SINGAPORE — Alternative news website Coconuts.co, which has covered Southeast Asia including Singapore for over a decade, is set to stop operating on Dec 31.
Citing a lack of financial sustainability as a reason, the announcement was made on its website on Tuesday (Dec 19) by Coconut Media’s founder and chairman, Mr Byron Perry.
In a letter, Mr Perry said that the decision had been made “with a mixture of pride, nostalgia and sadness”.
“From our humble founding in Bangkok in 2011, we grew the Coconuts audience to millions of unique visitors per month, with dozens of journalists covering eight cities at our peak,” he wrote.
The website said that at its peak, Coconuts had offices in Thai capital city Bangkok, Hong Kong, Jakarta and Bali in Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Manila in the Philippines, Singapore and Yangon in Myanmar.
The site covered topics such as news, lifestyle, culture and travel.
The most recent report on Singapore, dated Tuesday, involved a fishing hook allegedly found in frozen squid at a supermarket in Bukit Batok.
Mr Perry said that while Coconuts had its fair share of success, such as winning journalism and entertainment awards and being frequently cited “by the biggest media companies in the world”, it had not translated to commercial success for the company.
“Like many other independent news publishers, we have found financial sustainability to be incredibly elusive despite our best efforts,” he added.
In March, Coconuts’ Hong Kong office announced that it would conclude its operations and gave similar reasons.
A letter on the website on March 1 read: “In recent years, we have faced increasing journalistic and commercial challenges that have made it difficult for us to continue publishing regularly in Hong Kong.”
Hong Kong Free Press reported that the closure of the Hong Kong office came after Mr Vim Shanmugam took the helm as general manager and chief marketing officer after Mr Perry relocated to the United States and became Coconuts Media chairman.
In the letter, Mr Perry also thanked his employees for their contributions.
“I also personally want to thank all of the staff — past and present — who have put so much time, effort, drive, creativity and intelligence into making Coconuts great.
“I am truly grateful for your service and I wish you the best in your careers.”
TODAY has reached out to Coconuts to ask about the number of workers across their offices and in Singapore who will be affected by the closure.
Mr Perry added: “We want to give a profuse and heartfelt ‘thank you’ to our readers. Our core mission was always to inform and entertain you, and we hope that we’ve succeeded in that regard for the last 12 years.”
He also said that Coconut’s archives will remain up “for all to read for (we hope) eternity”.
Coconuts Media will continue to operate as a business, with other websites BK Magazine and Soimilk still running along with its in-house brand studio, Grove.
BK Magazine is a lifestyle website on the best places to eat and visit in Bangkok. Soimilk is a Thai youth-focused website.
Mr Perry ended the letter by saying that he hopes to re-launch Coconuts “one day”.