Malaysia to get new cable TV network (channelnewsasia.com)

17 November 2011 19 h 06 min Comments Off

The battle for eyeballs in Malaysia looks set to heat up with the scheduled roll out of a new digital cable TV network by the first half next year. Known as Asian Broadcasting Network (ABN), it is targeting three million subscribers or 40 per cent of the market share within five years.

Malaysia’s pay TV market has long been dominated by Astro All Asia Networks since its launch 15 years ago. So the industry was abuzz when Nilamas corporation announced it is rolling out new digital cable tv network ABN next year.

Some were sceptical just how the new kid on the block intends to take on Astro when other players in the past had failed.

Nilamas Corporation CEO Sreedhar Subramaniam said: “We are not competing with existing pay TV operators. Our goal is to really reach the un-served market. “There are over four million households that are not using any kind of pay TV services. “The crucial thing is reach. Other pay TV operators in the past may have invested or under invested on the reach or the platform which did not land a good platform to deliver the content.”

Minister of Information, Communications and Culture, Dr Rais Yatim, who was at the launch of ABN, said he hopes the new entry will lower the cost for consumers.

Currently, the average revenue per user (ARPU) in Malaysia is one of the highest at US$26 compared to just over US$3 in India and US$2.5 in China.

Media experts are watching with keen interest.

The Star group chief editor Wong Chun Wai said: “From the consumer’s point of view, it is good; the competition means the existing players will have to re-look at their pricing and their programmes. The imminent entry of ABN has generated quite a bit of buzz.”

Apart from cheaper subscription fees, operator Nilamas has promised 6.5 million households in Malaysia up to 200 channels and better quality reception with its scheduled roll out by the second quarter, next year.

ABN has a set-up cost of US$630 million and will have the capacity to carry 1,000 channels, including free-to-air channels and video on demand.

It is currently signing up regional content providers including Channel NewsAsia.

Mr Subramaniam said: “There are three things we want with our audience — to inform, educate and entertain them. Channel NewsAsia in that sense conforms to what we want to do with the Malaysian public when people have a more regional or global perspective on life on things. They make very informed decisions ..that’s why we are putting on Channel NewsAsia.”

The network is targeting 500,000 subscribers in its first year of operation.

It also intends to produce its own content, build its studios and broadcasting centre.

Source: channelnewsasia.com (16/11/2011)

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