What is ‘Belsat’ and how many Belarusians watch it?


“Belsat” in 5 minutes

Video from 2015

Who are we? “Belsat” is not only a TV station, it is also an Internet portal and an extensive social network that helps us communicate with our audience and readers.

WHAT IS “BELSAT”?

“Belsat” emerged as a result of an agreement between the Polish Television and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland. It began broadcasting in 2007. From the outset it has been made by journalists in Poland and Belarus, with Belarusian as its main language. The mission and the amount of ‘Belsat’ financing (partially provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) are yearly approved by the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the basis of recommendations of the Program Advisory Board, which includes representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and TVP.

“Belsat” has trained dozens of Belarusian journalists; it collaborates with writers, directors, Belarusian experts. They are the authors of programs and films. In this sense, the channel is Belarusian and serves primarily Belarusian audience.

HOW IS IT FUNDED?

The budget of “Belsat” includes yearly grants for development assistance and democratization, provided by the Polish Foreign Ministry. “Belsat” also operates with financial support and infrastructure of the Polish television. It also receives foreign grants. The budget of “Belsat” has always been bigger than the subsidy of the Polish Foreign Ministry, which in the last two years has amounted to 17 million zlotys. The total TV budget is about 26 million zlotys. Stable funding from the Polish state has ensured continuous operation of the television channel, regardless of political changes.

HOW MUCH DOES “BELSAT” COST COMPARED WITH “RUSSIA TODAY”?

The budget of “Belsat” in 2016 amounted to about PLN 26 million, which is about EUR 5.8 million. For comparison, in 2016 the budget of the international Russian TV RT (Russia Today) amounted to EUR 307 million.

“BELSAT TV” TV COVERAGE

“Belsat” broadcasts for 19.5 hours daily in the Belarusian language for the whole Europe via the Astra 4A satellite.

You can also watch it live via YouTube, and all its programs are available online. “Belsat” website is available in four languages: Polish, Belarusian, Russian, and English.

PRODUCT FOR BELARUSIANS AND NOT ONLY THEM

  • “Belsat” covers multiple topics. It produces news and current affairs programs, as well as educational, cultural and satirical products. The channel gives a voice to those who do not have it on other channels: independent experts, democratic politicians, regular people in distress.
  • Programs and historical films focus on the restoration of historical justice with respect to Belarus, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, as well as the complex history of Belarusians and Poles in the XIX-XX century.
  • International journalism, which presents and explains the foreign affairs relative to Belarus, occupies an important place in the channel.
  • In our documentaries and stories we focus on the problems of ordinary people that are hushed up by the state TV. Foreign reports cover, above all, events in Ukraine and its wars for democracy.
  • Our films and reports have been repeatedly broadcast on other channels of Polish television. The films have won 45 awards at various festivals.
  •  “Belsat” produces programs about Poles living in Belarus: “Above the Niemen” and “Travels in Hrodna region”.
  • Some comments and videos are in Russian, and a significant number of films is available in Polish and English. Currently, “Belsat” is preparing two programs in Russian — an international and an entertainment one. This is the next stage of channel’s development.

“BELSAT” MISSION

Our channel’s primary mission is to show the real picture of Belarus, as well as to convey the truth about what is happening in Poland, Europe and the world.

WHO MAKES “BELSAT”?

  • “Belsat” employs around 170 people in Poland and Belarus.
  • It cooperates with more than 300 trained journalists.
  • In 2016 only, journalists have been prosecuted 33 times and fined 35,000 PLN for their work in the territory of Belarus.

HOW MANY PEOPLE WATCH “BELSAT”?

  • Four point seven percent of adult Belarusian audience watch “Belsat”. Two point seven percent do it regularly, which means more than once a week. (* Studies conducted by Belarusian SATIO group companies in April-May 2014, a group of 1,502 respondents aged over 18 years. The statistical error does not exceed 2.5%)
  • Twenty-two percent of the adult audience have access to satellite television. Of these, 53% of satellite dish owners claim that they watch “Belsat”. (** Research conducted in May 2012 by the “Zerkalo-Info” Centre of Sociological Research in a representative group of 2,999 people aged over 18. The statistical error does not exceed 0.6%).
  • It should be noted that the “Belsat” audience research involves indicative personal data. The exact results of telemetric studies are not available.

Results of the Polish television audience study, based on another type of research – telemetry, are presented here for general guidance, not for comparison. It is a channel rating, which shows how many people watch it at the moment. There is almost no questionnaire research of TV audience conducted in Poland. Note also that Polish TV channels, as opposed to “Belsat”, are available to viewers via cable network, while TVP INFO is also available via terrestrial television.

  • TVPINFO – 3,1% of viewers
  • TVN24 is not available for terrestrial broadcasting, but it is present in cable networks: 3,5% of the audience
  • TVP Polonia – 0,18%
  • TVP3 – 0,93% (***based on the telemetry data from Nielsen Polska company)

YOUTUBE AND SOCIAL NETWORKS

Our programs, news, and videos are available “on demand” on the Youtube channel. Videos from our channel have around 19.6 million views. That’s a lot, because it is the most popular channel in Belarus, presenting its own media products. The channel also has available individual playlists with videos in Russian, Polish, and English.

The main Facebook profile of “Belsat” is in Belarusian. It has almost 23,000 followers. This is a good result, fourth among independent Belarusian media, and the number is constantly growing. Source: socialbakers.com

Last month, 1,546,425 people read “Belsat” posts on Facebook, they were liked, shared or commented on 247,000 times. “Belsat” Facebook videos were watched 284,000 times.

Belsat.eu

“Belsat” also has Facebook profiles in Russian and Polish, with a total of nearly 10,000 followers.

On the popular social portal “Odnoklassniki” certain “Belsat” videos have been viewed 700,000-800,000 times.

На «Одноклассниках» материалы «Белсата» набирают сотни тысяч просмотров
In “Odnoklassniki” “Belsat” materials are viewed hundreds of thousands times

Over the last month, our Belarusian profile on Twitter was viewed 367,000 times. About 17,000 people are following our profile in this network. The English-language profile on Twitter is viewed by 3,900 people, and the Polish profile of “Belsat” has nearly 3,000 followers.

CABLE NETWORKS

“Belsat” is not available via cable networks in Belarus (government ban). In Poland and in Ukraine, where the owners themselves decide whether to add “Belsat” to the package, it is available in almost all cable networks. Ukrainian language is very close to Belarusian, and Ukrainians easily understand “Belsat”. In Poland, mainly in Podlasie, lives quite a big Belarusian minority, which has access to “Belsat” through cable TV. A program cycle “Belarusians in Poland” was dedicated to them.

CONCLUSIONS

There is no doubt that in the 9 years of broadcast “Belsat” has become a center, a place that brings together writers and journalists. The best example of its contribution to the Belarusian culture was this year’s “People’s Album” performance on the stage of Podlaskie Opera. It is a cult musical performance, banned in Belarus. “Belsat” has an increasing impact on the formation of civil society and opposition to Russian propaganda.

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