When South Africa went into lockdown in March 2020, our team at the Daily Maverick wanted to find a way to remain connected and engaged with our audience. In April, we launched the first of our Webinars, bringing a fresh platform for live interaction with regular and new readers.
In just under a year, with 82 Webinars successfully hosted, Daily Maverick has broken ground as an industry leader in the medium.
Our Webinars gave us a new way to stay in touch with readers while also providing a platform where they could connect with each other during a time when everyone was in isolation. We brought in experts to speak on various topics — from the coronavirus to business, politics, and corruption — so our audience could engage directly with these high-profile individuals as well as with Daily Maverick journalists.
According to research by On24, a San Francisco-based Webcasting platform, the average attendance of Webinars like these is 260 people. Over the past 11 months, the average attendance for a Daily Maverick Webinar has been 650 — a feat that has put the Webinar team ahead of the global pack when it comes to hosting events of this nature. This has been further bolstered by the high average conversion rate of registrations to attendees (63%), which sits well above the global average of 43%.
The value of live journalism
We know there is a tangible value that live journalism Webinars has brought to our audiences. This has been evident in the high levels of engagement during live discussions, audience feedback, and through the views and reads of the post-Webinar recordings and articles.
As the audience continues to grow, with a current subscriber database of almost 28,500, our all-women Webinar team has curated content that brings expert voices from all sectors to the fore. From professors Shabir Madhi and Glenda Gray to chair of The Elders and former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, and Executive Director of UNAIDS Winnie Byanyima, industry leaders from all sectors have shared their knowledge and insights directly with readers.
Generating revenue through Webinars
Another highlight of the Daily Maverick Webinar series has been supporting the local publishing industry through live launches of books that are sold through the Daily Maverick Shop, with free delivery anywhere in South Africa — another avenue to help support independent journalism.
Collaboration has been integral to the success of the series, with the support of sponsors bringing the Webinars to life. We have received incredible support from both commercial sponsors and foundations, including Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, which has made 25 of our 82 Webinars possible. In total, 60 of the live journalism Webinars have been supported by external sponsors. We believe this high sponsorship rate reflects the value that our partners see in the work we do and in the highly engaged Webinar audience.
We ensure editorial integrity by working with sponsors not represented on the respective panels, leaving audiences with the comfort of knowing that they are receiving information with no conflicts of interest.
We celebrated our 100th live journalism event milestone in May 2021 and continuing to deliver quality, engaging content to our audience.