Jun. 7 – U.S. viewers of the Kremlin-backed English-language TV channel formerly known as Russia Today (RT) have more than doubled over the past year, making RT the most-watched foreign TV channel in five key U.S. urban markets, according to the Nielsen Media Research survey.
Viewership in New York alone nearly tripled, while the channel also made significant advances in Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, according to the report. Nielsen Media Research, headquartered in New York City, operates primary from Chicago.
The survey indicates that the U.S. urban audience prefers watching RT to other international news channels such as the EU’s Euronews, France 24, Germany’s Deutsche Welle, the Middle East’s Al Jazeera English, or China’s CCTV News. In New York, RT’s weekly audience was nine times that of NHK World, and in Chicago, daily viewership was three times higher than Al Jazeera’s.
“The growth of our audiences in major U.S. cities, including New York and Washington, proves that we have become firmly established as an international channel that gives an alternative to the American mainstream,” RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said, ITAR-TASS reported.
Currently, 85 million people in the United States have access to the channel, according to ITAR-TASS. The channel got a boost in 2011 as it began to be carried by cable networks in San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia, also joining the lineup for satellite provider Dish Network.
American audiences can watch RT in English and Spanish.
The report also said RT’s typical viewers were men between the ages of 35 and 49 who have college degrees. Twenty percent of viewers have master’s or doctorate degrees, and most viewers are business owners, entrepreneurs, managers, or government officials, the report said.
With first channel launched in December 2005, the RT network now consists of three global news channels broadcasting in English, Spanish and Arabic, RT America broadcasting from RT’s Washington studio, and a documentary Channel RTDoc.
RT says it reaches over 430 million people globally or 22 percent of all cable subscribers worldwide in at least 100 countries. RT has 21 bureaus in 16 states, with a presence in Washington, New York, London, Paris, Delhi, Cairo, Baghdad, Kiev and other cities and employs over 2,000 media professionals around the globe.
RT has over 7 million viewers in six European countries, including Germany, France and Italy according to Synovate Research. In Great Britain, RT’s audience is over 2 million people, according to a Kantar Media survey.
According to Synovate data, RT’s daily reach in the Republic of South Africa is 4.5 bigger than those of Deutsche Welle, France 24, and TV5 Monde taken together. In Bangkok and Taipei, the Russian channel is watched more than Al Jazeera English.