Giving Compass’ Take:
• Media Impact Funders shares the landscape of media funding in 2019, including the opportunities and challenges.
• Are you ready to fill in funding gaps identified in the report? How does media look in your community?
The global media funding ecosystem has evolved dramatically over the last 20 years, largely in response to tectonic shifts in how people around the world consume, produce and share information. Revolutions in information and communication technologies have enabled the rise of new platforms that are competing with legacy media and threatening the business models of established media institutions. Around the globe, philanthropy plays a crucial role in supporting a variety of diverse media-related initiatives, including strengthening media institutions, improving democratic processes, raising awareness and advocacy through public service radio campaigns addressing health issues, ensuring equitable access to communication technologies, and protecting freedom of expression.
While the funding landscape for U.S.-based philanthropies investing in media is well-documented, thanks to reporting requirements and tools such as Foundation Maps for Media Funding, the picture for international philanthropy is far less clear.
It is imperative that the philanthropic community collectively seek to better understand how the media funding landscape is being shaped by a variety of actors and stakeholders around the world. Improving the mechanisms for capturing and analyzing global media funding trends is not only relevant for foundations focused on traditional media issues such as freedom of expression and journalism support, but also for donors working on healthcare, economic security, environmental issues and human rights. As the reach of media extends, it impacts all issues and areas of philanthropic giving.
With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Media Impact Funders has been researching worldwide trends, challenges and opportunities for media funding. The research in this report draws on a variety of sources: data from the media data map through 2015, results from a survey of leading organizations engaged in funding media-related projects around the world, analyses of existing literature and reports, and insights offered by experts across a range of media funding issues.
- Between 2009 and 2015, according to a November search of the media data map, $9.9 billion in media grants were made worldwide.
- Of that, $7.7 billion was awarded to U.S.-based organizations (a number of which work on international projects from U.S. headquarters).
- $8.8 billion was made by U.S.-based funders.
- In 2009, $915 million in media grants were made by funders around the world, jumping to $1.9 billion in 2015.
- In 2009, 9,230 media grants were made to global recipient organizations jumping to 47,928 media grants in 2015.
- In 2009, grants related to Media Content and Platforms totaled approximately $550 million and in 2015, the same category shows $1 billion in grants.
To better understand how global media funders are currently thinking about their grantmaking strategies as well as how the wider media philanthropy space is evolving, in the spring of 2018, Media Impact Funders sent out a short survey to a group of media funders engaged in global grantmaking. In the surveys, we asked about programmatic and geographic priorities; whether media grants were given from specific portfolios; types of support given; and key issues influencing global media grantmaking.
- Media funding is not limited to specific philanthropic portfolios. Investments come from a variety of sources within organizations, from dedicated journalism programs to media projects classified under a diverse range of portfolios including freedom of expression, economic justice and freedom from violence.
With so many pressing issues affecting the media funding space as well as specific regional considerations around grantmaking strategies and priorities, Media Impact Funders turned to experts from the field and asked them to share insights across a range of media issues. Listening to those working on the ground is essential for understanding challenges and opportunities in a global context and these essays offer critical insights that funders need to understand in the global media ecosystem. Topics include current challenges facing African and Indian media ecosystems, along with suggestions for solutions; the need for greater collaboration, experimentation and media development coalition-building to withstand political and social upheaval; the need for greater security awareness and support by funders; and the new ways of thinking about public media.