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Daily Maverick publisher and CEO Styli Charalambous explains their recent pivot to a reader revenue model, and how you can further support their independent investigative journalism with the added bonus of free Uber trips.
Think ‘quality local independent publisher’ and chances are, the Daily Maverick is high up on your list.
But it’s certainly not an easy position to maintain, as they face the combined challenges of being a digital-only publisher focusing on public interest journalism often involving sticky politics and lengthy investigations, while simultaneously battling the digital dominance of Google and Facebook.
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That struggle to remain sustainable is why the Daily Maverick team has launched Maverick Insider.
While their ‘pivot to reader revenue’ is there to primarily support quality, independent journalism financially and keep it accessible for all readers, the benefit is two-fold as it’s also about building a community with the Daily Maverick loyal readers who want to share in unique experiences.
The real reader benefit
The best part is that they’re by no means adding a paywall or standard donation request, as seen on other online news sources.
Instead, contributions from Maverick Insiders will keep the Daily Maverick free and accessible for those who can’t afford to pay, in helping their work reach the widest audience in order to achieve the greatest impact.
Because the Daily Maverick team strongly believes that people who can’t afford to pay should still need, and deserve, to have full access to the truth, every day. That’s why, unlike other models of reader support, they won’t simply block access to articles if you don’t register. Instead, they will offer additional benefits to those who do pay.
For example, Insiders get access to members-only events like Q&A sessions with their top team and discounts on tickets for The Gathering, also receive a dedicated bi-weekly newsletter and will soon also have the benefit of specific ‘members-only’ website features, like the ability to comment on articles – not just read the comments – and to ultimately go ad-free on the website.
And that’s proving a strong selling point, as Daily Maverick CEO Styli Charalambous confirms that Maverick Insider uptake has been “huge”, with 3,500 signups for either a recurring or once-off contribution of varying amounts since officially launching in August.
Good journalism as a public service
Charalambous says of Maverick Insider:
We expect it to overtake advertising revenue by 2020, which would bring us in line with large publishers like NYT, The Guardian and Washington Post, who now get more revenue from readers than from advertisers.
Certainly impressive, but the best part is that Maverick Insider membership is voluntary, and it’s your call how much you contribute – it takes just R75pm to join.
And in a move that’s being called a first in adding third-party value to readers, if you sign up at R150pm or the annual equivalent, whether as a new or existing member, the Daily Maverick team will also send you R100 in Uber coupons each month, until 31 October 2019.
South Africa is a poor country – it will become even poorer if its people are not well informed. Sometimes our work can be a scary, lonely place. Last year really brought that home, when we used to run drills expecting the Hawks to raid our offices or when a suspicious car crash happened. It takes a special kind of crazy to run towards the fire when everyone is running the other way. We’re committed to that task. We just can’t do it alone and we don’t want to do it alone – we need you to join us for this incredible adventure called Daily Maverick.
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Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.
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