Perfect Pitch 2: Battle of the Revenue Streams

“There is no general model for independent newspapers to replace the one the Internet broke”

Clay Shirky

After the successful debut of the South Africa Media Innovation Program’s (SAMIP) pitch battle at this year’s Duke Menell Media Exchange, SAMIP is pleased to announce the second run of Perfect Pitch at Code for Africa’s Media Indaba Extra.

This time the theme is around revenue streams and business models.

In these trying times media companies are struggling with shrinking revenue streams and outdated business models. In the past couple of months the local industry has seen retrenchments being announced at the SABC, Independent Media, both coming off the heels of Tiso Blackstar Group closing down the print edition of The Times and laying off staff.  

SAMIP and Code for Africa are calling on entrepreneurs, journalists and media owners with innovative revenue generating projects, organisations and startups to come pitch at Perfect Pitch 2.

The pitching session will take place the day before Media Indaba Extra, 27 November, at Code for Africa’s offices in Cape Town. The selected participants will get a chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges, including SAMIP team members and Burn Media founder Matthew Buckland.  

In order to be eligible your entry needs to be generating revenue or be an innovative business model, and it should be in operation for at least the last six months. While concepts are awesome, they won’t be eligible for entry.

So hurry up and enter by filling in this form.

 

An Octsober month for SAMIP

Octsober is one of those things that you hear about and you wonder what is the point. The premise is simple: abstain from drinking any alcohol throughout the month of October as a detox from most the year as we head into the festive season. It’s a sobering experience and so was the past month for the South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) as we added more organizations to our cohort and attended a slew of media events.

New additions

The highlight of the past month was the addition of The Daily Vox and Daily Maverick to our cohort of participants after we concluded our general entry recruitment drive. The two publications join our growing family that began with nine grantees that were chosen through the Innovation Challenge last year.

Daily Maverick is an independent online publication focusing on news analysis and investigative journalism. The publication’s investigative arm (Scorpio) was famously part of the team that reported on the #GuptaLeaks. Earlier this year they were lauded for that work by the South African National Editors’ Forum who awarded them, along with reporters from amaBhungane and News24, the Nat Nakasa Journalism Award.

The publication was selected for entry into SAMIP for its membership plan: Maverick Insider. Daily Maverick publisher and CEO Styli Charalambous says they hope to expand the publication’s revenue mix with Maverick Insider which was revealed at The Gathering in August.

“We are pleased to be working with SAMIP in our efforts to develop a sustainable membership plan,” says Charalambous. “In a time when most revenue streams have dried up we believe Maverick Insider is an innovative way of generating revenue whilst allowing non-paying readers to access our content for free.”

The Daily Vox is an independent media organisation that seeks to put the young citizen at the centre of news. The publication focuses on telling stories that matter to South Africans, especially the young and hopeful.

They gained prominence with the #FeesMustFall protests that spread across university campuses in 2016. With SAMIP’s assistance they are developing new and innovative strategies to become sustainable and profitable that will serve as a model that can be replicated by independent media in South Africa.

Client News

In the past month our grantees have produced some great examples of gender-focused journalism. The Daily Vox wrote an article which highlighted how the South African justice system continues to fail rape victims and survivors in South Africa, and Hashtag Our SA produced a video showing how menstrual cups can not only save women money but also be helpful to the environment.

Fun-ancial newsletter Digest teamed up with local comedian DevonDidIt to produce a series of hilarious videos highlighting the missing gaps in our knowledge of the South African financial sector.

 

Events

In October South Africa commemorated #BlackWednesday. Events were held across South Africa in remembrance of 19 October 1977 when 18 black consciousness organisations and mainly black newspapers were banned in South Africa.

During the week of Black Wednesday Media Monitoring Africa holds their annual Media Freedom Week events which include panel discussions on key issues in the local media industry. The discussions this year included a look at the state of the national broadcaster, the SABC, and the potential threat of bots, disinformation and misinformation in next year’s election.

SAMIP was also at the African Investigative Journalism Conference that took place at the University of Witwatersrand. SAMIP advisory committee member and MDIF deputy-CEO Mohamed Nanabhay moderated a discussion on sustainability in journalism, whilst SAMIP program officer Siyabonga Africa taught a workshop on Python programming for journalists.

With 2018 heading into its final lap the program will be looking to add more projects and organizations to our cohort and we are going through all the enquiries being made to our website.

Until next month.

