Astro to raise pay-TV rates next month

  • Business
  • Tuesday, 27 Apr 2004

Astro All Asia Networks Plc will raise pay-television rates next month, a move that may add RM83mil to its annual sales given its subscriber base of 1.39 million people at the end of January. 

The pay-TV operator said in the May edition of its viewers' guide that it would raise monthly subscription rates by RM5 after May 24 “to improve the variety of programmes and channels.'' Astro expects to “deliver over a hundred channels by next year, courtesy of a new Measat 3 satellite.'' It did not elaborate. 

“The subscription increase will help them to purchase better-quality content and offer additional channels,'' said Foo Su Cheng, who helps manage the equivalent of RM1.5bil, including Astro shares, at OSK-UOB Unit Trust Management Bhd. 

Astro, controlled by tycoon Ananda Krishnan, is trying to attract more viewers in Malaysia and neighbouring Brunei to the channels it shows through its set-top boxes. It offers channels such as ESPN, through which it screens English Premier League soccer, Time Warner Inc's HBO, or Home Box Office, and News Corp's Star Movies. The company is also the cable distributor for Bloomberg Television in Malaysia. 

Chief operating officer David Butorac could not be reached for comment yesterday.  

Astro reported net income of RM12.3mil for the year ended Jan 31, as an expanding economy helped it sign up 45% more subscribers from a year ago. Sales were at RM1.42bil. 

Ananda Krishnan also controls Measat Global Bhd, which operates two Boeing Co-made satellites that lease transmission capacity to Astro and mobile phone company Maxis Communications Bhd. – Bloomberg 

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