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Astro sees earnings decline amid sports investment and loses pay TV customers

Astro logoInvestment in sport content and unfavourable currency fluctuations have been blamed for an earnings decline at Malaysian TV operator Astro, while its number of pay TV subscribers also fell.

EBITDA for the first nine months of the year ending January 31 slipped 4% to RM1.4b despite revenue climbing 3% to RM4.2b.

It’s number of pay TV customers fell 100,000 to 3.4m compared to the corresponding period last year.

Advertising revenue climbed 13% to RM524m.

Group chief executive Dato’ Rohana Rozhan said the company saw growth across all platforms, with e-commerce partly driving the rise in revenue.

“The decrease in EBITDA is mainly due to investment in key sports content and currency depreciation impacting content costs,” Astro said in a statement.

Among the sports content secured this year included the English Premier League.

Rozhan said Astro’s TV service reaches 70% of Malaysian households, with 3.4 pay TV subscribers. Its free package, Njoi, has 1.6 subscribers, up from 1.2m last year.

Meanwhile, Astro on the Go (AOTG), has seen a 31% jump in registered users to 1.1m with an average weekly viewing time of 130 minutes.

Astro’s over-the-top service, Tribe, which launched in Indonesia earlier this year and will expand to the Philippines in December, is “continuing to resonate”, Rozhan said.

“Tribe OTT service is on course to build a community for the millennials in the region,” Astro said.

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