An independent voice in South African journalism
Daily Maverick has earned a reputation as one of the most fiercely independent publishers in South Africa. Since its founding in 2009, the online publisher has broken some of the biggest investigative stories in the country’s recent history.
Today Daily Maverick’s staunch commitment to independent public service journalism is supported by a hybrid revenue model that relies on funding from philanthropic grants, advertising, and reader support, which includes a membership program.
But stability was hard won. Founders Branko Brkic and Styli Charalambous insisted the site remain free, knowing a paywall would price out much of their audience. They settled on the hybrid model, with memberships a key support. To make it work, Charalambous knew they had to get more from their data.
A unified view of the reader
Like many small and medium-sized publishers, Daily Maverick had access to a lot of information about how readers interacted with its site — where they came from, what they clicked on, and where they spent more or less time.
“We had all these different systems, from newsletters to the website, that were pushing out news and information to readers,” says Charalambous, who serves as CEO and publisher, “but the data from those systems was stuck in different silos.”
With support from a 2020 Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge grant, Daily Maverick created RevEngine, a software platform that brings key data from disparate systems — like email service providers, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, content management systems (CMS), and browsing activities — into one central data repository, creating a unified view of the reader.
“We get a better understanding of our most engaged readers and better serve them by putting the right content in front of them, whether that's a news article, newsletter, or membership information,” says Charalambous.