MDIF is implementing a unique media development program for independent media institutions in Myanmar. The first phase of the program ran from November 2015-June 2019. The current phase runs from July 2019 to December 2022.
Myanmar media program
What is MMP?
The Myanmar Media Program is an initiative designed to increase the prospects for the sustainability of the media sector in the country by improving the business and management capacity of independent media.
It is supporting a dozen independent media organizations – a mix of national and local news outlets of different sizes and media types – with intensive mentoring and various forms of tailored technical assistance aimed at improving their business and management capacity. An additional two dozen media have access to a less intensive capacity building program designed to fit their specific needs.
Our coaches and other specialist technical assistance providers are almost all senior Southeast Asian media executives. Funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the program is practical in approach, designed to provide participants with the tools and skills to implement strategies and plans for growth.
The current program builds and expands upon on our experience of running the first phase of this Sida-funded Myanmar media initiative that benefited 12 media organizations with intensive, tailored technical assistance.
MMP identifies senior media executives from the region to work as coaches with the top management of selected media. Together, they discuss company strategy and design capacity-building plans tailored to the media's individual needs. Coaches make quarterly in-house visits to discuss implementation and assess impact based on mutually agreed targets for audience and revenue growth.
Specialist technical assistance
MMP matches media partners with South East Asian experts who provide short-term specialist technical assistance to address particular needs, such as website redesign, social media traffic growth, sales training, digital TV consultancies, and in-house financial management training. MMP is also facilitating the establishment of a company that will fulfill the digital service needs of its media partners at an affordable price, as well as creating a sales network for media to increase their access to Yangon-based advertisers and advertising networks.
MMP conducts workshops that are open to all MMP participants, addressing topics that include sales and marketing, digital strategies, business planning, and financial management.
Recognizing the value of sharing best practices among like-minded media, MMP facilitates exchanges of ideas and information through visits to counterpart media within Myanmar. It also organizes study tours to media companies in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and India, as well as supporting participation at relevant regional and international conferences. This includes supporting media partner participation in MDIF’s bi-annual Media Forum that brings together 150 media, partners, funders, staff and Board members from nearly 40 countries.
Grants and research
MMP provides technical assistance grants to selected participating media to enable them to cover specific needs contributing to their long-term sustainability. MMP also commissions or purchases content analysis and market research data to further the program's goals and publishes its own reports on the Myanmar media sector.
Assessing the business challenges facing Myanmar's media from COVID-19 and more
In July 2020, MMP published "Myanmar's Media Response to COVID-19" in Burmese and English, a survey of media that confirmed that the impact of COVID-19 was swift and damaging, particularly on the bottom line. The survey was conducted in June covering the period March through May. All but two of the 36 respondents experienced revenue declines over the period. Half reported a fall in revenue of 75% or more, considerably higher than the 40-60% that our partners elsewhere in the world reported. Amidst this hardship, there is a glimmer of good news. As has been experienced by media in other countries, Myanmar media have seen a marked growth in their digital audiences.
COVID-19: Urgent recommendations - To help media respond rapidly to the enormous business challenges posed by the coronavirus, MDIF has drawn on its experience of previous crises to compile a list of steps media companies can take to minimise the impact of the pandemic on their operations. Read our recommendations in Burmese and English.
The Business of Chin Media: In 2019 we published The Business of Chin Media, original research and analysis of the current status and challenges facing Chin media operations, as well as the news and information needs and preferences of Chin living in Chin State and Sagaing Region. It is accompanied by an interactive map. Read the report in Burmese and English or check out the interactive map.
We have also published An Unfavorable Business: Running Local Media in Myanmar's Ethnic States and Regions, a 66-page report that assesses the business challenges faced by the country's local media outlets. The report is based on research conducted in 2018, as well as data gathered during our first Myanmar media initiative. You can download the full pdf version in English here or in Burmese here.
MMP's In-house trainings are very useful and practical and meet our needs. MDIF-MMP is very active and closely monitors our activities and pushes us to advance.
Regular communication with our coach is very valuable and he encourages us to meet our targets; regular training evaluations and needs assessments help us stay focused on future plans.