Say hello to COCO+

Since Coconuts launched in 2011, we have aimed to inform and entertain you, dear reader, with a daily stream of true stories that matter.

Coconuts was born as a local news website in Bangkok in 2011. We replicated the model in Manila in 2012, then launched in Singapore and Hong Kong in 2013. KL, Jakarta, and Bali came next in 2014, and finally Yangon in 2015.

In 2017, we redefined Coconuts no longer as a network of separate, autonomous city websites, but as a unified regional publisher with great in-depth coverage of those eight key cities. We also set in place our core editorial values: freedom of expression, human equality, and the protection of the environment.

We’ve grown from an audience of zero to 4.2 million monthly unique visitors at our height, and an average of 2 million unique visitors per month over the past three years. We’ve also won three Society of Publishers in Asia Awards, sold a Coconuts TV video series to Netflix, and worked with some of the world’s biggest brands on advertising campaigns across the region.

In the seven years of our existence, the online media ecosystem has changed drastically.

And frankly, right now, it’s all fucked up.

Garbage content – fake news, clickbait, and 30-second newsfeed videos – has exploded, fueled by Facebook algorithms that are constantly changing and often rewarding our worst instincts.

Publishers have lowered quality and become increasingly similar to chase audience size.

Even worse, social media has also increasingly become hijacked by extreme political movements and armies of trolls and bots.

We believe that intelligent people are increasingly fed up with this worthless content, constant outrage, and the mindlessness of scrolling through social media feeds.

We believe there is a community of readers that wants to actively choose what to read or watch, not passively consume content selected by formulas.

We believe that community is YOU, our readership.

Above all, our primary responsibility is to you – not to Facebook, not to advertisers, not to any corporation or government.

And you resoundingly told us in our 2017 Reader Survey that you want us to focus more on publishing original stories that have value. To do that, we need to build an audience-supported revenue model.

Thus, after great deliberation, we are very excited today to announce the launch of our membership and subscription program: COCO+.

Is this a paywall? Yes. Starting this week, non-paying users will be able to read a limit of free 15 stories per month on without becoming a COCO+ Member. We may change that number in the future.

Does this suck? No. Here’s why.

As a COCO+ Member, you will get:

1. An unlimited subscription to award-winning content on Read original and insightful News, Food & Drink, Lifestyle and Feature stories from Bangkok, Manila, Singapore, Hong Kong, KL, Jakarta, Bali, and Yangon – including our archive of 75,000+ stories published since 2011.

2. Exclusive sneak previews of Coconuts TV videos.

3. Members-only food, travel, and entertainment giveaways and deals sent out in a private monthly newsletter.

4. Free or discounted entry to Coconuts events around the region. We’ve got an exquisite event program planned for 2018, which kicked off with Yum Fest Bangkok last weekend.

5. Entry to our COCO+ members-only Facebook Group.

And by becoming a paid COCO+ Member, you will be contributing to better Coconuts content, including:

– More originally reported News stories.

– More in-depth and investigative Feature stories.

– More Food & Drink and Lifestyle coverage.

– More Coconuts TV videos.

– More travel stories, published in our new Coco Travel section.

– A better Coconuts iOS and Android app… coming very soon.

Despite all this lofty talk – don’t worry! – we’re never going to stop writing about grannies who do yoga or naked dudes masturbating on unicycles. Telling these nutty stories is part of our DNA, and we believe there is room for both the profane and the profound in our digital pages.

We humbly invite you to support original journalism in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong by becoming a COCO+ Member.

Thanks for reading and watching. We love you.