Subscribe to industry newsletters

Search jobs

Durban goes live

This month sees the launch of, a website covering urban life and culture across the city. DBNLive arrives in KZN after the success of pioneering Joburg urban culture website JHBLive, which has been a pivotal part of youth culture in the big smoke for close on a decade.
Durban goes live

“What makes JHBLive successful is the fact that it connects real people, doing real things in the city,” says founder Mike Balkind. “It has never been just a website - it's a way for people across the city to interact, be it around events, cultural commentary, eating out, design or art. We started off as a small collective of creatives with an interest in sharing work and information, and while the brand has grown to include Cape Town and Durban, the core principle remains the same.”

DBNLive will offer one of the country's most creative cities a plethora of really interesting and ultimately useful stuff, including extensive club and live event guides, coverage of art, theatre, music and books, as well as a range of edgy journalism and cultural commentary from local writers, and virtual exhibitions from local designers and fine artists.

“The formula is pretty simple,” says Balkind. “Above and beyond anything else we connect users to their urban environment. To do that we use the web and mobile technologies, and we put a lot of effort into creating a truly interesting and relevant experience at all levels, from what goes on online through to real world events and so on.”

The Live brand has been widely recognised over the years as a pioneer in interacting with young urban communities through its websites, the presence of Live photographers across cities and the delivery of innovative SMS-driven campaigns and productions. The brand's aim with DBNLive is to replicate the passion for the city that has always characterised JHBLive by working with local creatives who share a passion for their city.

Of course, people don't stay loyal to websites, or the technology they use. While surfers might cherry pick certain information off sites when needed, they keep going back to the ones that speak to their lifestyle. This has definitely been the case with JHBLive. The site's ironic sensibility has made it far more of a cool urban brand that happens to deliver useful services than a traditional directory site.

“Look, we've been around the youth culture block a few times,” adds Balkind. “And if there's one thing we've realised it's that what attracts the advertisers also attracts the users. In a world of extremely tightly defined and formulaic media channels, we get great content and thoughts from people across South Africa, and that's what makes the sites different. People use our content and interact with the brand because it is relevant to their city - where they actually live and work.”

Let's do Biz