First look at the Media Viability Accelerator

 More than 20 technologists in seven countries have been working since last July to create a platform that supports independent media in making sound business and content decisions that support their long-term financial viability. 

The first version of the MVA was revealed to a small group of media outlets and MVA Partner testers in January 2024. 

The MVA’s report on website performance in Google Search 

The intensive testing period resulted in more than 100 improvements to the platform! Many updates focused on better explaining the platform’s purpose and functionality. During an online feedback meeting, one tester commented: “We felt listened to. I think we are headed in the right direction,” while others agreed.

Many expressed their hopes to incorporate the MVA as a tool in their in-house business development moving forward.

Some of the MVA platform testers give their feedback to the MVA team

Wider rollout begins in April 

In February and March, the platform is in closed beta stage, during which MVA Partner organizations—Free Press Unlimited, GFMD, IREX, SembraMedia and Thomson Reuters Foundation —have each invited up to 10 media outlets to use the platform.

“Our learning really starts now. The goal is to create a platform that independent media teams can use on a weekly basis to achieve business growth. This small group of users has been setting up their MVA accounts so that weekly data collection for their websites and social media channels can start, creating anonymized benchmarks that will be useful for them and others as rollout continues.” 

Jason Lambert, Internews’ Senior Director of Media Business and the MVA’s Head of Product

The MVA is a protected space for independent media, prioritizing safety and privacy. Starting in April, MVA Partners will approve access for any independent media they know and trust, according to the MVA’s trust framework that outlines standardized criteria for admission. 

“Thank you for inviting us to participate in the MVA. We’re excited to share it with our community and appreciate your being so inclusive at this early stage.”

Janine warner, Sembramedia

Media development and support organizations interested in becoming MVA Partners are invited to get in touch with MVA Forward’s Partnerships Manager, Zoe Tipler ([email protected]). Partnership options range from informal coordination to formal agreement, to the possibility of subgrants in some cases. 

What does the platform do? 

Along with project support from USAID, Microsoft has funded and guided the development of the first version of the platform to a minimum viable product, offering the most essential features and functionality, including: 

  • Data visualizations driven by Microsoft’s Power BI platform and Azure technologies. 
  • Automatic weekly tracking data on the reach, engagement and loyalty metrics of websites, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube accounts. 
  • Costs and revenue tracking to create a simple and flexible profit and loss report. 
  • Reports on how well countries enable independent media operation. 
  • Ability to share account access with other users. 
  • Coming soon: Spanish language (April) and more languages later in 2024; MVA Solutions marketplace; Power BI’s AI-driven key influencer reports. 

How does it work? 

The MVA’s design language is deliberately much simpler than dedicated tools for analyzing performance, such as Google Analytics, Meta Business Suite, and YouTube Analytics. The MVA brings together data from these sources and more so that editorial, commercial, management and stakeholder teams have a common understanding of performance, updated each week. All metrics are explained using Power BI’s built-in smart insights, so that those new to performance metrics understand their relevance.  

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