On 8 December, 2020 Internews Georgia hosted online End Meeting of „Audience Understanding and Digital Support (AUDS)” third year Project implemented with the support of Internews and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) as a four year initiative to address the information needs of specific communities and use innovative solutions to improve audience outreach, quality of content, and financial sustainability.
The event was convened to summarize project achievements, challenges and lessons learned and was attended by the representatives of the donor organization, project partners, consultants and selection jury members.
Hatia Jinjikhadze (Open Society Georgia Foundation) made brief review of the current media environment and underlined two major challenges faced by Georgian media in 2020: COVID-19 and Parliamentary Elections, the background which on the one hand has prompted media outlets to quickly adopt to new reality and keep audience informed about key pandemic issues, while on the other hand has led to media polarization, lately expressed in higher escalation.
Project partners (Indigo Foundation, Radio Ambrolauris Khma, TV Borjomi, TV Gurjaani, TV 25 and 9th Channel) shared with the audience the outcomes of the project and progress reached from intensive onsite and online consultancies: “The project helped us to produce the stories with the commercial potential and to substantially increase our audience” – Nata Dzvelishvili (Ïndigo Foundation); “The consultancies provided by the project were very useful for us, the only media outlet in the region; We acquired knowledge on multiple functions of web and social media and produced audience attractive stories, of which some had direct impact on local population” – Nino Sokhadze (Radio “Ambrolauris Khma”); “The consultants totally changed our approaches and ways of thinking in terms of content production and audience attraction” – Nino Samniashvili (“Gurjaani TV”), “Participation in the project was perfect opportunity for our media outlet to launch “Women Blog” and produce stories on gender sensitive issues, as well enrich our skills in content marketing” – Marina Kupatadze (“Borjomi TV”);
The event ended with the summary of project impact on partner media outlets. It was mentioned that the media organizations have acquired watchdog role and educational functions. They have come closer to the audiences and have undergone structural changes for monetization and content marketing purposes. The role of regional media has considerably increased during the pandemic.