The online media audience is constantly growing, as almost 4 million Serbian citizens use the Internet every day, according to the data of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia (RZS) for 2017. Indeed, the internet audience is seeing a constant, steady rate of growth over the last few years – in comparison to 2016 the number of internet users has grown by 140,000. In total, 96.4% of the internet population aged 16 to 24 has a profile on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
In Serbia, users most often access the internet via mobile telephones (77%), laptops (6.5%) and tablets (5.5%).
Despite the increased number of users, most Serbian citizens lack substantial digital skills. According to the data of the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, 51% of people over the age of 15 are computer illiterate, 34.2% are computer literate, while 14.8% are partially computer literate.
In parallel to the number of users, the number of registered online media is also rising. In 2018, 569 online media were registered in the Media Registry of the Agency for Business Registers (APR). A significant number of online publications are not registered as the law allows for this possibility (media which are not registered in APR cannot apply for state funds, which was the main incentive for registering).
This segment of the media is experiencing an increase in its share of the advertising market. In 2018, online media had a revenue of €32.5 million, an increase from 2017 when their revenue was €26 million.
Bearing in mind that most traditional media are under the control of the ruling party, public debate has, for good measure, shifted into the online sphere and onto social media. The media which most frequently report critically about the government’s activities are online media and investigative centres such as CINS, KRIK, BIRN, Istinomer, Insajder, Cenzolovka, Južne Vesti and VOICE. On the other hand, the greatest share of disinformation and fake news also comes from the online sphere. The tendency towards tabloidization ha salso been transposed from the printed press to the online sphere, as evident from the list of the most popular online sites which have precisely this kind of editorial approach.