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‘Apple TV+ is no threat to Astro’

TheEdge Fri, Sep 13, 2019 09:40am - 8 months ago

KUALA LUMPUR: Apple Inc’s upcoming TV+ video streaming service, which will be launched on Nov 1 worldwide, is not expected to compete with pay-TV operator Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd, said CGS-CIMB Research in a note yesterday.

This is because Apple TV+ — which will charge RM19.90 onwards per month — will likely face competition from pirated streaming sites, said the research house.

“It is common to hear Malaysians of all income levels openly admitting to streaming on pirated sites. Media Partners Asia reported that only 1.5% of Malaysians directly subscribed to streaming services in 2018, with Netflix being the service of choice,” it added.

Moreover, the streaming service will only debut nine original titles on its launch day, while the Malaysian version of the Apple TV app — which also launches on the same day — may not offer video-on-demand (VoD) service for broadcast channels, unlike the US version.

“We believe that Apple TV+’s entry into the Malaysian maket may not engender a seismic shift in the country’s media industry,” it said. CGS-CIMB Research highlighted the Malaysian market’s preference for local content.

“Astro’s growth over the last few years has been powered by its stronger investment in high-quality ethnic programmes. It has also made inroads into the streaming space, with its revamped Astro GO VoD service and bundling of HBO GO and iQiyi to its pay-TV subscribers,” it said.

The research house maintained its “add” rating and target price of RM1.75, thanks to its yields of 7.1% to 7.3% and its penetration rate of 77% as at April.

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