SembraMedia in partnership with Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD), European Journalism Centre (EJC), Google News Initiative (GNI), International Media Support (IMS), Media and Journalism Research Center (MJRC) announced the launch of Project Oasis media directory followed by the publication of a report with insights about trends, opportunities, and challenges in the European independent digital media ecosystem.
The new European digital media directory and a report compiling the findings of this year-long research are now available. To carry out the project, 34 researchers mapped and studied media from more than 40 countries and produced a directory featuring 540 media profiles. The organisations in this study range in size, from small initiatives with volunteer-led teams, to large, multi-platform new ventures with more than €10 million in annual revenue.
The goal of Project Oasis is to bring greater visibility to digital media organisations in Europe. The project is a study of the sustainability of independent, digital native news organisations in more than 40 European countries. An international team of researchers conducted interviews with key media leaders in over 30 languages, compiling profiles of each outlet in an interactive media directory in English.
“We have been inspired by the innovation, determination, and award-winning news coverage that is being done by digital native media throughout Europe. As we’ve learned from similar research projects in other parts of the world, shining a light on the kinds of media featured in our new Project Oasis directory can help their leaders learn from each other, and gain greater visibility and recognition from organizations that can provide the vital support they need and deserve,” said Janine Warner, co-founder and executive director of SembraMedia.
Key findings of the report include:
- They use social media to target younger audiences, send news updates via Telegram to evade censorship, and train citizen journalists to reach underserved communities.
- More than 85% said society and human rights issues are key areas of their coverage, including topics related to migration, refugees, gender and feminism.
- More than 50% dedicate resources to investigative journalism, and many form alliances to cover stories across borders.
- More than 58% of the media founders featured in this report are women. They are highly collaborative, and most have two or more co-founders.
- Media founded by teams that include both men and women reported the highest revenues, with an average of €509,740 per year.
- Those that invest in business development build more sustainable organisations. Media outlets that have at least one employee dedicated to revenue generation reported average annual revenue six times higher than those without people in these roles: €598,539 compared to €95,629.
- More than half the media in this study are non-profit organisations, and many of the for-profit ventures invest more in journalism than building profits.
- Among non-profit media, the primary revenue sources are grants, individual donations and membership (in that order). Among for-profits, the top sources are: advertising, website subscriptions and grants.
- Revenue diversity is key, but more sources do not correlate to greater success. Developing two to six sources of revenue appears to be optimal for sustainability and independence.
- Digital native media outlets range from small start-ups run by volunteers dedicated to their communities, to highly profitable multi-platform operations that attract millions of page views every month and earn millions of euros a year.
- Although a few of the media in this study are more than 20 years old, more than half started publishing in the last decade. The largest number were founded in 2016.
The key findings of Project Oasis will be translated into more than 30 languages and added to the website at the end of May 2023. The report and media directory do not represent a final, exhaustive list of all of the independent digital media in Europe. Rather, the Project Oasis directory is the first step in ongoing research that the project team plans to continue to develop.
Access the report and directory at www.projectoasiseurope.com