All-Asian Satellite Television and Radio Operator, doing business as Astro (stylized in lowercase title), is a Malaysian satellite television, streaming television and IPTV provider. Astro is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Astro Malaysia Holdings Berhad and is operated by MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems Sdn. Bhd. It operates from the All Asia Broadcast Centre (AABC) in Kuala Lumpur and MEASAT in Cyberjaya.

Measat Broadcast Network Systems Sdn. Bhd.
Company typeSubsidiary
Founded1 June 1996; 28 years ago (1996-06-01)
FounderAnanda Krishnan
HeadquartersAll Asia Broadcast Centre (AABC), Technology Park Malaysia, Bukit Jalil, 57000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Area served
Key people
ProductsOTT Streaming
Direct broadcast satellite
Internet Service Provider
RevenueIncrease RM5.613 million (Q1 2017)[citation needed]
Decrease RM777.71 million (2014)[1]
Increase RM447.95 million (2014)[1]
ParentAstro Malaysia Holdings Berhad

It forms part of the mass media duopoly in the country alongside Media Prima.[2] Astro launched the high-definition platform Astro B.yond in 2009.[3] The IPTV platform Astro IPTV in 2011, with the latter targeted at consumers who were unable to receive the company's satellite services.[4] And the new the ultra high-definition (UHD) platform Astro Ultra in end of 2019 well the future full high-definition (FHD) platform (replacement of Astro B.yond in future) is Astro Ulti in mid of 2021.

Astro formerly operated in Indonesia from 2006 to 2008, under the Astro Nusantara brand and also in Brunei from 2000 to 2022 under the Kristal-Astro brand. The Indonesian operations were operated by PT Direct Vision,[5] while the Bruneian operations were operated by Kristal Sdn. Bhd. In 2016, the company was recorded as achieving 71% household penetration in Malaysia.[6] It was granted an exclusive license as the sole pay-television provider by the Malaysian federal government until 2017.[7]


The licence to operate Astro, then unnamed, was given in June 1994 and was planned to have 20 channels through the Measat satellite.[8][9] It was originally planned to launch in 1995,[10][11] but postponed to 1996 with the launching initially will took place in October and would be known as the All-Asia Satellite Television and Radio Operator, abbreviated as ASTRO and to be operated under its operating company, Measat Broadcasting Networks Systems.[12] The upcoming satellite TV provider will offer 22 television channels and 8 radio stations in its platform.[13][14]

Ahead of its launch, Astro's operator, Measat Broadcast Networks Systems expected that its satellite TV and radio services will gain profit within two-and-a-half to three years with a total of 700,000 subscriber base.[15][16]

Astro was launched on 25 September 1996, three months after its establishment.[17][18] Upon its launch, the company planned to offer the internet speed facility to its customers by early 1997.[19]

Astro signed an agreement with Maybank which allows Astro subscribers to settle their monthly fees via the autophone and qutodebit services as well as via automatic bill settlement facility provided by the bank through Visa and Mastercard.[20]

Astro planned to open four out of seven showrooms nationwide by the first quarter of 1997.[21] The company also planned to reach the target of 400 installations as early as January 1997.[22] Astro also submitted its proposal to began broadcasting overseas.[23] Two months later, the company entered a joint-venture with film production companies to produce program varieties.[24]

On 1 April 1997, Astro appointed MOCCIS Trading, a trading arm of MOCCIS Berhad, to market and promote its service to its members via a monthly payment scheme.[25]

Astro planned to establish its own private telecommunications network as part of its preparation to launch a range of multimedia interactive services as well as to increase its business reach.[26] The company also spent RM25 million to enhance its services for domestic and global market.[27]

Astro became the first client of the Canadian telecommunication equipment company, Nortel's Global Account programme for the ASEAN region.[28] In July 1997, the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Faber Group Berhad in which Astro will provide its satellite television services to seven of Faber-owned Sheraton hotels.[29][30]

From 27 September to 16 November 1997, Astro offers installation fees for its Direct-to-U system installation.[31][32] It also targets at least 20,000 hotels for its pay-television operations by the year-end.[33][34]

In December 1997, Astro partnered with Oracle Corporation in which the latter would help developing its web-based corporate database for its business strategy.[35] It also allocates RM100 million to provide a Direct-to-U price subsidy to its customers.[36]

In 1998, Astro plans to expand its operations in the Philippines and Taiwan with RM200 million of allocation. The plan was later abandoned.[37]

Between 2000 and 2006, Astro shared time with TV Pendidikan, Malaysian public educational TV channel, where it shared time with Animal Planet on Channel 28 from 2000 to 2001 and with now-defunct TechTV on Channel 13 from 2002 to 2006.[38][39] The move received much criticism from many parties, demanding that the network should remain aired on public broadcaster, RTM rather than Astro at least until 2002.[40][41][42] However, Astro decided to not aired TV Pendidikan upon the expiration of its 6-year agreement with the channel's operator, the Ministry of Education, resulting TV Pendidikan moved to TV9, owned by media conglomerate Media Prima in 2007.

