EDITORIAL: Dear Maverick Insider, meet Uber
Today, we’re proud to announce a world first, a benefit that will serve all Maverick Insiders and help keep Daily Maverick strong and free.
It was two months after President Zuma had resigned and the #GuptaLeaks wrecking ball was still swinging its way through the highest offices of government and corporate boardrooms. It dominated the conversation at a chance meeting between Daily Maverick CEO, Styli Charalambous, and trader-turned-adman-turned Uber Business Development guru, Justin Spratt. But this quickly turned to how Daily Maverick, as a beacon of independent journalism, was still struggling to find enough support from the business sector. Sustainability is the sword that hangs perilously close over most news media titles these days, and the combined challenges of a being a digital-only publisher focusing on politics and investigations, in a Zuma-led era, while simultaneously battling the dominance of Google and Facebook, were not lost on the former adman. Describing the upcoming plans for Maverick Insider, the two began a series of interactions that culminated in what we can now announce as a hugely innovative way for the readers of Daily Maverick, and the riders of Uber, to support the plight of independent media in these crucial times. As publishers struggled with the Rubik’s Cube-like challenge of sustainability, the industry heralded each new “pivot” as a silver-bulleted saviour. From citizen journalism to chasing scale, “native” advertising and then to video — nothing seemed to work. Finally, at the realisation that the advertising battle had been all but lost to Silicon Valley giants, the pivot to reader revenue gained traction. Otherwise known as the “pivot to reality”, you may recognise it in one of its various guises of paywall subscriptions, donations and memberships on other news sites you visit on a daily basis. Maverick Insider is our effort at building a community of supporters that goes beyond a financial transaction. In designing the details and benefits of Maverick Insider, after consuming mountains of research and donor surveys, we leaned towards benefits that fostered engagement with the Daily Maverick website or team through unique experiences and events. Surveys showed that readers preferred the cost of third-party sweepstake offers to go towards funding journalism that matters. And now, it is only through an ingenious structure proposed by the Uber team that this enticing offer can be made today. For their willingness to innovate and find a way, we salute Uber South Africa. It may not be widely known, but South Africa, thanks mainly to its neglect of public transport systems and the lost decade under Zuma, was the first country outside the United States to have three cities operating the Uber service at launch. They have since grown to five cities across South Africa. So it was unsurprising that a recent survey of 4,000 Daily Maverick readers, showing that 56% of readers regularly used the Uber service, made us think this offer would go down well with supporters of the cause. So here it is:
For every R150 monthly (or annual equivalent) contribution to Maverick Insider, Uber & Daily Maverick will give Insider members R100 back in vouchers to use on Uber rides in South Africa. Every month until the end of October 2019. Current Maverick Insiders included, of course.So now, you can do good and be rewarded. Together with Uber, you can be the driving force behind our sustainability efforts and keeping Daily Maverick free and accessible for those who can’t afford to pay. Your contribution will help our work reach the widest audience in order to achieve the greatest impact. We’ll be able to work on more Marikana stories, more SARS exposés and more leaked files and emails as we plod through the clean-up operation of the lost decade and prevent another from being stillborn. You can make a difference: Sign-up today and join our mission to Defend Truth. DM