MDIF provides affordable financing and business assistance to independent news outlets in challenging environments, helping them to become financially sustainable. We invest in outlets that provide the news, information and debate that people need to build free, thriving societies.
The MDIF Portfolio Review 2014 provides an overview of the performance of our investment portfolio, including visualisations of allocations by geography, press freedom ranking and economic development. It also provides an insight into client and organisational developments.
In 2014, our clients continued to provide high-quality independent news and information in the face of government pressure, economic challenges and technological change.
Recognition for social engagement, contributing to society, courage:
In 2014, elections were held in several countries where we work and our clients played a key role in improving voter knowledge, exposing corruption and increasing participation, including:
Sunday Standard, Botswana – Botswana is one of the most democratic nations in Africa, but intimidation of journalists and electoral corruption were reported in the weeks before voting in October. Sunday Standard identified key districts where voting was likely to be close and sent teams to report. Their presence was recognised as helping to prevent voter fraud.
ATV Banja Luka, Bosnia & Herzegovina – BiH’s election served as a referendum on the country’s stagnant economy and lack of progress on EU accession. Because of ATV’s reputation for fairness and impartiality, the channel was selected by the leading parties to host a series of important televised debates. Its reporting was found to be "more balanced" than other stations.
Los Tiempos, Bolivia – Los Tiempos created an interactive website for October’s presidential and legislative assembly elections. The site presented election news, campaign history and biographies of all candidates, as well as their platforms on education, health and the economy. Los Tiempos also created an online forum for users to directly ask candidates questions and view their answers.
To evaluate our clients’ impact on the societies in which they operate, we conducted a survey, asking them if they had (1) exposed a corruption scandal or (2) reported on whether government officials had followed through on their promises over the preceding year.
As dramatic events unfolded in Ukraine throughout the year, MDIF clients in both the Eastern and Western parts of the country provided excellent coverage of the political developments. They used a wide range of techniques to bring the events to life and engage with their audiences, including live streaming from Maidan square and the streets of their home cities, Twitter aggregation and crowdsourced photo projects. Several clients faced intimidation and threats, but all remained safe.
Throughout 2014 our team of internal and external consultants provided clients with tailored consulting and training to support their business development. We carried out more than 30 one-on-one consulting visits to clients on issues ranging from operational assistance in launching a TV station to online revenue strategies for news websites. In addition to on-site visits, we also regularly provided remote assistance via conference calls and emails.
We held several group events, including training for sales executives from our Russian clients and a regional roundtable on business planning and sustainability for Latin American clients. We also partnered with Open Society Foundations’ Independent Journalism Program to provide training and sharing best practices of growing online and mobile revenues.
The Impact Dashboard found that in 2013, MDIF clients provided news and information to more than 55 million people in countries where access to free and independent media is under threat, while generating a combined $107.4 million in sales. After five years of working with us, client businesses grew their reach by a median of 33% and their sales by 115%.
It also found that clients, ranging from local news websites to national broadcasters, had a profound impact on their societies through reporting on corruption and government accountability. Across our portfolio, in 2013 87% of clients exposed corruption scandals in their country and 89% held government leaders accountable for their policy promises.
In 2014, we were selected for the ImpactAssets 50 (IA 50), a free, online resource for impact investors and their advisors, for the fourth straight year. The IA 50, also in its fourth year, is the first publicly available database of private debt and equity impact investment fund managers. It includes a range of funds from across the globe, spanning diverse issue areas and investment, with demonstrated and compelling social and environmental impact.
In 2014, MDIF returned more than $625,000 to its investors. Current loan pool funders include:
|Portfolio size (with commitments)||n/a||42,802,819||43,341,156||47,060,161||47,934,160||42,273,677|
|Number of total clients||108||48||51||54||59||66|
|Number of new clients||n/a||4||5||9||6||11|
|Number of countries||38||19||21||25||25||32|
|New investments made||116,693,291||10,012,769||6,486,157||8,845,225||5,328,980||3,749,485|
|New projects funded||317||27||27||25||16||19|
|Interest, dividends & capital gains collected||39,418,657||1,523,179||1,127,059||1,042,177||1,113,386||856,193|
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