In 2000, Astro's residential subscriber base have exceeded about 300,000 households in just three years after its official launch.[43] Astro also targets a total of a million subscribers nationwide in the next two years.[44] The company enters a joint-venture with Kristal Sdn. Bhd. from Brunei to launch Kristal-Astro on 24 January 2000.[45][46][47] The service, however, ceased operations 22 years later, in 2022.[48][49]

The company had invested over RM1 billion to build a digital broadcasting facility and developed a multimedia services.[50] Astro also spent at least RM350 to subsidized its Digital Multimedia System (DMS) in order to make its service is "affordable for more Malaysian families".[51] The company also planned to expand its services across Asian region.[52]

By June 2001, Astro's subscription total has increased to 600,000.[53]

In April 2002, Astro signed an agreement with Scripps Networks Interactive for the distribution of six TV series from HGTV in Malaysia and Brunei.[54][55]

By September the same year, Astro reduced 10% of its staffs under the voluntary separation scheme (VSS).[56]

The company set up a joint-venture company with Indonesian conglomerate, Lippo Group to provide pay-TV service in Indonesia as early as July 2005.[57] As a result, Astro's satellite TV service in Indonesia, known as Astro Nusantara was launched in March 2006.[58] It also invested RM500 million to support its operations in the republic.[59] However, Astro Nusantara only operated for two years and ceased operations when Astro ended their joint-venture with PT Direct Vision in September 2008.[60]

On 1 October 2007, Astro renumbered all of its channel numbers from 2-digits to 3-digits to accommodate its expanding number of channels.[61]

In December 2009, Astro launched its high-definition service, known as Astro B.yond with a new decoder set and channels in HD feeds.[62]

Astro partnered with TIME dotCom Berhad in December 2010 to implementated the broadband and IPTV service in Klang Valley and Penang.[63][64]

In 2013, Astro signed an agreement with Telekom Malaysia's wholly-owned subsidiary, TM Net Sdn. Bhd. to broadcast two Astro SuperSport channels on the latter's pay-TV service, HyppTV (later known as Unifi TV).[65][66]

On 1 December 2014, Astro signed a joint-venture with South Korean retail company, GS Retail Co. Ltd. to launch a home shopping channel, Go Shop.[67][68] However, the joint-venture only survived for 9 years and following the changing in consumer's shopping landscape, Go Shop ceased operations on 12 October 2023 as part of the company's "ongoing strategic realignment underway".[69][70][71]

In March 2016, Astro launched its regional video platform, Tribe, which targets to Indonesian market.[72][73][74][75]

In 2017, Astro enters a strategic partnership with CJ E&M from South Korea to create and produced contents and events for ASEAN market.[76] The company also enters a long-term partnership with print publishing company, Karangkraf to form a joint-venture company focused on content production, Karangkraf Digital 360, which was later renamed as Nu Ideaktiv.[77]

Astro alongside Media Prima and DiGi Telecommunications collaborated to launch a digital learning hub, known as JomStudi in January 2019. The initiative, which supported by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), provides quality educational resources in a single platform which accessible to students.[78][79][80]

The company enters a partnership with Chinese streaming platform, IQIYI in 2019, in which Astro acquired an exclusive rights to distributed the IQIYI's content in Malaysia. Astro also responsible for the latter's customer acquisition, marketing and media sales.[81][82]

On 1 April 2020, Astro rearranged its channel numbers in order to prioritize its 100 HD channels on its platform.[83][84]

In 2021, Astro partnered with Netflix to expand its content offering in which the latter's service will be made available on Astro's platform.[85][86][87]

In May 2024, Astro and state-owned public service broadcaster, Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) have partnered to envisioned an initiative in support to Palestine by launching Malaysia4Palestine, a special channel dedicated to highlighting the humanitarian crisis in Palestine in the wake of the ongoing Israel-Palestine war. The channel began broadcasting on 25 May 2024. Among artistes who involved in it were Siti Nurhaliza, M. Nasir, Syafinaz Selamat, Alif Satar, Soo Wincci, Sarimah Ibrahim, Aznil Nawawi and Wani Kayrie.[88]

Services and products

Astro B.yond

Astro launched its own high-definition platform called Astro B.yond on 11 December 2009.[89][90] Its rollout costed RM200 million, including marketing and operating costs of approximately RM150 million. It introduced a PVR with an external hard disk drive connected to the decoder. The PVR comes with an inbuilt 500 GB hard disk and allows customers to record up to two live programmes at one time, rewind, and pause live TV. Recording services are also available through Astro B.yond via a compatible external hard disk drive and activation of the recording service by Astro.[91][92]

Astro Go

The streaming service of Astro was launched in 2012 called Astro On-The-Go (AOTG).[93] The launch of the app enabled customers to access to Astro's TV channels, live events, Video-On-Demand (VOD) and Catch Up TV on mobile devices. The app was also made for international users in March 2013.[94]

