Satirical news site, Hayibo.com is to enlist the help of a dedicated team to assist it in becoming self-sustaining, with an eye on becoming profitable for the first time.
Hayibo is well-known among those who follow the volatile South African socio-political landscape, providing a tongue-in-cheek view of the country’s headline-grabbing events.
In September 2010, Hayibo said it would shut down due to a lack of funding, however an 11th-hour bailout by specialist publishing house, Cape Media, kept the site functioning and has continued to do so since.
Two years on (September 2012), and Hayibo aims to venture away from the purse strings of Cape Media.
“Cape Media were a fantastic support to us – they backed us when nobody else would,” Hayibo founder, Tom Eaton told BusinessTech. “But we want to see if Hayibo can exist on ad sales alone.”
“Hayibo hasn’t made money in the past – mainly because our team has been too small to allocate someone full-time to chasing ad revenue,” he said.
The site has been generating some income with a syndication deal with the Weekend Argus; however, Eaton noted that this revenue is “negligible”, which pushed the site’s decision to approach a dedicated ad-sales team.
As a part of its new business strategy, Hayibo has hired the services of digital and social media service provider, Creative Spark Interactive, to handle ad sales and consult on ways to grow the site.
“Hayibo is a niche site, but the brand punches well above its weight in terms of national recognition,” Eaton said.
According to the latest Effective Measure statistics for September 2012, Hayibo.com attracted over 71,303 unique visitors to its site – 39,615 of which were from South Africa – boasting a strong audience ready and receptive to the Hayibo brand.
“We’re pretty confident we can turn that brand awareness into revenue and become self-sutstaining,” Eaton said.
“The long term strategy is to grow – whether by adding more content or going into online video,” he said.
The hard sell
Eaton indicated that attracting the right kinds advertisers may present a bit of a challenge for the site, as companies do not tend to be “philanthropic” with advertising spend.
“Satire is a hard sell because it doesn’t endorse any particular economic sector,” Eaton said.
“If anything, we’ve criticized brands and condemned materialistic, uncritical ways of living. That makes some advertisers uncertain about how to link their product to our brand.”
Despite the challenges of the past, and those still to be faced in finding the right match in advertising partners, Eaton remains positive on the site’s outlook:
“I am confident that we’ll find the right advertisers, because Hayibo’s readers are a pretty tasty demographic: highly educated, high Living Standards Measure (LSM), and perhaps most important, eager to support those who support satire.”