Computerisation, digitalisation, development of new media, growth of the Russian Internet section (RuNet) and streaming revolutionise the culture and media sectors. They are intended to change the cultural landscape and practices, to improve delivery of cultural goods and services and to even cultural access around the country. The IT technologies are to add on cultural infrastructure and are believed to be crucial for “normal” cultural development in small towns and villages of such a big country as Russia.
The goals of “building an information society” in Russia are commonly proclaimed among those responsible for general information policies, though the existing infrastructure is not sufficient and relatively expensive for users. However, in 2012, VCIOM estimated the Internet penetration at 55% of the population, which means that 45% never use it. During the year 2011-2012, the share of low-income Internet users grew 9%, of retired people – 16%, of low-educated users – 7%. To overcome language barriers, registration in the Cyrillic domain .РФ started in November 2009 but was not in fact popular.
The E-Russia Federal Target Programme (2002-2010) aimed at telecommunications development of state governance and provision of access to public information systems, including connecting cultural institutions to the web. Among the cultural institutions, research units and museums are most involved in digitalisation; the latter are engaged in developing national networks and electronic projects (http://www.museum.ru). The major libraries and archives produce online catalogues supported by the E-Russia programme. 1 billion RUB in the 2011 culture budget is intended for establishment of national e-libraries including digitalisation of contemporary literary and scientific publications.
The media have already put value on the Internet and younger audiences and are gradually migrating to the WWW. The state funded “Orpheus” radio station, which broadcasts classical music started streaming in 2007 to increase audiences and especially to address the younger generation (http://www.muzcentrum.ru/orfeus/live/). On the contrary, the TV Rain Chanel, which was launched in the Internet, joined the cable and satellite broadcasting. Streaming services are replacing loading while the market for licensed music and film remains lifeless. Books are among the goods leading the daily visits of related sites and in number of orders made. In 2008, the market of on-line games grew 80%; its turnover was estimated at USD 300 million in 2009.