The Media Viability Accelerator (MVA), a platform to support independent media worldwide, has entered a new phase with award of the three-year, $15 million USAID MVA Forward project in October.
Launched at the 2023 Summit for Democracy and currently under rapid development in a pilot phase, the MVA Forward program is funded by USAID and Microsoft and implemented by Internews and its partners. The public-private partnership is an investment in preserving independent media so that citizens can hold power to account, make informed decisions, and bolster democracy.
With technology build-out supported by Microsoft under its Democracy Forward Initiative, the MVA is a web-based platform that will help media outlets compete for audiences and revenues by accessing and tracking business, market, and audience data in their own markets, as well as by providing opportunities to learn from peers and tap into financial and technical support – both locally and globally.
The online tool is building toward launch in early 2024. The broader MVA Forward project will complement the technology with small grants targeted to independent media outlets addressing financial sustainability challenges and a Flexible Response Fund designed to address emergent needs.
More than 1000 journalists, editors, content producers, and other media makers have already registered interest in the MVA and hundreds have participated in surveys, consultations, and user experience testing with Internews and Microsoft to develop the MVA platform.
Joining Internews, key partners organizations in the pilot phase including Free Press for Eastern Europe, Free Press Unlimited, the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD), IREX, SembraMedia, and the Thomson Reuters Foundation have helped in outreach and development. Under the new project, they will continue to help guide the MVA and expand its reach and relevance, along with additional partners that join along the way.