MDIF has a 22-year track record of investing in independent media that provide the news, information and debate that people need to build free, thriving societies around the world. We provide affordable debt and equity supported by tailored technical assistance to help independent media develop sustainable businesses, strong enough to hold governments to account, expose corruption, promote transparency and compete with state and oligarch media.
Since 1996, MDIF has invested in 113 independent media businesses in 39 countries with a history of media oppression, providing $169.2 million in financing, including $147.8 million in loans and equity investments, $20.8 million in technical assistance and TA grants and $0.6 million through Digital Kiosk, the secure payment service for independent media.
With a loss rate of 10.8% of the total invested, MDIF has received back over $70.4 million in recovered principal invested, while earning more than $41.5 million in interest, dividends and capital gains, and returning over $45.9 million to investors.
of total financing
over 22 years
in 39 countries
|Assets Under Management||n/a||$47.9m||$42.2m||$39.9m||$67.0m||$71.7m|
|Number of total clients||113||59||66||53||49||48|
|Number of new clients||n/a||6||11||—||2||4|
|Number of countries||39||25||32||28||28||26|
|New investments made||$147.8m||$5.3m||$3.3m||$1.5m||$3.8m¹||$3.7m|
|Interest, dividends & capital gains collected||$41.5m||$1.1m||$856K||$576K||$1.2m||$917K|
|Returned to investors||$45.9m||$7.0m||$1.6m||$3.6m||$6.4m||$9.1m|
¹Taking account of the MDIF Media Partners investment in Agora, which is managed by MDIF, in total we deployed well over $20 million in capital in 2016, a new high-water mark for MDIF.
We ended December 31, 2017 with over $71.7 million total Assets Under Management, invested in 48 companies in 26 countries. Year on year, our total Assets Under Management increased by 6.9% compared to 2016 and up 79.2% from 2015.
MDIF operates its investments through a fund structure that in 2017 encompassed MDIF General Fund (MDIF GF), MDIF Media Finance I (MMF I, loan fund), MDIF Media Partners (MP, investing in Polish media company Agora SA), and a private equity fund of MDIF.
In 2017, MIDF provided $5.6 million in media financing, extending $3.7 million in loans and equity and $1.9 million in technical assistance and TA grants. We approved 11 investments for 10 companies across 8 countries, welcoming 4 new clients to our portfolio.
We also returned $9.1 million to investors, a 42.4% increase over 2016. Principal recovered decreased by 35.0% to $1.9 million, with several clients operating in challenging economic environments. Collections of interest, dividends and capital gains totaled $917,464. We also wrote off two investments totaling $1 million in two companies.
in 48 companies
investments in 2017
As of December 2017, MDIF held debt and equity investments in companies in 26 countries. The largest share of our investments — 53.9% — was in South East and Eastern Europe, followed by Africa at 19.0% and Asia at 11.0%. In 2017, we did not extend our operations to any new country, although we are examining potential investments in several new locations.
Botswana, Lesotho, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal
Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela
SOUTHEAST AND EASTERN EUROPE
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia
Outlets with global reach based in the Netherlands and USA
At the end of 2017, 91.8% of MDIF’s outstanding investments were in countries where the media environment is partly free or not free — that is those categorized as “problematic,” and “bad” and “very bad” by The World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders. Additionally, 53.4% of our investments were in countries struggling with serious corruption problems, that is, those that scored lower than 50 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.
The chart on the right presents portfolio allocations by country by RWB’s World Press Freedom Index and by TI’s Corruption Perceptions Index, showing a concentration of MDIF investments in countries with restrained press freedom and a reputation for corruption. The further an investment is to the right, the less free the country, and the lower on the chart, the more corrupt the country is perceived to be. The size of the circle corresponds to the size of the investment.
For MDIF, our clients and independent media globally, 2017 was another turbulent period. Amid widespread threats to journalists and media outlets, global press freedom recorded a troubling decline, as measured by The World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders. In fact, nearly a third of countries MDIF had investments in 2017 dipped in their press freedom index in comparison to 2016. Throughout the year, our clients continued to face political pressure and other forms of intimidation. Examples include:
In Malaysia, the Court of Appeal ordered news site Malaysiakini to pay 350,000 ringgit (approximately US$88,000) in damages and costs to an Australian mining company. In what appeared to be a political move ahead of the general election scheduled for 2018, the appeal court overturned a finding that the reporting on mining contamination was motivated by public interest. A Malaysiakini appeal to readers raised the full libel award in just 12 days.
