Wednesday, July 28

Astro a potential beneficiary of ASO


KUCHING: Media players such as Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd (Astro) could benefit from analogue swith-off (ASO), as consumers could opt for services such as Astro’s NJOI and Telekom Malaysia Bhd’s unifi TV.

However, the research firm of AmInvestment Bank Bhd (AmInvestment Bank) has not accounted for its implications in forecasts as the ASO has been delayed to a later date.

According to Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak, Malaysia will now switch off its analogue TV service at a later date instead of June 30 this year.

“To recap, upon ASO, video contents will no longer be broadcast through analog signals but via digital transmission, which requires either a set-top box (STB) or an integrated digital televisions (iDTV) for content reception.

“The perks are, households will be able to enjoy contents of better quality and potentially more free channels,” the research firm said.

AmInvestment Bank has however pointed out that the need to purchase an STB or iDTV could result in reduced household penetration in the local FTA TV industry, as consumers get wider (if not better) options such as Astro’s NJOI and Telekom Malaysia Bhd’s unifi TV.

“For Astro, we believe ASO creates opportunities for the group to increase NJOI’s household penetration,” the research firm said.

“Besides a potential increase in NJOI revenue, higher household penetration also broadens the addressable market of Go Shop and bodes well for the group’s pay-TV subscriber base given the upgrade process from freemium to premium service is seamless.”

As for Media Prima Bhd (Media Prima), AmInvestment Bank had not assumed the switch from a capital expenditure (capex) model (owning transmission equipment) to an operating expenditure (opex) model (paying service fees to MyTV) in anticipation of ASO, pending finalisation of the exercise.

“While both the alternative platforms offer Media Prima’s channels and contents, it is likely to dilute viewership due to the availability of various other channels.

“This creates a cloudy operating environment for Media Prima.”

On a side note, the research firm pointed out that other media players like Media Chinese International Limited and Star Media Group Bhd have negligible exposure in the TV industry and hence, are likely unaffected.