 

OSF and JamLab offer great opportunities for SA journos

The South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) doesn’t work in a vacuum. We have at times partnered with similar organizations in the pursuit of promoting innovation in journalism in South Africa. In that regard both the Open Society Foundation’s (OSF) Innovation in Journalism program and the Journalism Media Lab (JamLab) have announced two exciting opportunities.

OSF’s program is inviting investigative journalists and creatives to submit their ideas for collaborative projects that aim at reporting on the 2019 national elections. The projects can span in the spaces of theatre, music, interactive technology, amongst others.

Those who are selected will attend a two-day workshop where creatives and journalists will work together on their projects. At the workshop each team will have the opportunity to pitch for a grant of up to $25,000 (~R359,000) to be created and distributed before the elections.

For more information go to: https://osf.app.box.com/s/a5zwe8iu3w44qzaatuxiojqiefxyx9l4

At the same time JamLab is making a call for entries to its accelerator program which is based at the Tshimologong Precinct in Johannesburg. The program is targeted at journalists and media makers with innovative projects/initiatives.

The incubation will last for six months during which period the entrants will have access to JamLab and Tshimologong’s resources to fast track their initiatives.

For more information go to: https://medium.com/jamlab/apply-now-for-the-2019-jamlab-accelerator-programme-95794b348dc2

All the best to those who apply and we wish you well in your innovative journalism projects.

Heritage month highlights digital tools and big news for SAMIP

During September South Africa celebrates its heritage. With more than eleven official languages and numerous cultures and religions calling this young democracy home, the ninth month of the year is festival of colours and traditional outfits as the people of the country showcase their various backgrounds.

And that vibrancy can be seen with our nine (and soon to be more) grantees who continue to do good work through their projects and organizations.

The big news of September was the selection of Hashtag Our Stories to participate in Snap Chat’s inaugural incubation program Yellow Inc. Yusuf and Sumaiya Omar join eight other companies in Venice, California where they will be experimenting with Snap Chat’s platform and tools to create new experiences and programmes for the mobile video company.

If you are looking for other tools to help you tell your heritage story why not download Open Up SA’s Pocket Reporter. The tool has been expanded and populated with more languages and templates for journalists to create stories on the fly. Think of it as having a news editor in your pocket. Pocket Reporter trainer Raymond Joseph has also started a Facebook page and Twitter account to share links to other digital tools that journalists and storytellers can add to their arsenal.

The Children’s Radio Foundation has seen the results of its WhatsApp project coming to fruition with some innovative uses of the chat app by their youth reporters. In August the young reporters based in Alex FM used WhatsApp to report on and gather voice clips on the “Walk for Mandela” walkabout in the Johannesburg CDB.

Upcoming Events

As the year enters its final stage SAMIP will be present at a number of media events and conferences.

AIJC 2018

SAMIP and its grantees will be participating in the African Investigative Journalism Conference that will be taking place at Wits University at the end of October. The conference is a gathering of journalists, media professionals and stakeholders from around the continent. SAMIP will be participating in the conference’s half-day workshop on sustainability and business models.

Media Indaba 2018

Following on the footsteps of last year’s successful Media Indaba gathering in Cape Town, SAMIP will also have a presence at Media Indaba 2018 towards the end of November. Once again the team will be bringing some insights on sustainability and business models in news.

Inquiries

The program has closed general entry applications but we are still open to inquiries that can be submitted via our website. We will be continuing our work in the coming three years and we hope to empower more innovative news media projects and organizations as our program grows.

Hashtag Our Stories nets Snap Inc investment

Hashtag Our Stories, a participant in the South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP), has been selected by Snapchat to take part in its inaugural incubator program Yellow. The incubation comes with $150,000 (R2.3m) in funding and business education in exchange for equity.

The Hashtag Our Stories team, Sumaiya and Yusuf Omar, will be incubated at Yellow’s offices in Venice just outside of Los Angeles, United States. During the three-month incubation they will experiment with Snapchat technology in line with their project that amplifies citizen journalism.

Hashtag our Stories was selected as a participant in SAMIP through its Innovation Challenge that ran late 2017. The program is an initiative that aims to accelerate digital media innovation among independent media outlets across South Africa.

“We are proud of Hashtag our Stories’ achievement which is a testament to the innovative thinking and approach by Yusuf and Sumaiya,” says Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) Program Director for Africa Bilal Randeree, “We look forward to seeing great things in their future.”

SAMIP provides funding and capacity building to help innovative media organisations find and tell impactful stories and develop new and sustainable business models. It was set up in 2017 by Media Development Investment Fund, a US-based not-for-profit investment fund for independent media around the world that provide the news, information and debate that people need to build free, thriving societies. The program is co-funded by the Open Society Foundation of South Africa and Omidyar Network.

