bering in mind that the media advertising market is worth a mere €170 million annually, it is clear that most of these media rely on financial support from the state. In this way, indirectly, every citizen supports the economic survival of the media.
Despite the fact that they finance them, Serbian citizens have low levels of trust in the media. Indeed, Serbia is one of four countries in Europe in which less than half the citizens trusts the media. Citizens have the least trust in the printed press, while having the most trust in TV and online media according to the research of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) for 2018. The same research shows that 28% of citizens in Serbia trust social media, while 46% of citizens do not trust them. Traditional media have been given a chance thanks to the increase in the number of fake news and unreliable information which has proliferated on the internet, according to the EBU report.
Although the level of trust is low, Serbian citizens still follow television programming most regularly. Data from the IPSOS Strategic Marketing Agency shows that over 6 million people in Serbia watch TV, 3.6 million listen to radio, the internet is used by 4.8 million people, while the daily printed press is bought by 1.5 million people and magazines by 2.5 million. The internet has the fastest rising audience.
When it comes to current trends, it is evident that the share of the internet is rising at the expense of TV and the printed press.
Data regarding the use of ICT shows that the internet is becoming ever more available to households in Serbia. Over 90% of households own television sets and mobile phones, while 72% of households own computers. In addition to this, 73% of households possess internet connections, while over 3.5 million people use the internet every day. Citizens mostly used the internet for finding information (76%), reading newspapers and media content (75%), watching videos (76%) and participating on social media (70%). As much as 96.4% of the internet population aged 16 to 24 has social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc).
According to data from the Regulatory Agency for Telecommunication from 2017, another interesting trend is that an increasing number of citizens accesses content using cable systems (in 2017 this distribution method had 990,000 users), while the number of IPTV and DTH platform users is also rising. Media content is in this case bought as a package of services together with internet connections, landline and mobile telephone services. Thanks to the digitalization of television signals, citizens have various services at their disposal, such as recording content, watching content which has already been shown, buying certain programs, etc.