He heads up the team that brought South African media consumers their first-ever tablet-only news publication. Since launching iMaverick in 2011, CEO Styli Charalambous has helped secure the online news magazine’s place amongst the most innovative publications in the country, and cornered the market on discerning, influential readers.
A publication ‘for people with brains, money and smart devices’, iMaverick is the premium subscription offering from the publication stable that houses the free online Daily Maverick news site.
iMaverick originally launched as a daily tablet-based magazine, but a year later changed to being a weekly issue.
“We realised our readers are busy, time-pressed people who are bombarded with information and daily news. A weekly iMaverick publication allowed us to filter out the noise and offer them a round-up of the most important and hard-hitting news, analysis and opinions from the week that was,” explains Charalambous.
The fact that content is king has undoubtedly played a central role in attracting a readership that comprises decision-makers in business, government and entrepreneurship.
But there are a number of other factors driving iMaverick’s continued success. One is Charalambous’ ability to identify and embrace the latest shifts in technology.
iMaverick was among the country’s earliest adopters of local app development company Snapplify.com’s publication app, which delivered fast download times and an unrivaled magazine-like reader experience.
“When we launched iMaverick there were a number of international publishing platforms that offered cool effects but these came at the cost of big data downloads. The app we went with allowed readers to download a full, high-quality magazine for only 20MB,” he explains.
When, overnight, FNB became the largest retailer of iPads with their now-famous iPad offer, iMaverick moved fast and entered a partnership in which FNB clients got a three-month subscription to iMaverick along with their new iPad.
At a time when the traditional publishing industry is struggling to evolve in a world where the consumption of news and media is constantly changing, there can be little doubt that iMaverick is in a safe pair of hands.
Innovation is part of iMaverick’s DNA and Charalambous has a number of innovative ideas to drive new revenue streams.
“We still rely heavily on digital advertising but this market, although growing, is still small in South Africa. We have a really influential readership and we’re looking at ways to leverage this — for example we’ve launched a wine club and speaking events. These are going well — there are exciting times ahead,” he explains.
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