All-Asian Satellite Television and Radio Operator, doing business as Astro, is a Malaysian satellite television and IPTV provider. It operates in Malaysia and Brunei and operates from the All Asia Broadcast Centre in Kuala Lumpur and MEASAT in Cyberjaya. In 2016, the company was recorded as achieving 71% household penetration in Malaysia. It was granted an exclusive license as the sole pay-television provider by the Malaysian federal government until 2017. Astro is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Astro Malaysia Holdings Berhad and is operated by MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems Sdn. Bhd.
|Industry||Broadcasting, Mass Media|
|Founded||1 June 1996|
|Headquarters||AABC, Lebuhraya Puchong-Sg. Besi, Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia|
Brunei (through Kristal-Astro)
Indonesia (through Astro Nusantara, 2006-2008)
|Zaki Azmi, Chairman |
Henry Tan Poh Hock, CEO
|Products||Direct broadcast satellite|
|Revenue||RM5.613 million (Q1 2017).|
|RM777.71 million (2014)|
|RM447.95 million (2014)|
|Parent||Astro Malaysia Holdings Berhad|
Astro launched the high-definition platform Astro B.yond in 2009 and the IPTV platform Astro IPTV in 2011, with the latter targeted at consumers who were unable to receive the company's satellite services.
Criticism and controversiesEdit
Monopoly over paid television marketEdit
Astro has been criticized for its monopolistic practices in which it has become the dominant paid television service in Malaysia while its competitors ABNXcess, Mega TV, and MiTV were not able to compete against Astro and became defunct after Astro's launch. 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.
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. 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.
Sports content disputeEdit
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 and 2018. Competitors were restricted from airing those events, or were required by regulators to pay excessive royalties to Astro. The high royalty fees were criticized 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. 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. 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 restricted to Astro.
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.
Astro has been criticized for raising its service prices and imposing penalty fees on customers. 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. Malaysiakini reporter Cheah Kah Seng encouraged customers to protest against the price hikes and provided instructions on how to do so. 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.
Astro often shows commercials on premium channels for which consumers paid for an ad-free experience. Customers who use the Astro personal video recorder (PVR), Astro MAX, have reported performance problems and difficulty in recording certain channels.
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- bin Md. Dawam, Zairul Anuar; Sareya, Rosli; Bromeo Bianus, Adley; Hisham, M. Fazmi; Ali, Shahizan (November 2015). "MONOPOLY IN MALAYSIA TELEVISION MARKET: EFFECT ON MALAYSIAN FILM PRODUCERS". ResearchGate. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
- Xavier, Joachim (14 June 2007). "Astro suffering from monopoly syndrome". Malaysiakini. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
- Adrian (5 November 2006). "Astro MAX". ourplaypen.com. Archived from the original on 12 April 2019. Retrieved 18 May 2020.