In Myanmar, three reporters from two news businesses taking part in our Myanmar Media Program spent more than two months in jail. Democratic Voice of Burma reporters Aye Nai and Pyae Phone Naing, and Lawi Weng of The Irrawaddy magazine were arrested by the military in northern Shan State after reporting on a drugs-burning ceremony in an area controlled by the Ta’ang National Liberation Army. In September the military dropped the charges and the journalists were released.
Despite the challenges facing independent media, our clients carried out their journalistic activity with continued ambition and skill, receiving awards for their reporting, professionalism and courage. Half of MDIF-supported media organizations surveyed as a part of our annual questionnaire reported receiving awards in 2017. Out of those presented with prizes, 73% were recognized with national awards, 20% with local awards and 20% with international awards.
Reporters Without Borders’ Journalist of the Year
Oxfam Novib/PEN Freedom
of Expression Award
Mail & Guardian, South Africa
impactAfrica Best Community Impact Award
EU Award for Investigative Journalism
for business journalism
Zimbabwe Digital Award
for Best News Website
IMA Awards for Best Weekend
& Morning Formats
El Mostrador, Chile
Lenka Franulic Women’s
Throughout 2017, we continued to expand our program of technical assistance under Media Advisory Services (MAS). Across all our funds, MAS provided clients with tailored consulting and training, adjusted to their specific needs and challenges they face.
Over the year, we deployed $1.9 million in technical assistance, an increase of 35.4% compared to 2016. We provided 35 grants and carried out dozens of capacity building activities, including 12 one-on-one consultant visits. We also organized 5 group events, including a hackathon and 4 workshops covering advertising sales, product management and video production. We also supported travel and other related costs for clients participating in several media sector conferences and relevant outside events. As a result, a total of 155 media workers attended training events with MDIF support over the year.
MAS also develops resources for media managers designed to help clients and applicants for funding understand some of the key topics in digital news management. In 2017, we launched a series of practical guides, releasing 3 new publications covering product management, paywall implementation and data journalism.
of technical assistance
and grants in 2017
media workers trained
at events in 2017
We teamed up with OSF-South Africa and Omidyar Network to launch SAMIP – a $4 million, 3-year initiative that seeks to accelerate digital media innovation among independent media organisations in South Africa. In 2017, SAMIP held its first Innovation Challenge to identify qualifying projects that engage and inform local communities and are passionate about trying new approaches to providing news and information. Out of more than 200 organisations, teams and individuals who submitted their ideas, projects and businesses, 9 were selected. The finalists include media organisations, startups and non-profits that seek to tackle a number of important issues in the South African media landscape, from community radios and citizen journalism platforms to multimedia digital publishing platforms. The program will provide funding and capacity building to organisations selected to participate.
$4m accelerator program
9 media organisations supported
MMP continued to provide intensive capacity building throughout 2017, and in December entered its third year. Funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the $2.4 million, 3-year program is designed to strengthen the independent news sector in Myanmar through long-term, intensive, tailored technical assistance. It supports 13 independent Myanmar media, including TV, online and print national outlets, as well as ethnic and regional media organisations. While the focus and amount of capacity building is different for each company, in 2017 we deployed a mix of in-house expertise and mentor-coaches from Southeast Asia offering long-term one-on-one coaching, short-term specialist technical assistance consultancies, thematic workshops, peer-to-peer visits, regional and international event participation and access to a small grants program.
$2.4m capacity building program
13 media organisations supported
More than 77 million people get their news from MDIF clients
Read the Impact Dashboard 2017, our annual impact analysis here.
We welcomed two new members to our Board of Directors: Tony Haile, founder of Chartbeat, and Nani Jansen Reventlow, human rights lawyer.
For the seventh consecutive year, MDIF was selected for the Impact Assets 50 (IA 50), a listing of top impact investment fund managers. Read more here.
Myanmar Media Program enters third year
Read more on the initiative here.
South Africa Media Innovation Program launched
More on SAMIP, our joint initiative with OSF and Omidyar Network to support news innovation in South Africa here.
Launch of #whatmediasupto?, a weekly roundup of MDIF and client news on Twitter. See the most important tweets from the past year here.
MDIF again independently confirmed as carbon neutral in 2017.
Media Advisory Services publish first guide in series for media managers
Find more resources here.
Use the left and right arrow keys to navigate the presentation or go to menu.