Southeast Asia Globe to Suspend Operations

The Southeast Asia Globe has announced it will suspend operations at the end of September after 16 years of delivering news from around the region
Office of the Southeast Asia Globe in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Office of the Southeast Asia Globe in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa

After 16 years of delivering news from across the region, the Southeast Asia Globe has announced it will suspend publishing from the end of September due to financial difficulties.

“Goodbyes are never easy, but this one is especially difficult. Today we announce the suspension of publishing at Southeast Asia Globe,” the publication said in a statement today.

It made the announcement with a “heavy heart”, adding that financial challenges that are common in today’s media landscape, have led to the suspension.

Southeast Asia Globe launched in 2007 with the aim of introducing an international publication to Cambodia. For its first 12 years of operations, it produced a monthly, 100-page magazine, expanding its reach to new markets and distributing the publication in eight countries in the region by 2014.

However, its December 2018 edition was its last print publication due to the rise of digital publishing and social media, as well as the rising cost of print and distribution of a physical publication.

“We then turned our attention to building the Globe you know today as a digital platform. From the start, we had embarked with a mission of sharing stories from around the region that promote a more informed, inclusive and sustainable future to a readership that cherishes well-written and designed articles,” the statement continued.

“Looking back, we believe we’ve stayed true to those principles while honoring the standards we set at our founding.”

Since shifting to an online publication, the Globe attracted readers from more than 100 countries worldwide, an achievement it said would have been impossible in print format alone.

At the same time, the publication launched a membership program along with other revenue-boosting services to fill the financial gap left by the loss of print-based advertising revenues.

However, the building of its subscription model and roll out of its other services “side-tracked” the company from focusing on the publication as it attempted to stay financially afloat.

“Upon reflection, this juncture was a critical moment in the Globe’s arc,” the letter stated. It added that the diversification led to the need for a larger team and increasing costs.

“The shift diverted important resources away from nurturing the publication and, ultimately, growing the membership model. This most certainly was not the only factor leading to today’s announcement, but it was an important one along the way.”

Its current financial situation has meant it is no longer able to pay competitive salaries, meaning the media platform is no longer able to grow.

“We’re one of the few publications that has remained financially and editorially independent in a difficult market and challenging media environment.”

The statement added that today’s decision was “extremely difficult” and thanked the strong team for their work. “We take some consolation in knowing that at any given moment in the past 16 years, we were passionate and proud of our work.

“We believe we’ve educated, enlightened, inspired and hopefully made a tangible impact through the stories we’ve shared.”

It confirmed that Globe will not be entirely shuttering. The website will remain online without a paywall. Paid subscribers will no longer be charged. In the coming weeks, it will share some of its top stories during its history, as well as publishing new pieces.

From the end of September, it will continue to publish a few articles and will work to relaunch to expand coverage on Cambodia. In early 2024, it will also release a print version of Focus Cambodia. It will also continue with its newsletter.

“As for Globe, we hope this is not the end, but it’s certainly goodbye for now as we go back to the drawing board in search of a business model that works.”

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