“Maan 2.0”: Developing financially sustainability for independent Palestinian local TV content

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“Maan 2.0”: Developing financially sustainability for independent Palestinian local TV content

Palestinian Territory
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We are pioneers in establishing an online local TV-platform, a tool that will bridge fragmented communities in the oPt.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Local TV stations in Palestine risk dying out due to expensive licensing, outdated technology and the market dominance of subsidized regional satellite channels. Palestinian audiences are growing steadily less connected to community-relevant local TV news, when TV remains the most popular medium for information and entertainment. Thedisconnect weakens public democratic debate on local issues, undermines information channels between citizens and power-holders, and shrinks spaces for social, cultural and political expression and exploration. The public know they are being short-changed -- local news online, such as Ma’an News Agency, are popular (1.2 million users in West Bank and Gaza), and offer vital information tools. When internet use is growing rapidly (currently 41%), TV audiences are high (99% own a TV), but local TV channels have declined (just 12% watch them), broadcasters have a responsibility to innovate rapidly to deliver content of public value in an accessible way.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Ma’an 2.0 project aims to revolutionize the Palestinian media landscape through establishing the first independent, interactive online TV station website in the West Bank and Gaza addressing the deteriorated situation of press freedom and disconnection between Palestinians living in Gaza, Jerusalem, the West Bank and abroad. Around the world, citizen media has bloomed proofing its ability to transform communities while at the same time addressing specific community concerns. Our project will found an online video platform for distributing, and sharing on-demand video content via web in isolated local Palestinian communities. Ma’an’s project will enable local media makers access new models of distribution and revenue-generation to increase self-sufficiency and creating new ways for citizens to participate in local democracy and civil society. Citizen media and dialogue is of particular importance given the fragmented living situations of Palestinian communities. Ordinary citizens will benefit from access to high quality local TV news as well as moderated user-generated content, providing a multi-sided perspective of events and news from their community, about issues that are directly relevant to their lives. Local TV stations will benefit from a platform that provides them with a publishing platform which is also a source of revenue through advertising tools for local and national businesses, sale of content to the international industry and potential development of added user services.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Ma'an Network seeks to harness an innovative media landscape that places marginalized groups and voices at the heart of media production in order to cultivate localism, to provide access to high-quality local information to all citizens and communities and to form a space for diverse voices and perspectives. Taking into account the fragmentation of the oPt and the disconnection between people in Gaza and the West Bank, new media technology is a unique opportunity to open doors for citizen participation currently not fostered by big satellite channels predominantly consumed by Palestinian audiences. One example is Ma’ans previous success in creating a culture of action and reaction through its lively comment-section on its news agency website. User-generated news video content particularly in the new project is a natural extension of Ma’ans previous efforts towards citizen participation and the connection of communities and audiences all over the oPt.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Local and regional channels (regional players as Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya both have live streaming embedded in their news page) have found solutions to putting their own content online, either through third party hosters or streaming embedded in their news page. Our idea of aggregating deeply local news content, in conjunction with citizen video reporting, has not been broached yet. Citizens have found youtube a highly useful tool for content sharing, and in partnership with Ma’an as a local news provider, the project will organize and draw complementarity between professional and citizen content on a deeply local level. Looking at the growing market for internet users in the oPt in general, it clearly shows why it is so important to implement this idea right here, right now.
About You
Organization:
Ma'an Network
About You
First Name

Raed

Last Name

Othman

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Ma'an Network

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

Innovation
Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Idea (you're poised to launch)

How long have you been in operation?

Still in idea phase, but looking to launch soon

Social Impact
FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.

Walking through Dheisheh refugee camp, one day I got into inspiring conversations with young Palestinians. Enthused by their excellent knowledge of political circumstances I asked them what their preferred channel of communication to the world would be. “Bringing our news from the camps to everyone who is interested- and this through the internet.” This idea seemed even more important to me, given the fact that in the oPt most local TV channels already got swallowed up by big satellite channels, who have unlimited pots of money, but do not focus on the local aspect of news reporting. “How can local news still be relevant and to the benefit of the region’s most marginalized groups?” I was wondering. The oPt have a high percentage of youth with 70% of the population under the age of 30 while having the highest literacy rate in the Arab region. It is marginalized groups like the people I met in the camp that currently have no national platform to engage in discussion and participate in local news conversations making their voices heard: The project idea was born that day, inspired within the targeted communities themselves - in Dheisheh Refugee Camp near Bethlehem.

Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date

Our project builds upon the organizations expertise in news reporting and management of diverse media projects. The development of an online TV station website is a natural extension to the organizations work and is set to become a pillar of its media offerings in the long term and for a broad audience.
“Ma’an 2.0 website” will have sub-pages with news content from each of the 12 governorates across the West Bank and Gaza. This geographical dispersion gives the organization a unique perspective from which to report breaking news in all these areas. As the only local media organization with a presence in both the West Bank and Gaza, Ma’an Network has an important responsibility to offer trustworthy news to audiences across Palestine, the region and the world. For example through Ma’ans live TV Talk Show “Face to Face” citizens questioned government officials and representatives in eight cities across the West Bank. Individuals participating in the show and other similar programmes were inspired to become role models for entire communities to make their voices heard and demand good governance and responsiveness.

What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?

