MDIF clients reach 93.7 million people, a record high

Last year, 93.7 million people received their news from MDIF clients, a record high in MDIF’s 22 years of work. From a network of radio stations in Somalia to a digital news site in India, MDIF-supported media provided the independent news, information and debate that citizens need to build free, thriving societies. More than 96% of people reached by our clients live in countries where the press is not free or only partly free.

At the same time, despite increasing financial pressure facing the media sector globally, our clients generated a combined $381.4 million in sales, also the highest in MDIF’s history. Each dollar invested by MDIF leveraged $5.32 in client sales.

These findings are included in the Media Development Impact Dashboard 2018, an annual analysis of MDIF’s impact results, which explores cumulative changes across the portfolio and monitors clients’ performance, both in terms of the impact of our investment on media businesses and their impacts on society.

The Impact Dashboard 2018 also found that media companies significantly grow their audiences and sales while working with MDIF. After five years of working together, clients increased their reach by a median of 32% and their sales by a median of 105%. This strengthened performance makes the companies more resilient to encroachments on their editorial independence and allows them to deepen the social impact of their work.

In 2017, we saw MDIF-supported news businesses play a central role in uprooting corruption, holding the powerful to account and changing perceptions on social issues. Many saw their journalism make an impact in their communities: 86% of clients reported publishing corruption and accountability stories that created impact, while 64% declared the same about their social issues reporting. We also saw MDIF clients encourage democratic participation during elections. In 2017, we recorded 13 major elections in the countries in which our clients operate.

From reporting on illegal trade schemes in the occupied Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, through covering life-threatening air pollution in Nepal, to fact-checking voter fraud allegations in India, the Impact Dashboard 2018 highlights examples of clients’ efforts to provide timely, accurate, relevant information.

Read the full Impact Dashboard 2018 here.