Malaysian pay-TV provider Astro Malaysia has introduced a new service called ‘Astro On-The-Go’, delivering much of its premium live and on-demand content to connected devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops.
The new paid-for service is being rolled out in three phases, with the initial phase starting last Wednesday (May 30th), offering a free preview of the service until August 31st.
This free preview includes 11 TV channels, catch-up TV, VOD titles and live events. In addition, all Astro customers will be able to catch all 31 live matches of the UEFA EURO 2012 football tournament, as well as exclusive UEFA Catch Up videos, and UEFA VOD titles via Astro On-The-Go on their device of choice.
The commercial roll-out of Astro On-The-Go will start on September 1st, and will initially be available only to customers of its IPTV service ‘Astro B.yond’ and those of its satellite TV service who have more than one set-top box. During this phase, Astro On-The-Go will be extended to Android devices too.
Phase three will culminate in Astro On-The-Go being offered to all Astro customers, and subsequently to non-Astro customers by the end of the year.
Currently, the 11 TV channels available on Astro On-The-Go are: CNN, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, One HD, Astro Awani, Astro Xiao Tai Yang, Astro TVIQ, Astro Warna, Astro AEC, Astro Ria Plus, and Astro Shuang Xing. More TV channels will be introduced in the near future.
In separate news, Astro Malaysia has also launched a video-on-demand portal for its broadband-connected DTH set-top boxes, offering access to a large library of local and international VOD titles, including box office titles such as ‘Black Swan’, ‘Dorian Gray’, ‘California Solo’ and the Astro First Movie ‘Nongkrong’.
The video lineup of its catch-up TV will also soon be extended to include new titles such as Malay hit ‘Ngongkrong’ and local educational series ‘Oh My English’, Korean dramas such as ‘Secret Garden’, ‘Scales of Justice’, and ‘Its Ok Daddy’s Girl’, as well as Disney favourites such as ‘Phineas and Ferb’ and ‘Art Attack’.
Editor’s view: This is a smart move by Astro Malaysia to target more potential customers and tighten its grip on the country’s television market: the company already has over 3mn customers, representing more than 90% of the country’s pay-TV market, and has operated a free DTH service Njoi since February 2012, aimed at low-income households.
This move is reminiscent of UK broadcaster BSkyB, which announced earlier this year that it plans to launch a new OTT video service aimed at customers who do not wish to commit to an expensive and lengthy DTH contract, but are still interested in paying for some of its content – more details here.