During June 19-23, 2018 sixteen participants from Egypt, Kurdistan Region Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Morocco completed their media management training in Berlin, as part of Digital Media Viability lab, which is an initiative by Maharat Foundation supported by DW Akademie. Participants went through an extensive training from January to May 2018 and received their certificates on June 20, 2018, indicating they successfully fulfilled all the modules of the training.
The trainees were divided into 4 teams, each of which had an innovative and different media project. They were asked to develop their business strategy by outlining several points including the mission statement, SWOT analysis, business strategy, marketing strategy, market shares of the project and its competitors, goals and objectives, KPIs of the project, business model, editorial line, job descriptions, media’s sweet spot and content draft, website structure, social media strategy, description of stakeholders, brand positioning statement, product description, possible clients, advertising strategy, and monetization model.
The first team presented “Mosaic Radio”, a station that provides news and programs in Arabic that take on ethnic minorities in the Arab region in order to raise awareness and increase people’s tolerance and sense of coexistence. Their goal is “to introduce various cultures including minorities and marginalized communities to listeners in the Middle East”. Mosaic will present 3 news bulletin per day, 4 daily programs, 3 weekly programs, 2-3 special reports per day, most of which will be produced with a comic tone to attract the younger generation. As for the products/services they will be providing newsletter subscriptions, ads placements, sponsored contents, studio rental, training courses, audio books, and managing cultural events. The team insisted on having accuracy, transparency and credibility as their business model’s founding principles.
The second team presented Al-Ma3mal (The Factory) that aims at producing articles about science and technologies in Arabic, targeting the Arab population. Al Ma3mal’s purpose is to increase the accessibility if science and tech info to an Arab audience by converting the available information to a more simplified and accessible language. Their mission statement says: “we inform the Arab youth about Technology and Science with credible, inspiring, and friendly stories that matter to them“. The media platform will package the information in a unique way by converting dry content to DIY tutorials and accessible music videos and pictures; and will be publishing 3 updates per day in the form of infographics, explainer, animation, quiz, gif, comics and video. The business will also organize tech festivals, robotic contests, and summer camps aimed at increasing tech and science awareness. One of the media business’s goals is to become one of the top three Arabic science and technology websites in 3 years.
The third team presented “Hala Shabab TV”, a web TV on YouTube targeting Arab youth with a mission to “inspire Arab youth with social interactive and engaging content”. Hala Shabab TV is politically independent and will daily broadcast and upload videos with a mission to provide a platform on which the youth can freely express themselves and create interactive content. The videos will be produced by young Arab citizens and journalists using serious or comic tones. The TV station will also provide native advertising, sponsorship, consulting and training services, in addition to their own events. Hala Shabab TV aims at becoming one of the top three YouTube channels in the MENA region by focusing “on the culture of living instead if the culture of death”.
The fourth team presented “Laziz Times”, a table mat distributed to various restaurants on which news and entertainment stories would be printed weakly. The content will also be present online via an online application. The stories will have a “funny, original, conversational and easy to digest,” tonality and will be produced in various formats including short texts, visuals, timelines, info graphics, comics, videos, as well as long reads. Their mission statement, which perfectly embodies their idea, says that “we serve informative and entertaining content, for people who taste life”. Their goal is to distribute their content via the majority of big food and cafe chains in the Arab World by signing contracts with 3 major players in the Arab hospitality sector within 12 months. With this initiative, Laziz Times will create a new innovative type of market for content distribution and consumption.
This media management training was the first one to be hosted by DMV lab. The innovative digital prototypes that were showcased in Berlin in the final week of the training highlighted the success of the program and definitely showed that the participants had learned a lot from modules and were capable of designing and implementing their own media business.
The goal of this initiative is “to provide concrete solutions to the problems media institutions are facing in the digital age in terms of viability […] to support innovation to help develop future-ready business models that can create and distribute quality content”.
The training was divided into 4 modules that respectively focused on how to develop a media business strategy, how to create, promote and sell content, how to earn money in non-standard ways and how to economize it, and how to create an effective team in contemporary media. Each module consisted of 4 weeks of e-learning during which the participants would learn 85% of the skills, preceded by 4 days of face to face training. These skills are necessary to develop a good understanding of journalistic media and to successfully run a media business. In fact, before receiving their certificates, the participants were asked to present their media projects through which they applied all the skills they had gained during the training.
Following the success of the training, the DMV lab will organize another media management training that is due to start in January 2019.