Astro looking to shed jobs amid ‘relentless competition and unprecedented disruption’

Malaysian pay TV operator Astro is looking to cut staff costs by 15% as it tackles an “unprecedented rate of disruption” in the industry.

The company has begun a voluntary redundancy scheme in a move it claims will “enhance operational efficiency”.

An Astro statement contains no details of the number of jobs it wants to shed, although The Star Online, quoting sources, said the firm is expecting to save 15%, or RM80m (S$26m).

Astro’s staff costs hit RM590m in the year ending January 31.

Chief executive designate Henry Tan said the media and entertainment industry is facing a “new reality” where players need to “reinvent and adapt swiftly to remain relevant”.

“In an increasingly borderless and digital world, competition is relentless,” he said. “Astro continues to be proactive to reinvigorate the group in order to strengthen its position in the market and to remain relevant in the years ahead.”

The voluntary redundancy scheme will allow the group to “further simplify the organisation, enhance operational efficiency and reduce annual operating income”.

Astro stressed the “Voluntary Separation Scheme” (VSS) was exactly that – voluntary – while measures will be put in place to ensure the customer experience in not impacted.

“The company has put in place a transition programme that will provide the right support to employees who opt for the VSS including coaching and skills upgrading training programmes,” the statement added.

Astro saw profit climb 5% to RM153m in the third quarter of the FY19 financial year, bolstered by an 11% rise in advertising revenue to RM179m. Digital ad revenues climbed 40% to RM14m.


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