Apple green lights iMaverick app
Duncan Alfreds, News24
Cape Town - Apple has approved the iMaverick app, clearing the way for the iPad newspaper to go live, the managing director said.
"We've been kind of battling for the last few months with Apple to get the app approved and we got it last night," Styli Charalambous, managing director of Daily Maverick and iMaverick, told News24.
iMaverick made headlines in South Africa when it announced an iPad newspaper app that would differentiate itself by publishing exclusively online.
The app was slated to launch on August 15, but technical delays with Apple pushed back the date until it was finally approved on Tuesday.
In the interim, iMaverick was published to PDF (Adobe's Portable Document Format) which allowed users to download the content to computers.
"I'm not going to give you numbers just yet and I'll tell you why: We wanted to launch on the 15th of August and what we did was we started publishing to PDF," Charalambous said.
The first PDF edition launched on August 18, but this is free to consumers.
According to Charalambous, the free editions helped to build the brand, but it is unclear how many of the users who downloaded the free trial will be convinced to subscribe to the newspaper.
"That's been quite well received. We've had tens of thousands of downloads of those free editions which has been great because it's helped us establish the brand."
iMaverick is offered via an iPad app where users pay a subscription rate of R395 per month over two years that includes the tablet computer, or a monthly rate of R87.
The business model calls for about 8 000 subscribers for the venture to remain viable and the free editions are part of the marketing strategy to attract users.
"We also need to give people that opportunity to say: 'Here you go, here's the app for a week,' and we hopefully want to convert a lot of those guys. That was a big part of our marketing plan.
"There's been over a thousand applications on the iPad - for the bundled offering on the iPad. There's no relation between the Facebook likes and subscribers," said Charalambous.
The 23 staff members produce about 100 pages of the iMaverick a day, but Charalambous said the app would include several pictures and interactive elements that would aide navigation.
"We're averaging about 100 pages a day, but you'll see the 23 people - that's the range of content we produce on a daily basis. We're getting quite a lot of mileage out of our guys."
The brand is positioned as bullish and the tagline hints at the brand's approach to news content.
"'For people with brains and money' is about who our target market is. It's about the fact that iMaverick is a premium product; a subscription product," Charalambous said.
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