SA gets first iPad-only newspaper

Independent news website The Daily Maverick plans to launch what it’s calling SA’s first daily newspaper designed specifically for Apple’s iPad tablet computer. It’s a move that could add new spice to the country’s media landscape and put pressure on daily newspapers that appeal to the top end of the market.

“It makes sense that a subscription based, daily iPad newspaper is the next generation of The Daily Maverick,” says publisher and editor Branko Brkic.

The iPad daily, which will be called iMaverick, will cost R395/month, but will come bundled with an iPad 2 in return for readers taking up a 24-month subscription. The first edition will be published on 15 August. No pricing is available yet for people who don’t want an iPad as part of the deal.

“The revolution in the tablet space has enabled us to come up with a new product for delivering daily information. We’re going to do our best to make the space our own,” says Brkic, who founded the now defunct Maverick print magazine.

He says The Daily Maverick will continue to publish its website as a free-to-air offering but expects sign up between 20 000 and 25 000 subscribers to its iPad version within the first 12 months of launch.

“You can think of The Daily Maverick’s relationship to iMaverick as being M-Net Open Time to M-Net paid time in terms of size and content,” Brkic says. “We will extend our editorial team to include some big-name journalists to deliver the daily iPad edition.

Branko Brkic

iMaverick will extend the beats we traditionally cover, and will combine long- and short-form writing so readers can see all the important news at a glance, but also delve deep into the issues they care about.”

iMaverick will have “on average” five times as much content as the website, with between 40 and 50 articles in each edition. It will cover politics, sports, lifestyle and other content areas typically found in print newspapers. “The beauty of this platform is there is no set number of pages to fill, so the number of pages in each issue will depend on the length of the stories.”

Brkic, who says iMaverick will also be available on Android and BlackBerry tablets soon after launch, says the publication will be available for download by 7.30 each morning. “That makes it half a day fresher than a normal newspaper,” he says in a clear dig at his print media rivals.  — Craig Wilson, TechCentral

Share this article

  • Dave

    First up let me say I am a fan of newspaper and magazine apps. I read the British Daily Telegraph and Times regulary and marvel at the quaulity of the features journalism often missing in SA.

    I would love to get my SA newspapers I read on the iPad (Cape Times, M&G and Sunday Times)

    Good luck to these guys but it’s unlikely I will spend this much when I can get BusinessWeek and brritish and US newspapers for so much less)

    Th US based The Daily is not doing well but I suspect that it is just not up to scratch

  • Jack

    Brave move Branko, and the right direction as well, but I fear the costs are too steep…even coming bundled. There are simply too many news sites on the NET where every conceivable tit bit of news, worthy of being read, covering the whole planet, can be found and in many instances, for free.
    News, it seems, can be a huge draw card for other paid services / products…hmmm …is that light coming on yet?

  • http://www.cablemap.info Greg

    The “bundled” iPad2 is R4399. Divide that by 24, and it’s R183/mo. That means if you’re paying R395 for iPad2+iMaverick, it’s R212/month for the newspaper subs. The Daily is $4/month, around R25. Either it’s too early for my brain to work, and my maths is wrong, or that is just silly pricing. Assuming the bundled iMaverick is discounted, we’re looking at R250+ for the standalone version!

    They state it’ll appeal to the “top end of the market” – surely these guys don’t need the overpriced financed iPad2? If you can’t scratch together R4399, you’re not in the top end of the market.

  • Dave

    @Greg It seems I misread it a bit but I agree it still looks a little high.
    I have an Ipad 2 and my wife has an iPad 1 so we are sorted. I wonder what the annual subscription is w/o the iPad?

    I do have some questions for them which I will write to them about
    a) In a multiple iPad family can one download a copy to each iPad? (assuming they both use the same AppleID) I asume so. I can do it for the other Apple stuff we download.

    Practically a couple shares the morning newspaper

    b) A bigger one for me is the download available time. 7:30 is too late for many people like me with our routines. Up early, get kids ready. Breakfast with the newspaper.

    With iOS 5 of course the download can be automatic

    I will address my questions directly to them but of course they are free to answer here

  • Anzhu

    I have an iPad2 and I love the Daily Maverick. But to be honest there is already more content on the site than I can consume on a daily basis, so I am not sure I would be prepared to pay a monthly fee to get more than I have time to read.

    It would be great to get the site in an app format (I love the Pulse, News24, Flipboard, NY Times etc. apps), but if I have to pay I will probably just use Safari on the iPad to view the free site. I suppose it all depends on the price. If Greg’s calculations are correct it sounds like it is going to be expensive.

    But then I suppose that one cannot expect quality content for free for ever.

  • http://www.sake24.com Ryk

    Good luck Branko. I think the iPad 2 bundle is an excellent idea.

  • Jason

    I think it’s a novel approach to monetizing their content but there are some serious risks here.

    1. Andrew, you haven’t factored in the number of subscribers who
    will stop paying somewhere along the line. Whether it’s no funds
    available or the person move or gets a new credit card and never
    updates their info, anything offered on credit needs a lot of thought
    around the numbers behind recovering bad debts and writing bad debts
    off.

    2. Who are these 20,000 people? If they’re he affluent forward
    thinkers The Daily Maverick is targeting here, wouldn’t they already
    have an iPad? And if not, maybe they don’t want one. And if they do
    want one, they can afford to buy one at R6k cash/card, not R9k over two
    years via subscription. And if only 1600 foward thinking switched on
    types ‘like’ Daily Maverick’s Facebook page, where are these other
    19,000 people?

    3. What happens if only 4 people sign up by the time the first issue
    comes out in August? Is there sufficient funding to make this a
    sustainable venture? Because increased content costs run monthly
    whether there are 18 subscribers or 18,000.

    It can work but it’s not going to be an overnight profit and
    investors need to have deep enough pockets to outlast the risks. Though
    depending on the saturation point, it may just not add up the way you
    have it above.
     

Why TechCentral?

We know that as a prospective advertiser, you are spoilt for choice. Our job is to demonstrate why TechCentral delivers the best return for your advertising spend.

TechCentral is South Africa’s online technology news leader. We don’t say that lightly. We believe we produce the country’s best and most insightful online tech news aimed at industry professionals and those interested in the fast-changing world of technology.

We provide news, reviews and comment, without fear or favour, that is of direct relevance to our fast-expanding audience. Proportionately, we provide the largest local audience of all technology-focused online publishers.

We do not constantly regurgitate press releases to draw in search engine traffic — we believe websites that do so are doing their readers and advertisers a disservice. Nor do we sell “editorial features”, offer advertising “press offices” or rely on online bulletin-board forums of questionable value to advertisers to bolster our traffic.

TechCentral, which is edited and written by award-winning South African journalists, cares about delivering top-quality content to draw in the business and consumer readers that are of most interest to technology advertisers.

We’d like the opportunity to demonstrate the value of directing a portion of your advertising budget to TechCentral, whether your company is in the technology field or not. Numerous opportunities exist for companies interested in reaching our audience of key decision-makers in South Africa’s dynamic information and communications technology sector. We offer packages that will deliver among the best returns on investment available in the online technology news space.

For more information about advertising opportunities, and how your organisation can benefit by publicising itself on TechCentral, please call us on 011-792-0449 during office hours. Or send us an e-mail and ask for our latest rate card and brochure.