Astro eyes 75% household penetration by end of 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd, which currently serves five million or 71% of Malaysian TV households, is eyeing an increase to 75% by end of next year, helped by improved customers' experience as well as more premium and differentiated content offerings.
 
Speaking at a press conference here yesterday, Astro group CEO Datuk Rohana Rozhan said it currently offers 186 TV channels to its five million customers (3.4 million pay-TV subscribers and 1.6 million NJOI customers) with growth primarily driven by its subscription-free TV service, NJOI.  
 
"Our OTT (over-the-top) online video service and On Demand offerings continue to resonate with Astro On The Go (AOTG), which saw its registered users increase to 1.1 million and an average viewing time of 130 minutes weekly," she noted.

In addition, Rohana said its On Demand service currently registers 600,000 video downloads per month, with 5.1 million unique viewers monthly on its social media platforms.  
 
She said the group will continuously offer compelling content to its customers, with a focus on original signature IPs (intellectual property), local and Asean movies, same day/date global windows, live music events, sports, as well as international blockbuster movies.
 
"Through AOTG, we will be more aggressive on the individuals, where the current download numbers are three million, and next year we are expecting it to grow to five million."
 
"We are going to make sure that our customers understand that there is a value extension to be an Astro customer, where they can watch every content that they have subscribed for and paid for on their AOTG," she added.
 
Furthermore, Rohana said the group is also planning to attract more millennials viewers, by offering more digital content that is preferred by the group.
 
She said the group's Tribe OTT service is on course to build a community for the millennials in the region, with its December launch in the Philippines, following the launch in Indonesia last March.
 
The group recently entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Philippines mobile brand Globe Telecom Inc to offer Tribe OTT video services to its customers in the country.

Tribe is an OTT service for Asean video consumers, which offers live and on demand content comprising live sports, Asian movies, and TV series including Korean entertainment.
 
Meanwhile, Rohana said the group expects its content cost for its television business to remain the same at 36% of its annual TV revenue in the next financial year ending Jan 31, 2018 (FY18).

Astro's net profit for the third quarter ended Oct 31, 2016 increased 43.8% to RM151 million from RM106.01 million a year ago, mainly due to decrease in depreciation of property, plant and equipment and lower net finance cost.

Its revenue was 3.6% higher at RM1.42 billion against the corresponding quarter last year of RM1.37 billion, mainly due to an increase in subscription, advertising, home-shopping and other revenue.

The board has declared a third interim dividend of 3 sen per share, 9% higher than in the same period last year.

For the nine months period, net profit rose by 17% to RM478.61 million from RM411.55 million a year ago. Revenue was higher by 3.5% at RM4.22 billion against RM4.07 billion previously.