Tuesday, December 15, 2009

SDA on South Caucasus Data | Video Tutorials

Earlier this year, CRRC launched Survey Documentation and Analysis (SDA), a web-based interface for statistical analysis loaded with information from the 2008 Data Initiative (DI). Based on interviews with more than 6 000 respondents in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, the program contains a whole variety of information available to everyone at www.crrccenters.org/sda.

If you feel hesitant about using statistical programs – think again! SDA is a user-friendly program that doesn’t require any previous knowledge of statistics. To help get you started there are now two short video tutorials available on Youtube and if you spend just 12 minutes watching part I and II you will be able to fully explore all the data available in SDA (you can also have a look at the first lesson here). You’ll be able to get answers to all those questions you’ve always been wondering about, for example how do men and women’s opinions about the Georgia-Russia war differ between the three countries? Or what is the difference in health status between respondents of different income level? Have a look at these videos and you’re ready to get started and explore the extensive data yourself!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Georgian Media as Business | Data Snapshots

In terms of the business findings, CRRC's Media Survey (undertaken in September/October 2009) generated extensive data that is available to help media make good business decisions. One recent presentation, summarized here, focused on showing the diversity of data that is available. 

Internet clearly will influence the media environment, with 19 percent saying that they have access to the Internet. When browsing the Internet, social networking sites are most popular (59 percent), followed by doing emails (36 percent) and then listening to music and watching movies (34 percent). For those that do not have Internet access at home, 36 percent say that the main reason is that it is too expensive. Twenty percent say that the problem is that they do not have access in their area. Only 7 percent say they do not want to use it. While price is the main reason for not getting Internet, 49 percent also say they do not know how much Internet costs in their settlement. (Details on how much different groups would be willing to pay is also available.) 

Yet a significant challenge, little discussed, is that free-download sites (ranked among the top ten sites in Georgia) may get the public to form the expectation that content is always for free. This expectation is a very significant risk to the media business in Georgia which needs to convince the public to pay for quality content. Intellectual property concerns, while not on the agenda right now, will soon become relevant.

While newspapers have limited circulation, not all of it is a matter of cost. Only 21 percent say that they don't read newspapers because they are too expensive. Twenty-three percent say they currently are not interested in reading newspapers, and 22 percent that newspapers simply are not sold in their area, implying that there are some potential customers that could still be won over. Again, the prices that different groups would be willing to pay are also available.

As for television, consumers clearly say they want quality coverage, delivered professionally. This seems important in attracting and retaining viewers. However, television is used in different ways by different groups. When switching on TV, the majority of men (65 percent) actually watch, while the majority of women (59 percent) use it as a kind of radio, running the TV while engaging in other tasks. Current TV advertising does not seem to popular, with almost 80percent saying that they usually switch channels if there's a long block of advertising.

These are only some data points, and that much more targeted data can be made available if media professionals or researchers are interested in finding out what the audience wants. 

[This research has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the CRRC and can be in no way taken as to reflect the views of the European Union.]

Monday, December 07, 2009

The "Attitudes Towards European Integration" Survey

Georgia's government openly seeks greater cooperation and, eventually, convergence with the EU. The CRRC and the EPF have recently released the results of their "Attitudes Towards European Integration" survey, along with its summary report. The results show that Georgia's population seemingly strongly supports its government's drive toward Europe. The survey itself, in addition, is an excellent tool for analyzing and fostering a greater understanding of an important subject for the citizens and the government of Georgia.

Some interestingly high numbers from the survey include 81 percent of the respondents who said they think Georgia should become a member of the EU in the future, and 79 percent who said they would vote for EU membership were a referendum held on the issue. Furthermore, 68 percent of the respondents said that EU membership would either significantly or somewhat improve Georgia's national security. Being a part of what EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana calls the "bigger element of Europe" (Erlanger, "Europe's Foreign Policy," NYT, Nov. 30, 2009) not only includes the potential for increased trade with and mobility throughout the EU, it means being a part of a phenomenon that has brought peace, prosperity, and stability to a large part of Europe – and one that continues to gain momentum.