The app was renamed to Astro Go on 31 March 2017[95][96] and saw a significant revamp that introduced several new features, such as a more user-friendly interface, improved video playback quality, and better content discovery tools. Astro Go offers personalized content recommendations based on viewing history and preferences and allows customers to download shows for offline viewing.[97][98][99]

Astro Fibre

Astro embarked on its broadband service in 2011 by collaborating with TIME Dotcom to serve content over broadband through its Astro B.yond IPTV service.[100] To further its place in the ISP space, Astro entered a partnership with sister company Maxis in 2019, resulting in the introduction of Astro & Broadband. In 2022, Astro became an Internet Service Provider and began offering standalone broadband through Astro Fibre, which is also offered to businesses through its BIZfibre services.[101][102]

Astro NJOI

Astro NJOI is a Malaysia's first free-to-view satellite TV service by Astro. Launched in collaboration with the Government of Malaysia on 18 February 2012, it debuted with 18 channels and 19 radio stations.[103][104] Currently, NJOI offers 26 SDTV channels, 5 HD channels and 26 radio channels.[105]

Connected boxes

In November 2019, Astro launched the Ultra Box,[106] its first self-installable set-top box which can be used with satellite or broadband/Wi-Fi. The main features are its better viewing experience with 4K UHD and access to cloud-based video recording as well as video-on-demand content.[107]

Expanding its set-top box offerings, Astro introduced the Ulti Box[108] in 2021 which showcases similar features to the Ultra Box. The key difference is that the Ulti Box only provides HD resolutions rather than a 4K UHD experience.[109]

Criticism and controversies

Monopoly over paid television market

Astro has been criticised for its monopolistic practices in which it has become the dominant paid television service in Malaysia[110] while its competitors ABNXcess, Mega TV, and MiTV were not able to compete against Astro and became defunct after its launch.[111][112] Astro was the sole paid television operator in Malaysia until 2017 when another competitor, Telekom Malaysia's Unifi TV, emerged as a strong cord-cutting alternative.[113]

The Malaysian government's plan to regulate Android-based set-top boxes in 2019 raised concerns that Astro's dominance over the country's television content market would be enhanced.[114] While Astro's exclusive rights to Malaysian broadcast content expired in 2017, the company continues to have non-exclusive broadcast privileges under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. Starting in 2022, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission will provide Content Applications Service Provider (CASP) licenses to 35 broadcasting companies, four of which are approved to deliver content via satellite television.[115]

Sports content dispute

Astro has also enjoyed control of the broadcasting rights for sports events, including all Liga Super and Piala Malaysia events, and the FIFA World Cup 2014[116] and 2018. Competitors were restricted from airing those events,[117][118] or were required by regulators to pay excessive royalties to Astro.[116] The high royalty fees were criticised by Jeremy Kung, executive vice president of TM New Media, who argued that sports content on free-to-air television channels should be made available to public for free.[116] Former Information, Communications, Arts and Culture minister Rais Yatim urged the media groups who had exclusive rights to major sports events to share their content to free-to-air television channels.[118] Pakatan Harapan youth chief Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad argued that the rights to broadcast English Premier League should be co-licensed with Radio Television Malaysia instead of being restricted to Astro.[119]

Astro's short-lived Indonesian operations were also subject of investigation by Indonesian regulators, and accusations by rival providers, over allegations of the company also monopolizing Premier League rights in the country.[120]


Astro has been criticised for raising its service prices and imposing penalty fees on customers.[121] In 2007, Astro raised its service fee about 15% and converted previously free channels like Bloomberg, Al Jazeera English, and CGTN into paid channels. Anyone who attempted to drop such service packages was charged a fee.[122] Malaysiakini reporter Cheah Kah Seng encouraged customers to protest against the price hikes and provided instructions on how to do so.[123] Due to broadcasting rights it has received from the Malaysian government, Astro raised its fees several more times in the following years, while consumers had fewer competitive alternatives.[124]

Astro often shows commercials on premium channels for which consumers paid for an ad-free experience.[125] Customers who use the Astro personal video recorder (PVR), Astro MAX, have reported performance problems[122] and difficulty in recording certain channels.[126]

Advertising on pay television channels

Paid channels carried on Astro usually carries traditional commercial advertising that will be shown on commercial break, despite customers had paid for the paid television channels.[125]

Awards and accolades

Year Award-giving body Category Recipient Result Ref.
2009 CASBAA Award 2009 Chairman's Award Astro Won [127]
2019 MIRA Awards 2019 Best Company for Investor Relations Won [128]
2023 Putra Brand Awards 2022 Media Network Award Platinum [129]
Communications Network Award Platinum
e-Commerce Award Platinum
2024 Putra Brand Awards 2023 Media Network Award Platinum [130]

See also

Other pay-TV service provider:


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