The values of ethical journalism will be enhanced as will the appreciation for community participation in news reporting. Accountability in all sectors of society (including local decision making processes) will be increased through the production of quality, ethical and relevant news. Public debate on issues considered to be important by local communities is augmented, resulting in citizens playing an active role in the development of their society. Making our project replicable is of paramount importance to us: Showing an example of success through the new platform and ultimately working with regional partners as we grow (based in Israel, Egypt etc) is the ultimate goal. The success of our model can then be adopted by other media organizations facing similar challenges in the region.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Web TV platform is launched online. Participating TV stations prepared and dedicated to managing sub-pages and Ma’an staff at he

Six-Month Tasks
Task 1

Develop suitable IT software for website, testing period and launch of the online TV Platform

Task 2

Preparation of guidelines, requirements, training packs and contracts for local TV Stations

Task 3

Business plan refined by business development coordinator and local coordinators, implementation of marketing of services strate

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Audience and users of the online TV platform grow per month. New revenue-generation tools developed. Profile of website on impor

12-Month Tasks
Task 1

Adapt sustainability model to diversified revenue streams

Task 2

Start to launch weekly news & participation outreach activities online and in the community (including journalists/user collabor

Task 3

Daily development, production & publication of video news content

How many people have been impacted by your project?

Fewer than 100

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

Sustainability
Explain how your company, program, service or product is structured

Non-profit

What barriers have hindered the success of your project to date? How do you plan to overcome these and other challenges as you grow your solution?

Working with innovate web development through this project will overcome technical capacity limitations arising from the difficulties of attracting donor´s support for web-development focused projects.. Over the past three years, internet use and mobile web has taken off in oPt. At the same time, blogging, youth protest and activism, slowly growing political openness and the expansion of independent media particularly through Ma’an programming in TV, online and radio, has generated a huge demand for self-expression and new forums to air issues of public interest. The market in the oPt now finds itself at a uniquely position of readiness for the launch of our project: More people have internet access and want to make their voices heard.

How do you see the information-technology and media sectors shifting over the next decade? How will your solution adapt to and/or drive that changing environment?

There has been a considerable increase in access to the internet over the last 12 months. Access to wireless connection increased from 9% in 2010 to 24% in 2011, while access to ADSL increased from 55% in 2010 to 62% in 2011. Our project wants to bring local TV content online - demonstrating a new generation of web media content can add value -- in terms of democratic depth and financial sustainability of community information channels. The project will combine demand for internet-focused technology with communities’ unmet need for local news).

Failure is not always an option. If your solution fails to gain traction in the next two years, what other applications of the idea could you explore?

Our solution can work on a smaller scale, e.g. instead of expanding the local TV stations to all of the 12 governorates throughout the oPt, we can work in clusters (e.g. southern and northern cluster, Gaza, Ramallah) doing the same project and fostering the same principal idea, but with less participants and partners. If advertising revenues are not as strong as expected due to external factors, the project can still expand its user services in order to generate revenue. One possibility is to provide users of the online TV platform with subscription services to preferred content or work with multimedia messages (MMS services) in order to maximise audience loyalty.

Expand on your selections, explaining how you will sustain funding

Ma’an Network has identified the following key revenue streams for this project:
1.Banner advertising: offering advertising opportunities through the online TV station website.
2.Video ads: offering advertising opportunities to clients directly within the online video broadcasts.
3.Sale of video footage: offering professional quality video content for sale to film makers, journalists and other relevant clients both locally and internationally.

We will also explore and test multimedia innovative user services as a revenue stream once we have a user base to pilot services with. In addition to that Ma’an currently seeks foundation grants in order to launch this project.

Tell us about your partnerships

Ma’an Network is uniquely qualified to implement this transformative project, due to its track record in pioneering financially sustainable independent media in Palestine, and its experience in implementing groundbreaking media projects with key partners such as the European Commission, UNESCO and Search for Common Ground. Ma’an has eight years of experience in generating news content and cooperating with local TV-stations. So far we partner with seven local TV-stations aiming at expanding the range to twelve within the first year of the project.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section?

Ma’an Network is lead by a team of media professionals and project managers. The organization is guided by the Board of Directors and General Assembly, who bring extensive experience and a dedication to furthering trustworthy media in the oPt and help to appoint suitable staff for new projects. The following staff will be recruited to play key roles in the implementation of “Ma’an 2.0 project”: Program Manager, Local Content Moderators, IT Network Manger, Media Asset Database Manager, Business Development Coordinator and Local Business Coordinators.

Changemakers is a collaborative and supportive space. Please specify any community resources you would need to grow and sustain your initiative. Select all that apply

Investment, Human resources or talent, Research or information, Collaboration or networking, Mentorship.

Specify any resources you might offer to support other initiatives. Select all that apply

Marketing or media, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren’t specified within the list

Cooperation with other media organisations, initiatives, journalists and civil society organisations is of paramount importance to us and the success of our new project. Given the fact that substantial scope exists to upscale and replicate the project across the region in the future, the need for cooperating partners is clear. Thinking bigger, Ma’an Network can offer other not-for-profit media organizations located across the Middle East and other regions, professional and targeted training and support, assisting them to develop a successful economic development model which will allow them to generate revenues using new media tools.

Summary
Define your company, program, service or product in 1-2 short sentences

Ma’an 2.0 strengthens the voices of local Palestinians communities through interactive and independent online video news.