In contrast to Georgia’s enthusiasm, the EU’s approach toward deeper cooperation with Georgia is often lukewarm. Many commentators have noted this, and have even gone so far as to warn Brussels against adopting such a passive attitude (see, for instance, Vasalek, "What Does the War in Georgia Mean," CER, 2008 & Kucharczyk, "Time for the EU," European Voice, Aug. 21, 2008). Some of the survey's results may indicate that Georgia's citizens are aware of the EU's sometimes less-than-heightened interest: Although 37 percent said that a majority of Europeans supports Georgia's EU membership, 53 percent either did not know or refused to answer. Moreover, when asked whether a majority of EU Member States supports Georgia's inclusion, 39 percent said "yes," while 51 percent either did not know or refused to answer.

There are, nevertheless, at least two means by which the Georgia-EU relationship can be reciprocal and more constructive. First, for its part, the EU can continue with and strengthen cooperation within the framework of the Eastern Partnership (EaP). There should be a greater political will within the EU to inject life into a relationship that often finds itself to be lagging within the ENP (European Neighbourhood Policy). The recent meetings in Brussels on October 26, 2009, between the EU and the foreign ministers of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, which were led by Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, are a start – especially in terms of practical steps to be taken. Visa-free travel to the EU for citizens of the South Caucasus, for instance, was one of the major subjects broached at these meetings. Although Bildt stressed the need to better facilitate mobility between the EU and the South Caucasus, no definitive commitments were agreed upon.

The numbers from the survey arguably support the ministers' requests: A fair number of the respondents – 30 percent – said they would be interested in working in the EU, a number that increased to 42 percent of the respondents under the age of thirty-five. In addition, 37 percent of the respondents aged thirty-five or under expressed interest in studying in the EU.

Second, for its part, Georgia can foster a greater understanding of the EU among its citizens by disseminating more information on EU affairs to its citizens through various media outlets and further studies and surveys such as these. In fact, the survey revealed that Georgia's population often lacks sufficient information on the EU. Forty-four percent of the respondents either did not know or refused to answer the "What do you expect from the Eastern Partnership for Georgia" question, and 17 percent answered "restoration of territorial integrity" – decidedly not the EaP's principal aim. Only 9 percent answered "political and economic integration with the EU." In all, 66 percent of the respondents stated that they would like to have more information on the EU.

A well-informed populace is one way to get Brussels to pay more attention to Georgia, where so much progress that is on par with other potential EU members has occurred. It also places Georgia in a unique position, i.e. to be an example to other nations on similar courses of development by taking matters into its own hands rather than passively waiting for directions from the EU.

For all the information on the survey, the report, and other documents from the EU, please visit EPF’s site.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Georgian Media | Georgian Public Broadcaster

CRRC recently undertook a major study of Georgian media. On the blog, we will publish some small excerpts that have not made it into the main report (the link to these reports will be published on the blog). One aspect not covered in that much more detail is the Georgian view of their Public Broadcaster (GPB). The GPB, you will remember, is financed from the government budget, and the GPB is intended to follow the general principle of serving the broader public interest. So how does it do?

60 percent of Georgians say the receive news on politics and current events in Georgia from GPB at least several times a week. But the GPB is not the first news station on people's minds, with only 25 percent saying they usually turn to GPB for news and shows related to current events. GPB is more popular in rural areas, and among people that are actually reading newspapers. Age also seems to be a factor, as the slide illustrates.

Trust levels in the news broadcasted on the GPB are not high, with only 26 percent saying they fully or somewhat trust GPB. 18 percent say they fully or somewhat distrust GPB. Significant amounts either say they neither trust nor distrust the news broadcast on the GPB (27 percent), or that they do not know (20 percent). Fifty-one percent believes the news coverage reflects the interests of the government, and 11 percent believed it reflected neither the interest of the government nor those of the opposition. (Twenty-six percent said they did not know, and 4 percent refused to answer.)

As for the financing, 40 percent correctly identified that GPB is primarily financed by government. Forty-two percent said they did not know what is the main source for financing the GPB. This suggests that the majority of Georgians do not realize that the GPB is primarily financed from public resources.

Contact CRRC in case you're interested in pursuing a more detailed analysis.

[This research has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the Caucasus Resource Research Centers and can be in no way taken as to reflect the views of the European Union.]