The consumer is the winner
More and more players are challenging Malaysia’s incumbent pay-TV operator (Astro) and its FTA broadcaster (Media Prima). They believe that the 50% of Malaysian households that do not subscribe to pay-TV will come into play as technology innovation reduces access costs and as household incomes rise.
Telekom Malaysia (TM), Maxis, YTL, ABN and several other niche players have either launched new services or have them in the pipeline. As is happening around the world, the Malaysia TV market suddenly looks crowded but also interesting.
How will the drivers of success from the last article playout in Malaysia?
Early entry: All the players have launched commercially, but Astro, Media Prima, TM and Maxis are best placed if they can leverage their existing customer bases.
Many devices: Astro’s B.yond and the new 1Malaysia TV service are available on smart phones/ tablets and Media Prima’s Ton Ton service is accessed via PCs/ tablets. However Maxis and Telecom should be able to integrate their services into their device portfolios relatively quickly.
Broad content offering: Astro has the exclusive rights to the EPL and most Hollywood blockbusters but there is also strong demand for vernacular content. As ‘true’ media companies, Media Prima and Astro should be best placed, but will their teams be given the freedom to develop compelling services?
Deep pockets for product innovations and marketing: The incumbents (Astro, Media Prima and Telecom Malaysia) certainly look strongest:
ï‚· Astro has recently rolled out a pay-lite version of its satellite pay-TV service; called Njoi, it is targeted at entry level customers
ï‚· Media Prima’s Ton Ton service is very popular with online viewers, and now Ton Ton is trying to see if customers will be willing to pay for some of its choice content
ï‚· TM has introduced My1content which is a CONTENT MARKETPLACE that brings content sellers and content buyers together. The content can be videos (e.g. drama, education, documentary, games or apps. Unlike Astro and Media Prima, TM does not produce content but this marketplace idea is a great way to attract the numerous smaller vernacular content producers to showcase their content and for buyers to search them out. In this way, TM creates a niche market for itself and differentiates from Astro and Media Prima
These players will need to continue to innovate to stay ahead.
Real world synergies: Astro still looks to be the best placed player by far. However, the involvement of Ananda Krishna’s Fetch in developing Maxis’ TV platform suggests that Malaysia’s leading media entrepreneur is looking to promote multiple offering from Astro and Maxis covering both premium pay-TV and ‘pay-lite’ services
Customer focused services: Finally, the future of media will revolve around greater customer choice, participation and engagement bringing viewers personalisation, targeted recommendations, active peer reviews and input from their social communities. Who will innovate fastest and best? Players need to ‘fail fast’ as they see what works and what does not. Ultimately, the winners will listen to their customers and respond quickly to meet their needs before the competition.
In summary, it is hard to pick winners in today’s Malaysian market, but the battle lines are already being drawn. The established players (Astro, Media Prima, TM) are best placed, but only if they get the funding and management support they require. One thing is for sure – the Malaysian consumer will benefit from increased choice of services over different screens (big and small) at different price levels. And if it works out in this way it some of the credit should go to the Malaysian Government for opening up the market to competition.
It will be an interesting few years.