Doing it for Madiba

The month of July has been dedicated to former president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela who’s sacrifice and work during the Apartheid era and into South Africa’s democratic freedom inspired millions. At the South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) we have been inspired to find more ways to assist in the democratisation of our media space by supporting independent media.

Throughout the month of July the program has been hard at work with its grantees and beyond on ways to be conducive in the growth of a free press.

One of our grantees, Hashtag Our SA, participated in the biggest cleanup to take place on African continent. More than 6,000 people across nine different countries participated in this effort.

Our other grantees have also been busy throughout the month of July participating in media events and conferences to showcase their work and expertise.

Radio Days Africa

The largest radio conference on the African continent, Radio Days Africa, took place during the first week of July. The conference brought together stakeholders and interested parties in the radio and broadcasting space for a series of presentations and discussions about the industry and its future.

Three of our grantees, Children’s Radio Foundation, Volume and Soul City, had a presence at the conference where they got to present their projects and lead panel discussions.

Soul City presented their feminist platform, Not Yet Uhuru which will be seeing a big launch in the near future. The platform will feature discussions on topics such as  sex, friendship, alcohol abuse, financial independence and life in general.

Volume co-founder Paul McNally sat on an innovation panel on the last day of the conference where the future of the radio industry was discussed.

SAMIP at Hacks/Hackers

Our program officer, Siyabonga Africa, spoke at Hacks/Hackers Johannesburg’s media entrepreneurism event: How to be a media entrepreneur. The night was dedicated to discussing entrepreneurism in the news media space and how one can get involved in it.

Former Huffington Post SA editor-in-chief Verashni Pillay was also present to share on her experience with the news site that has now been shuttered by Media24. Pillay also touched on opportunities for startups in the media space and what is missing in the South African context.

General Entry

The program has officially closed applications for general entry. We started the process at the end of March this year and since then we have received more than 50 applications from some amazing projects, startups and organizations.

Our advisory committee deliberated on the finalists and we will update the public with regards to their decision once it has been approved by our board in New York City.

Moving forward

Now that general entry has closed the program will be taking inquiries for the foreseeable future. The inquiries are means for us to stay informed with regards to what interesting projects or organizations are out there in the independent media space.

As the year enters its final two quarters SAMIP will be working on providing capacity building initiatives for its grantees and our partners. We also will be attending some major media events in the upcoming months including: Media Indaba 2018 and the African Investigative Journalism Conference. We look forward to seeing and interacting with you all there.

SAMIP finds the next lit startups in Youth Month

The month of June is dedicated to the school pupils who lost their lives during the 16 June 1976 uprising in Soweto. This year marked the 41st anniversary of the Soweto Uprising where 15,000 students gathered at Orlando West Secondary School with the intention of participating in a peaceful march to the nearby Orlando Stadium.

Having only been launched last year August the South Africa Media Innovation Program is young at heart. We’re still less than a year old but we’ve done so much in the intervening time between our start and today.

SAMIP hosted a Sales & Business Development Workshop which took place on the 6th & 7th of June. The workshop was attended by some of the SAMIP grantees, two MDIF clients and two organisations from JamLab. The workshop was facilitated by Carl Davis, Matthew Buckland, Riaan Wolmarans, and Chrizelda Viljoen.

SAMIP also participated in this year’s Duke Menell Media Exchange which took place on the 8th and 9th of June. SAMIP launched the #PerfectPitch challenge with the hopes of finding SA’s next lit media company. The winners of #PerfectPitch were GSport4Girls, Politically Aweh and Quintessential ZA. The winning startups will get a chance to be entered into our program through general applications, whilst also receiving some mentoring from Matthew Buckland.

The team has also been meeting with applicants for general entry into the program which is still open for innovative news and information services startups to enter.

Client Highlights

    • Our grantees participated in the Duke Menell Media Exchange, taking part in a number of workshops and panel discussions. Osiame Molefe from Collective Media Cooperative and Soul City Institute for Social Justice CEO Lebo Ramafoko who sat on a panel discussing missing narratives in South Africa.
    • Volume News: They made a presentation about their business in local community radio stations in front of the Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, and the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality.
    • Digest: Dhanyal Davidson was invited to present his newsletter during a EdTech’s pitch evening within the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative. Digest also  launched a new website and new branding
    • Pocket Reporter has been converted into a web application after existing as an Android application since its initial development. The story generation tool also added more templates including a health story template in collaboration with Health-E News.

 

  • Hashtag Our Stories: They won the best social short form award, and best mojo marketing campaign, at the Mobile Journalism Festival which took place on the 29th – 31st May in Ireland.

