Coconuts Colloquium: A deep dive into subscription businesses with Google, Tech in Asia, and Toggle

Photo: Coconuts Media
Photo: Coconuts Media

Last Thursday held a buzzy night at The Hive in our second Coconuts Colloquium sesh in Singapore. Prominent figures from the media and entertainment industry (Google, Toggle, Tech in Asia) sat down with us to discuss the changing landscape and how the subscription model is pushing the drive for more quality content.

Combine one part powwow, one part mixer-mingler thingy, booze for miles, and the sparkly magic of entertainment-meets-insight, and it’s a typical Coconuts Colloquium night. With Coconuts Media founder and CEO Byron Perry as moderator, we filled up a room of curious fans, friends and industry folks to provide varying perspectives into the modern age of media.

Photo: Coconuts Media
Photo: Coconuts Media
Photo: Coconuts Media
Photo: Coconuts Media

Tech in Asia’s Chief Editor Terence Lee is all for subscription, seeing that his publication recently transitioned to a paywalled content model.

“We’re taking content a lot more seriously because subscribers are expecting better quality,” he offered.

“We used to focus on driving traffic. The core now, thanks to pivoting to a subscription model, is pushing out more long-form quality features. We can start investing in better, deeper content.”

Photo: Coconuts Media
Photo: Coconuts Media

 

Photo: Coconuts Media
Photo: Coconuts Media

Kate Beddoe, Head of News & Publishing Partnerships, APAC at Google explained that the biggest stigma of news subscription is that people just aren’t willing to pay for content they’re used to for free.

According to her, there’s a fundamental feeling among folks that news should be provided for free. People aren’t that into paywalls because they’re reading from more than one source and that sometimes they feel that the content is just not worth whipping out their cards for.

Toggle’s Assistant Lead for Audience Development Spruce Leong has found that subscription models do work in the realm of entertainment. The younger crowd would happily part with their money for games, TV shows, and movies, but there has yet to be a big shift in spending habits for news subscriptions.

Photo: Coconuts Media
Photo: Coconuts Media
Photo: Coconuts Media
Photo: Coconuts Media

Coconuts Media’s own chief expressed his optimism in the paywalls, affirming his belief in being at the forefront of change within the online media ecosystem, and the audience-supported revenue model has provided a positive change in terms of content for his eight-city network of websites. A round of questions was taken from the audience before we ended the night with truckloads of drinks and tunes. Till the next one, true believers.

Photo: Coconuts Media
From left: Spruce Leong (Toggle), Kate Beddoe (Google), Byron Perry (Coconuts Media), Terence Lee (Tech in Asia). Photo: Coconuts Media
Photo: Coconuts Media
Photo: Coconuts Media