MYTV, ASTRO STILL SEE VALUE IN TELEVISION AMIDST BATTLE OF STREAMING

FARHANA PONIMAN

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 6 (Bernama) -- Conventional broadcasting companies like Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd and MYTV Broadcasting Sdn Bhd still see value in television amidst intense streaming war brought upon by mushrooming over-the-top (OTT) players such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.

MYTV chief executive officer (CEO) Mazlan Mahdi said these OTT players are bringing healthy competition into the market and they are pushing local players to develop their own solutions.

“We know streaming services like Netflix are taking up market share in the local space but it does not mean we should stop at that because we can do compelling contents that are suitable for local consumption,” he told reporters after speaking at the Bursa-HLIB Stratum Focus Series X -- “Digitalisation: Shaking Things Up!”, here today.

For example, he said consumers still look for local contents, as proven by Media Prima Digital’s homegrown video streaming service Tonton, launched in 2010, which is still thriving despite global OTT players entering the market.

MYTV is an initiative by the government to migrate the transmission of free-to-air terrestrial TV to digital from analogue transmission, previously under the myFreeview brand, where several broadcasters, namely RTM, TV Al Hijrah, Bernama TV and Media Prima offer 15 free-to-air channels, as well as six radio stations.

Going forward, Mazlan said MYTV is keen to explore the possibility of extending myFreeview beyond Malaysia by importing contents from ASEAN countries.

“Contents from neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines are very relevant to local consumers. By doing this, I feel like we can be at par with players like Netflix,” he said.

Meanwhile, during his presentation, Astro head of OTT Christian Toksvig said it views OTT players as their partners, instead of rivals.

He said the company has embraced OTT with the launch of its own Astro GO in 2012, as well as partnering with HBO GO and China’s iQiyi.

Toksvig said Astro has been making deals with OTT players for their contents and he believes that in the future, OTT players would also see the benefit of partnering with players like Astro as the company would handle the marketing aspect.

Furthermore, customers put higher importance on convenience as opposed to where the contents came from, and handling multiple subscriptions could be a hassle to customers.

“We at Astro can take that pain away. We want to create and curate a slate of OTT offering on top of our linear offering. You will see more partnership between Astro and OTT players,” he said.

He said currently, Astro’s consumer base is largely of the older segment and there is a gap for youth under the 35-years-old segment because younger people could not connect with linear TV due to their habit of watching YouTube.

“However, contents on Astro still resonate with young people because according to Google Malaysia, seven out of the top 10 most searched TV shows in 2019 were aired on Astro and were mostly local shows.

“That gives us confidence that if we repackage that content to cater to the youth segment, we will be able to reach them,” he added.

-- BERNAMA

 

TAGS: Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd, MYTV Broadcasting Sdn Bhd, OTT