While traditional media in the United States have been reeling from the digital media revolution, registering millions in losses, shutdowns, and layoffs, their counterparts in Southeast Asia have been insulated from its devastating effects.
But maybe not for long.
Well aware that the window to adapt is fast closing, the region’s big media are finally getting more serious about investing in technology. Take this recent piece of news as an example: Scoop, a popular digital newsstand in Indonesia, has raised SGD 3M (USD 2.4M) in Series B funding from Kompas Gramedia, the country’s largest media conglomerate.
It’s certainly a good result for Scoop, which previously raised SGD 1M in Series A funding, hinting at a substantial increase in valuation for the company. The service currently has 210k monthly active users, with 90 percent coming from Indonesia.
Willson Cuaca, CEO of Apps Foundry, the company behind Scoop, says that this is the first non-controlling minority stake the media giant has taken in a foreign entity (App Foundry is based in Singapore). Prior to this, Kompas has either been developing its own products or acquiring other companies.
This significant development is no isolated incident. Read more
Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), a public-listed media company in Singapore, announced yesterday that it has purchased online car portal sgCarMart for SGD 60M (USD 48M), a significant amount in the country’s digital publishing and media sector.
The deal dwarfs, at least in monetary terms, SingTel’s acquisition of food portal HungryGoWhere for USD 9.4M last year. SgCarMart’s valuation is a x12 multiple over its 2012 annual revenue.
While the price is pegged at SGD 60M, the final valuation will ultimately depend on performance targets. The three founders will continue to work on the business after the acquisition, and Vincent told the Straits Times that the deal will help it “grow in breadth and in depth”.
SPH has, on behalf of the founders, declined an interview request with SGE about the acquisition and the team’s plans with regards to contributions to the startup ecosystem.
SgCarMart operates a variety of businesses, including vehicle classifieds, a car auction platform, an online marketing site, as well as car loans, insurance and settlement services. Existing shareholders in the company include JDB Investment, Goh Cher Ngann, Ong Poh Huat, and co-founders Henry Seah, Tan Jing Lun, and Vincent Tan. Read more
Singapore restaurant booking site Chope has raised a USD 2.5M round led by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and two other investors, which are undisclosed. The news was first reported by TechCrunch and announced by SPH to the Singapore Exchange.
SPH, which invested SGD 1.81M (USD 1.45M), now owns 27.8 percent of the startup, which gives Chope a valuation of USD 5.2M. That’s about half of HungryGoWhere, which was acquired by SingTel for about USD 9.4M last year.
While the investment sum is substantial, Chope’s co-founders Clowie Tan and Arrif Ziaudeen appeared to have give up quite a significant chunk of equity — 48 percent to be exact.
It’s one thing when large corporations crash and burn while replicating the latest technological fad (Mediacorp and daily deals, anyone?). But it’s quite another for a company to recognize its weaknesses and partner startups that know their stuff.
The STClassifieds-Carousell partnership, announced just this morning, belongs to the latter category.
Both products are similar in that they are online classifieds that facilitate peer-to-peer commerce. But while STClassifieds, owned by Singapore Press Holdings, is strong on the web; Carousell, a Singapore startup with modern sensibilities, is showing promise on mobile. Sure, STClassifieds has its own mobile app, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Carousell’s design, which fits right in with the Instagrams and Paths of the world.
Updated: 8th July, 12pm UTC+8
A celebrity couple, who runs food business Twelve Cupcakes, recently put up articles written about their business on Facebook, Twitter and the company’s website. However, Singapore Press Holdings, a media conglomerate in Singapore, soon demanded payment because they reproduced its articles online.
Daniel Ong, a former radio deejay, wrote a long Facebook note last night to complain about SPH’s actions. He then wrote a follow-up letter expounding on the incident. He said that the payment would add up to “almost S$3,000″ (US$2,360), a claim which SPH later denied.
SPH responded to Daniel in yesterday’s edition of The Straits Times. It reiterated the fact that under copyright law, interviewees and information providers don’t control the distribution rights to a piece of work. Authors do.
But while it said that displaying content on websites is against the law, framing actual articles up and displaying them at physical stores does not constitute copyright infringement.
In Daniel’s first note, he said that his wife, former beauty queen Jaime Teo, received an email from SPH demanding a payment of S$535 (US$422) per story. They were interviewed by the Straits Times, The New Paper, and a couple of magazines. Both newspapers belong to SPH.
He then added that when they took down the stories as a compromise, the couple was asked to pay a S$214 (US$169) “investigation fee”. If they don’t pay, they would still be “liable for infringement” for the next six years.
Today, Facebook is an essential tool in any marketer’s arsenal. Which is why we decided to feature a list of top 30 Facebook Pages by businesses. The brands in this continuously-updated list are ranked according to the number of ‘likes’ and must be either a) companies started in Singapore b) companies started by Singaporeans c) international brands with a Singapore Facebook Page. Read more
Singapore Press Holdings Magazines (SPHM) held a digital crowd-sourcing competition together with Singapore Computer Society (SCS) Interactive Digital Media and Student Chapters called Ignite 2010. The competition’s deadline was 31st Dec 2010 but the award ceremony was held just two days ago. Ignite 2010 called on tertiary students to submit fresh ideas for digitizing SPHM’s publications. We look here at some of the winning teams. Read more