 

 

May in review: Press Freedom in South Africa

World Press Freedom Day was celebrated earlier 03 May. According the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) the date has been earmarked to: celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

According to the Reporters without Borders South Africa ranks 28th in world and third on the African continent on it’s World Press Freedom Index. South Africa’s position on this index is due to the country’s liberal constitution which enshrines freedom of expression and with it freedom of the press.

But apartheid-era legislation and the 2004 terrorism laws have been used to limit coverage of government institutions when “national interest” is supposedly at stake. Since 2015 the country has seen journalists being harassed and subjected to intimidation campaigns whilst covering the ruling ANC, government finances, the redistribution of land to the black population or the #Guptaleaks affair, all which are either off limits or provoke a hostile reaction from the authorities.

Now, more than ever, independent news media is needed not only in South Africa but the world. The South Africa Media Innovation Program is proud to be a part of the effort to promote press freedom and growth through our initiative that has provided grant funding to, so far, nine organizations and is still looking for more to fund in the near future

Notable Highlights

SAMIP advisory committee member and Wits Journalism lecturer Dinesh Balliah was named as one judges for the Forum for Community Journalist Awards 2017. Balliah will be judging the digital journalist category alongside SABC Digital News editor in chief Izak Minnaar.

Volume Media launched a new website. The startup, that was founded by Paul McNally and Roland Perron, remains committed in growing the community radio space in South Africa and has partnered with a number of local radio stations and NGOs in efforts to gather and broadcast hyperlocal stories.

Yusuf and Sumaiya Omar, from Hashtag our SA, were profiled by Business Insider. For the work they’ve done all over the world. The two continue to grow the mobile journalism space through training workshops and partnerships with universities.

Throughout the month of June the SAMIP will be going through applications for general entry as the program expands on its current cohort of participants. Remember to submit your organization or project to potentially get in our exciting initiative.

 

And the next lit news startup is…

GSport 4 Girls, Politcally Aweh and Quintessential ZA walked away with the grand prize at the SAMIP/Duke Menell Media Exchange’s first ever pitch battle called Perfect Pitch.

The three winners were part of a group of eight invited startups who got the chance to pitch their projects to our esteemed panel of judges consisting of: MDIF entrepreneur in residence Matthew Buckland, Wits Journalism lecturer and SAMIP advisory committee member Dinesh Baliah and SAMIP program manager Bilal Randeree.

The winning startups will get a chance to be entered into our program through general applications, whilst also receiving some valuable mentoring from Buckland.

The teams behind the winning pitches are:

GSport 4 Girls: Kass Naidoo and Ryk Meiring

GSport 4 Girls was established in August 2006 to raise the profile of women’s sport in SA and tell the ‘good story’ while encouraging Corporate South Africa to back our female athletes.

Politically Aweh: Stephen Horn

Politically Aweh is a video-first news & politics media brand. We are creating a high quality infotainment show in association with the award-winning online news publication, Daily Maverick.

Quintessential ZA: Quintus Potgeiter and Tayla Welch

Quintessential ZA is a content hub that has more than 9 podcasts running concurrently and a presence on YouTube. Quintessential ZA is building a new nation with the next generation. Their presenters are empowering their communities with quintessentially South African podcasts, video content, articles, and more.

Are you SA’s next lit news media startup?

The South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) in partnership with the Duke Menell Media Exchange will be holding a pitch battle, called Perfect Pitch, at this year’s conference, MMX18, which will be held June 8 and 9 at The Forum, The Campus, Bryanston, Johannesburg.

The contest will be the culmination of a three-part workshops series hosted by SAMIP at MMX.  In part one, Show and Tell, you’ll get a chance to check out some of the innovative projects that have received SAMIP support.  In part two, Think and Make, you’ll learn how you, too, can develop your ideas into a real business, how to envision a media start up project, build a workable business model, and frame a pitch to sell it.

In part three, Perfect Pitch, selected start-ups will get a chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges, including SAMIP team members and Burn Media founder Matthew Buckland.  It’s a great opportunity to showcase your startup idea to the MMX community of news media influencers and thought leaders. Additionally, the winner will receive a special mentorship with SAMIP experts that  will give you the opportunity to take your project to the next level with advice on business development and innovation.

Here’s how to apply to be a candidate in The Perfect Pitch:

*In order to be eligible for entry your startup needs to be an innovative news and information services product/service/project, and it should be in operation for at least the last six months. While concepts are awesome, they won’t be eligible for entry.

So hurry up and enter here: