Transformative Technology in challenging media landscapes

Thomsons work in captive, closed and repressive media landscapes has long been about making sure we get the best possible idea of what people really need from the free media.

By investing in technology and providing training, we continually find innovative and secure ways for media businesses to understand the topics, the platforms and the long-term agendas that can drive traffic from closed to open societies, keeping communities connected.  

“Whether its in Central or Eastern Europe, Sudan or the MENA region, we’re working with key tech and research partners to get real-time data on how repressive regimes are monitoring social and free media outputs and how innovation and rapid adaptations can help independent media companies keep the content coming whilst also making sure we can advise on sensible editorial choices on topics and security.” says David Quin, Thomson’s Managing Director – Development.    

Deciphering engagement

But how should media companies interpret audience behaviour? An underlying concern among communities in challenging countries is the fear of openly showing support, especially in a digital space. With tensions running high, ‘liking or following certain profiles could invite unwanted scrutiny or repercussions. This fear creates a  digital climate cautiousness and silent observation as opposed to overt endorsement.  

Heres where Thomson’s data-driven methodology comes into play. Through partnerships, we are developing systems that accurately measure engagement without putting users at risk. Our approach factors in passive engagement parameters, such as view counts, time spent on pages, and anonymous interaction data, along with active measures, like shares or comments. This multi-pronged approach prioritises privacy and user safety while shedding light on audience responses and trends. 

Unprecedented insights

In Moldova, a groundbreaking project spearheaded by Thomson has been making waves across the local media landscape.

One of the beneficiaries, a legacy media outlet which found itself struggling to navigate the complexities of accessing information in a restrictive environment, received tailored mentorship on audience engagement strategies and gained access to our measurement dashboards. The unprecedented insights into their audiences behaviours across multiple platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, and YouTube led to a significant transformation in their digital strategy, particularly on Facebook, where they witnessed a staggering 137.9% increase in outreach and a 64.9% rise in new page likes within just 28 days of active mentorship.

The introduction of diverse content formats, such as reels, and a proactive comment moderation strategy, not only enhanced engagement by 44.4% but also skyrocketed video views, with a notable 1224% increase in one-minute views.   

A remarkable turnaround, underscoring the projects efficacy in empowering local media with the tools and knowledge to navigate the digital landscape effectively, ensuring their content reaches a wider audience, contributing to a more informed and engaged community. 

Annual Review 2023


Thomson’s work on audience behaviour is featured in our Annual Review 2023.

Access the full report here.

Explore our projects across the globe