Annual Report 2018


Digital East

Two years of action with Lebanon’s French-language media

Calendrier : September 2016 – August 2018 / Budget global : €440,000

The use of online media is growing rapidly in Lebanon and it is essential for the written press to develop their digital output in order to maintain the link with their readership. Between 2016 and 2018, Orient numérique (Digital East) supported both the oldest and the most recent French-language press group in Lebanon: l’Orient-Le-Jour and Planet News Business. When the project came to an end, CFI outsourced the project evaluation to an independent firm.

The challenge of the project lay in stabilising the turnover of l’Orient-Le-Jour, in particular by virtue of increasing its use of digital technology, and in the creation of a new bilingual (French-Arabic) editorial digital offering, YomKom (Planet News Business), intended for 15- to 18-year-olds. For these two press groups, the focus on expanding digital output appeared entirely appropriate, given the weak presence of most Lebanese French-language media outlets on the Internet, the potential for monetisation of content, and the widening of the readership.

Most of the project objectives achieved

The conclusions of the evaluation identified that most of the objectives of the project were achieved. For l’Orient-Le-Jour, thanks to the mobilisation of around 50 employees (managers, chief editors, journalists, the marketing and communication team), 80% of whom were women, significant results emerged before the project had even entered the final months of implementation: 30% increase in paper subscriptions, 16% increase in online subscriptions and 40% increase in traffic on the website. For its part, YomKom was set up and its launch, during the Beirut Francophone Book Fair at the end of 2018, resulted in 3,500 French- and Arabic-speaking adolescents subscribing.

We are starting from nothing to set up this digital output, which will enable this young audience to understand the news, and to be protected against disinformation and hate speech”
Lamia Rassi, CEO of YomKom

By adopting a “tailor-made” approach and listening to the beneficiaries, Digital East has encouraged the media outlets to think about their online output and the links to be created between online and print formats. According to the two media outlets, the project provided “a new, more modern, more open, and more dynamic vision of the media”. In spite of the challenges and difficulties faced, they have demonstrated adaptability, continuing to move in the right direction, with regard to the initial objectives.

Webdoc produced by the Libanese media L’Orient-Le Jour, as part of the project Digital East:

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