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Astro posts 2% revenue growth despite losing pay-TV customers

AstroMalaysian pay-TV operator Astro has reported a 2% rise in revenue to RM1.4bn (US340m) and just a 1% lift in EBITA – earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation – to RM477m as the company looks ahead to a summer of sport and banks on the belief that “local content is the new premium”.

The number of Astro’s pay-TV customers fell by 1% while the take-up of Astro’s Value Pack offering and free service Njoi grew in the first three months of the financial year.

Astro’s chief executive, Dato’ Rohana Rozhan, hinted at increasing competition from global OTT players in a statement in which she said that company was focused on “knowing our customers better.”

Astro key performance indicators

“In an increasingly globally competitive marketplace, Astro remains focused on knowing our customers better, increasing customer reach, strengthening our content pipeline, ensuring global best in class customer experiences, embracing digitalisation and attracting and enabling our talent to achieve their best,” Rohana said.

She pointed to two successful shows, Maharaja Lawak Mega 2016 and Anugerah MeleTOP ERA, which both eclipsed the 4m viewer mark, while Didi and Friends attracted 2.9m viewers.

“Astro’s original signature IPs are resonating among Malaysians by setting record-breaking viewership, reaffirming our belief that local content is the new premium,” she noted.

The company’s ad revenue grew by 10% year on year to RM150.3m, up from RM136.3m in Q1FY16, and now Astro claims to control more than a third of TV ad expenditure (34%) and 72% share of radio spend.

The UEFA Euro championships and Rio Olympics will be key for Astro this year, the company noted, and “the region’s first dedicated eSports channel,” called eGG or Every Good Game, is to launch on Astro TV, AOTG and Tribe, the company’s OTT offering, on 7 June.

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