Navigating the print-to-digital transition in Peru

Navigating the print-to-digital transition in Peru
Photo: El Búho

The work

El Búho is a regional media company based in Arequipa, Peru. Founded as a printed weekly magazine, MDIF supported its transition into a digital-only company. MDIF first invested in El Búho in 2012 and has since provided further financing and advice and assistance to help it overcome challenges of adapting its content and business model to the digital landscape, while growing its audience and revenue streams during the transition.

Financing and advisory support from Media Advisory Services (MAS), our management capacity-building unit, helped El Búho pursue new audience and revenue strategies, strengthen its digital presence and improve its product and sales offers. In addition to enabling participation in group events, MAS matched the company with a marketing strategist and digital media expert specialized in the Latin American market. The long-term mentorship focused on digital advertising and sales and aimed to develop a plan for strengthening El Búho’s digital presence. The consultation also helped the company explore new revenue streams and improve its product and sales offers. It focused on reviewing current revenue verticals, maximizing SEO opportunities, engagement, YouTube and video monetization beyond Facebook. This also included grant revenue. El Búho is a small team and applying for grants can be time-consuming and detract from operational projects, so MAS provided customized support for grant writing, with the twin purpose of increasing reporting on topics often overlooked or dismissed by establishment media and bringing in much-needed revenue.


  • With hard work by the El Búho team, the company established a solid, substantially growing web presence. The news site’s audience increased dramatically, growing its average monthly website users by almost 500% between 2018 and 2022. Search on Google also increased after a successful SEO strategy was implemented to advance El Búho’s brand positioning.
  • The company ensured widespread digital distribution of their content through various channels, making it accessible on different devices and platforms to reach a larger audience. With 85% of traffic from mobile devices, the website is mobile-friendly. Thanks to its stronger social media presence, the company gained a 400% increase in social media platform revenue from YouTube.
  • El Búho developed new monetization models to replace the traditional revenue streams associated with print, exploring digital advertising and sponsored content. El Búho consolidated a new business plan and created new sales packages. By growing its coverage of national news and strengthening its SEO, it managed to reach audiences beyond its region, thus opening up to a new set of national advertisers. Between 2020 and 2021, the advertising revenue increased by almost 30%. Overall, the company increased its revenues by almost six times from the start of its relationship with MDIF until 2022.
  • El Búho’s grant revenue tripled between 2020 and 2022. The company was able to secure multiple grants, including for election coverage, female political coverage and for the creation of the Network of Regional Media (Red de Medios Regionales del Perú), consisting of a small radio, print and online media serving the underserved regional and rural communities of Peru.
  • Amidst the 2022 political crisis in Peru, El Búho played a vital role by furnishing essential information to the residents of the Arequipa region, an area that bore the brunt of the upheaval. The integration of technological advancements and operational solutions emerged as a crucial factor, empowering El Búho to effectively manage the increased workload and heightened attention it received during this period.

Doing independent journalism in critical contexts such as the interior of Peru is a very lonely task. At a certain point we only had the support of MDIF and without it, we would not have gotten ahead and I think that is the commitment of this organization: to pay attention to what no one else is looking at.

Mabel Cáceres, founder and Editor-in-Chief of El Búho