Cabaero: For free, financially viable media

Cabaero: For free, financially viable media

An exciting innovation in media development was launched on World Press Freedom Day last Friday, May 3, 2024, to promote an independent and financially viable media sector.

The Media Viability Accelerator (MVA) had a soft launch Friday to offer independent media new insights to “drive revenue strategies” this World Press Freedom Day, the MVA announcement said.

The MVA is a free web-based platform designed to support media to become more financially sustainable. It is a context-driven platform to track, benchmark, and optimize a media outlet’s business performance, the website said.

With small to big media struggling to keep afloat, this tool would help them collate and understand analytics and audience data, and eventually provide them with recommendations on steps to take to improve revenue performance and financial sustainability.

The soft launch opens the tool to several hundred users approved by the implementing partners who will have access to the MVA for the first time. Other interested media outlets or organizations can sign up for the newsletter at to receive more information and pre-register for MVA access when it is fully launched in September 2024.

Dan Spealman, MVA Forward chief of party, said in a press release that media outlets will also have a chance to apply for grants of up to US$25,000 each to implement measures for improved financial viability.

Philippine media companies of any size, including community media, may avail themselves of the MVA tool starting September and seek support to boost organizational growth. The MVA will be available to news websites, websites of newspapers and broadcast stations, and those on social media platforms, reflecting the growing online audience for news. Recognizing the shift towards digital consumption, proponents saw the need to focus on digital products.

Led by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Microsoft Corp. and Internews—an international media development non-government organization—the MVA operates in collaboration with implementing partners Free Press Unlimited, Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD), IREX, SembraMedia and Thomson Reuters Foundation.

As Internews president Jeanne Bourgault said during the MVA soft launch, “This initiative is a key tool for preserving independent media so that citizens can make informed decisions, hold power to account, and bolster democracy. It is incredibly exciting that we have arrived at this phase after an impressive team of organizations and people have put in the groundwork to strengthen and develop this public-private partnership.”

The MVA soft launch was also announced yesterday, Saturday, during the World Press Freedom Conference in Chile by the Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

World Press Freedom Day comes amid heightened concern over the protection of journalists, the survival of independent media organizations, and journalism’s role in addressing the environmental crisis, made particularly relevant given the challenges posed by climate change, such as extreme heat and drought experienced in several countries, including the Philippines.

(Disclosure: Nini Cabaero is among Internews’ media business advisers for small and independent media.)


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