KUALA LUMPUR: TELEKOM MALAYSIA BHD (TM) will be allowed to air 60% of the Barclays Premier League (BPL) live matches made available by Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd, following a marriage of convenience between the two giants.
Under the Channel Supply Agreement, TM is allowed to air two Astro SuperSport channels on HyppTV, including selected BPL live matches for seasons 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16.
In addition to the two channels, both parties have also agreed to enter into an agreement for the airing of selected NJOI channels, subject to certain conditions spelled out in the Channel Supply Agreement.
Astro chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Rohana Rozhan described its partnership with TM as a “win-win collaboration”.
She said Astro provided the “best destination” for sports, as it had 14 channels dedicated to sports.
The collaboration between Astro and TM was witnessed by Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
“With the new offering, we would be able to offer our subscribers service regardless of weather conditions,” TM CEO Tan Sri Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa said, wittily poking fun at its partner Astro, which suffers from “rain fade” that disrupts transmission during thunderstorms.
Zamzamzairani said the additional sports content would boost its existing sports package, in keeping with its promise to deliver the best to viewers, as they could still watch TV when it rained.
“We are having a promotion until end-September, whereby users can subscribe to our sports package for RM30 per month. For those who register after September, they would be charged RM50 per month.
“For current customers who are already on the RM30-a-month package, there would be no additional charges,” he added.
Both TM and Astro declined to indicate the amount involved in the partnership. TM is the presenting sponsor for the Astro Malaysia Super League, Astro Malaysia Premier League, FA Cup and Malaysia Cup, aired on Astro Arena (Channel 801).
Rohana noted that the partnership with TM would also provide an additional revenue stream for Astro.
Asked when the new revenue would be realised, she replied: “As soon as TM pays the bill, we would get additional revenue.”
In addition, she said the three-year collaboration would help enhance its advertising value.
“Our revenue streams come from the number of customers we have, average revenue per user or Arpu, sponsorship and advertising. Sponsorship and advertising, in turn, are dependent on the number of viewers.
“More viewers would mean more value for advertisers,” Rohana explained.
On whether Astro would oppose the sale of some of its content to other networks, she said so long as commercial win-win agreements could be structured, the company was open to it.
Rohana declined to reveal how many NJOI channels would be available on HyppTV, as both parties were still discussing part of the deal.
Meanwhile, analysts were generally “neutral” to “mildly positive” on the partnership between Astro and TM. RHB Research said it was “mildly positive” on TM’s move to acquire selected BPL live matches from Astro.
It said the content would not come cheap and was unlikely to materially affect earnings in the short term.
“Besides competitive reasons (for Astro), TM might have chosen to have limited access to BPL to avoid squeezing margins already pressured by high labour costs and HSBB maintenance costs,” RHB said.
PublicInvest Research said while it believes the content sharing, in particular selected live BPL matches, would improve HyppTV’s appeal, the financial impact on TM was not quantifiable at this juncture as TM did not reveal how much it would be paying for the channel supply agreement.