ABNxcess – just another hiccup or is the end near?

06 Aug 2015 / 05:38 H.

    KUALA LUMPUR: Asian Broadcasting Network (M) Sdn Bhd (ABNxcess), which has previously denied getting into financial doldrums, is now faced with technical issues which has seen its transmission being temporarily down, throughout the country.
    Speculation is rife on whether the disruption to the transmission is related to its financial situation.
    Filings with the Companies Commission of Malaysia show that ABNxcess has not submitted its financial results for the last two financial years. It incurred a widened net loss of RM30.72 million for the financial year ended June 30, 2013 against RM4.65 million a year before.
    "We wish to inform that we're facing technical issue in all areas due to major link down, no estimated timeframe yet, our team is currently working to rectify the issue," said a recorded voice over at the customer service centre.
    However, ABNxcess president and CEO Sreedhar Subramaniam did not respond to queries sent by SunBiz regarding the issue.
    A reader contacted by SunBiz said he has not been able to watch programmes on ABNxcess as well as surf the internet since early last month.
    He said ABNxcess should have informed its customers when the service will resume and he is concerned whether this is due to the financial strength of the TV operator.
    "I don't know whether I should wait for ABNxcess or switch to other service operator as it's inconvenient for me without internet and TV at home," he added.
    Despite that, Tan, who signed up for a two-year contract last year, said he is satisfied with the internet service and TV programmes provided by ABNxcess thus far.
    Worth noting is that the company closed down its news division in early April, in a move which saw 60 staff let go, in a bid to reduce operating costs. Following that, it was reported that the company is yet to pay salaries to its staff and contractors.
    ABNxcess has loan facilities totalling RM465 million, of which RM450 million is owed to Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Bhd and RM15 million to Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank). Past reports have alluded that the entire amount may not have been drawndown yet. Efforts to confirms this were unsuccessful.
    ABNxcess' packages are bundled with internet as well as TV and radio programme. It has the capacity to offer more than 1,000 channels against the current offering of about 60 channels. More than half of these channels are in English, followed by the Indian and Chinese channels.
    Analysts have said that ABNxcess needs to improve its programmes in order to attract more subscribers. Finding a niche could be a way for the media company to continue surviving in the competitive, yet challenging media industry.
    ABNxcess had set a target of covering 70% Malaysian homes by 2017, which is seen critical for the company to further its business operations. At present, ABN's coverage is mainly in the Klang Valley, Penang, Malacca, Ipoh, Seremban and Johor Baru.
    Tan Sri K K Eswaran owns a 70% stake in ABNxcess through ABN Media Group.


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