Start-ups, new & alternative media

This is a summary of the research and analysis of new and alternative media in Lebanon. At the bottom of the page, you will find links to key resources.

This resource page is a work in progress. Please get in touch to let us know what is missing using this form.

Background

Lebanon is one of the digital innovation capitals in the Middle East, according to a study by Arabnet.

Challenges

According to a study by the Maharat Foundation half of start-up entrepreneurs, including new media, “do not have consultants to help them develop their business plan and connect them to multiple networks (investors, experts, links with support companies and incubators).”

Opportunities

Work with startups and nascent news organisations to help them to understand the viability and whole ecosystem, to surpass freedom of expression challenges, sustain themselves and be able to reach new and old audiences.

What is being done?

As part of media development coordination efforts, GFMD is

  • Coordinating an ongoing mapping exercise of media assistance in Lebanon

  • A short research project to better understand sustainability and journalism support in Lebanon.

pageREPORT - Sustainability & journalism support in Lebanon

Collating this resource and coordinating future programmes on media viability so that they are not siloed and expertise and knowledge are more widely available is essential.

KEY RESOURCES

Prepared by: Maharat Foundation

The Podcast Initiatives in the Arab World study "sheds light on a number of topics that revolve around podcasts: founders of podcast initiatives, the type of journalism presented, the audience of Arab podcasts, business models (funding) adopted in the initiatives, issues covered, success stories, challenges they face, and recognition of the extent of interest in podcasts, in media faculties in the Arab world as a new form of digital media."

It also explains how podcasts are growing rapidly worldwide, and they are being used as a way to provide diverse media material that meets the specific needs and interests of their audiences. In the Arab world, their importance has been increasing and their content varies between social, cultural, historical and entertainment content. The political content in podcasts, however, is less because of the limited freedom of expression that journalists and citizens suffer from in the Arab region.

This study included 18 podcast networks and programs, with the end goal of analyzing the models of podcast platforms in the Arab world that provide reliable and quality content. It presents the conditions for their inception, the structure hardships they face, as well as the economic models these podcasts have adopted.

Prepared by: DW Akademie

Authored by: Ann Hollifield

This report aims to answer the extent to which the production of high-quality and independent journalism is able to be produced by the media sector while considering financial stability. In order to do this, however, the Media Viability Indicators were applied. This model is centered around the media users having access to quality and reliable information and considers the areas of politics, economics, community, technology, and content. Thus, financial stability is assessed as a pillar of quality journalism. However, the data considered was gathered in 2019 and doesn't take into account more recent developments in the Lebanon media sector, specifically COVID-19's impacts.

Prepared by: Maharat Foundation research team, Internews support team, and URIKA Agency research team for the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The Media and Information Landscape in Lebanon (MILA) report, presented by Internews in collaboration with the Maharat Foundation and the URIKA Agency is a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands' Advancing Diverse Voices in Lebanon project, and responds to the situation of lack of information in Lebanon. It examines the media habits and preferences of the Lebanese people through data collection from audiences and media outlets. These data sets were then reviewed and analysed, thus developing a series of implementable recommendations to enhance the public’s ability to make informed decisions through media literacy. This work is especially relevant today, as the centralization and politicization of media in Lebanon have resulted in the distancing of the general population, particularly women and the youth from traditional media outlets. However, this has also resulted in a newfound interest in alternative media outlets, which have emerged as an alternative over the last few years, especially during the recent protests. Thus, the report focuses on three main respondent groups: information producers (alternative media outlets), information consumers (women and youth in Akkar, North, Beirut. Mount Lebanon, Beqaa, Nabatiyeh, and Baalbek el Hermel), and civil society actors (opinion leaders who enact change in their communities.”

Full summary available in English here: https://coordination.gfmd.info/resources/lit-review/start-ups-new-alternative-media/mila-2021-summary

Lead Researcher: Ghinwa Mikdashi

Field researchers: Hassane Chaaban & Hussein El-Sherif

On behalf of: Arab Resource Center for Popular Arts (Al-JANA), Maharat Foundation and DW Akademie

Author: Dr Ali Rammal

Available at: http://maharatfoundation.org/media/1883/study-on-alternative-media-in-lebanon.pdf

Prepared by: Maharat Foundation and DW Akademie

Author: Dr Ali Rammal

Available in English here: http://www.maharatfoundation.org/media/1515/final-study-start-up_en.pdf

Available in Arabic here: الشركات االعالمية الناشئة في لبنان

Since many Lebanese media companies stopped operating due to shortages of funding sources, new business models were being created and media companies started to shift to online platforms. This report explains the necessity of establishing media entrepreneurship and media startups in Lebanon that depend on innovative content to create a successful and independent business model.

The report discusses the challenges faced by the existing media startups (372 online media websites registered with the National Media Council), such as the inability to generate revenue, difficulties in building a team, expanding, finding partners and costs of setting up. Many startups also struggle to create a qualitative difference between their content and that of existing media companies. The report also identifies content issues as being closely related to language as Arab internet users represent the fastest growing language sector in the world, but there is a large gap between the number of Arabic sites and the number of Arabic-speaking users.

The study identifies the strengths and weaknesses of media startups and the Lebanese environment in which they operate. The report calls upon media startups to offer quality content and provide people with the information they need to act not simply as consumers but also as citizens, to implement strategic innovation and rethink trends and opportunities, and invites academic institutions to stimulate the role of innovation in the educational process to encourage startups in various fields.

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

This resource page is a work in progress. Please get in touch to let us know what is missing using this form.

Last updated