Trying something new
It’s easy to be bleak about the state of media, and the last few months haven’t been kind to an industry which was already on its knees, financially speaking. South African publishers have seen layoffs and closures, paycuts and pain since the outbreak of Covid-19 especially. So it’s good to see publications aren’t backing down from the challenge of survival and growth and running experiments in sustainability, no matter how difficult the times.
Last weekend the country’s biggest publisher, News24, introduced its first paywall with a showy virtual event and a strategy of fencing off premium articles for interested readers. It’s as bold move for an organisation whose strength has always been in browser numbers. This weekend, Daily Maverick is bringing the Evening Standard model to the country, giving away a free weekly round-up of its best work in print of all things, looking to hone in on readers and advertisers who are still wedded to the paper experience.
And it doesn’t end there: over at Mail & Guardian there’s a late celebration of its 35th birthday with the publication of archived copies and features to woo subscribers back to the fold.
All very different strategies, all playing to different strengths and all will yield more information about what works and doesn’t work when it comes to media sustainability. The fightback starts here.
(Disclosure – JNY regularly works behind the scenes with Daily Maverick, AO for Mail & Guardian)