Observing The Changes In The Armenian News Domain

Marianna Danielyan


There were several changes in the Armenian online news domain this year. Several news sites, which had already established a clear audience over the years, were closed simultaneously or significantly reduced their activity in the field. Along with this, new names were added, and new websites were launched.

To gain insight into the changes among players in the sphere media.am interviewed representatives from websites that have either ceased activity or are newly established. We attempted to uncover the challenges that news outlets encounter, resulting in their closure or attempts to prolong the process. We also explored the measures newly established sites take to ensure their sustainability and plan for the future.

Lragir.am, which has been around for 18 years since its establishment in 2005, has been inactive for over a month since the end of April. According to Haykaz Ghahriyan, the editor-in-chief, the site had to stop renting its office and cut down on employees due to financial issues.

The media sector experienced a significant drop in advertising revenue due to the recent amendment of the Law on Advertising, which prohibits the promotion of gambling games. As a result of that change, our revenue decreased by almost 50%. I think this caused problems for all websites. However, I believe we are the only ones affected so sharply. We know that there are media that are affiliated with various political forces. Their activity is not determined by advertising streams,” says the website’s editor-in-chief.

After a month and a half hiatus, Lragir is trying to get back on track.

“It is only the two of us now, and we work from home; there is neither point nor opportunity to rent an office yet. I am responsible for managing the Armenian page of the website, while my colleague handles the Russian page.” Haykaz Ghahriyan also mentioned that they work with a different intensity and scope than before. Now they approach topics selectively, prioritizing quality and importance over quantity.

Unlike Lragir.am, the NewArmenia.am website has ceased all activity. The last publication on NewArmenia.am was on April 30. Financial issues were once again the reason for the closure of the website created in 2019.

According to Garik Chilingaryan, the site’s editor-in-chief, they initially had 15-20 employees. However, the staff gradually downsized due to financial difficulties, and some employees moved to other news agencies offering higher compensation. After some time, they decided to close the site due to the termination of funding.

“It’s impossible to fund a media company solely through advertising revenue. The amount is minimal, and the topic is not even worth discussing. That is why so many rely on sponsorship. Some secure funding through grants, private sources, and philanthropists. We, too, had sponsors; however, at some point, the owners of our website announced that they could no longer continue funding, which led to the difficult decision to shut it down.” says Garik Chilingaryan.

Betghehem Arabyan, founder and editor-in-chief of HAYASTAN.news, envisioned a self-financed website not influenced by political or business owners and sponsors. He aims to achieve this goal by relying on advertising revenues. His main objective was to have his own media platform, allowing him to make decisions independently and manage his time efficiently. The website was launched in March and successfully achieved its objectives.

The website has been operating since March of this year. Betghehem says that his personal financial investment initially powered the site, and now they are also starting to work on activating advertising streams. The staff is small, but he’s happy with how things are going.

“The funds are not inexhaustible; therefore, we require advertising to generate revenue, and I must admit, it has been quite successful. Since the website is only four months old, advertising offers were not made initially. However, as the website began to show tangible results, various offers have now started to come in and are expected to continue. There will be specific targeted applications for implementing certain large projects,” says the site’s founder.

In May, a new media outlet called alphanews.am was launched with financial backing from its founders. It has now become a part of the news industry.

During an interview with alphanews.am on the day of the website’s launch, Victor Soghomyan, the founder of the site and former head of the office of the 2nd President of Armenia, discussed the website’s financial resources and future goals.

“The site was created with funds from the founders; pardon my immodesty, mostly mine. I believe these funds will be enough to begin and carry out the planned work for now. I don’t hide it; we think that we will be able to create a business model that will allow us to come to self-financing without using the funds of the founders and make the website work, not only as a media outlet but also as a self-sustaining structure,” Victor Soghomonyan said in the interview.

According to Soghomonyan, the main objective of establishing the website was to create a pan-Armenian news network. Alphanews aims to share stories of Armenians living and working around the globe, through their editorial offices in Moscow and Los Angeles, in addition to their presence in Armenia.

Marianna Danielyan

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