Second pay TV station with 50 channels in December

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's second pay TV station MiTV is expected to come on air in December, offering at least 50 channels. 

Announcing this, MiTV Corporation deputy chairman and chief executive officer Datuk Rosman Ridzwan said the station would also offer interactive services such as instant messaging, e-mail and account management.  

Grafimatix Sdn Bhd, a wholy-owned subsidiary of MiTV Corp, which would operate the station, is one of three local companies awarded the pay TV broadcast licence by the Information Ministry. The other two are satellite operator Astro All Asia Networks and Network Guidance Sdn Bhd. 

“We will focus on building our subscriber base in the Klang Valley first before providing the pay TV services to other states, including Sabah and Sarawak,” Rosman told reporters here yesterday. 

“MiTV's intention is to provide a very broad spectrum of international channels and comprehensive vernacular packages which will address the tastes of all Malaysians for entertainment, education, news and current affairs,” he said. 

MiTV chief operating officer Jonathan Chan said that RM400mil had been allocated to develop the business and the company had so far spent RM100mil. 

He said the range of channels offered by the station could not be revealed at the moment as it was still negotiating with international networks. 

He said that coverage would be expanded throughout Malaysia within 18 months of its launch. 

Chan said the subscription cost of MiTV would be competitive and provide “value for money.” 

He said its home-grown technology was the first of its kind using Internet protocol over ultra high frequencies (IP-UHF) and the cost of operating the system would be much lower than using satellite.  

He said that MiTV's technology was not digital terrestrial television broadcasting (DTTB). It would use UHF to transmit content to end-users. 

The content, he added, would be sent from its network operations centre to transmission towers through fibre-optic cables. It would then be transmitted via UHF waves from the towers and be picked up by indoor antennae. 

Subscribers would be able to receive MiTV via a personal computer by using an IP-UHF USB receiver and a UHF antenna, Chan said. 

On the viability of another pay TV station in Malaysia, Chan said the market at the moment was far from saturation point. 

“Penetration is around 20% to 25%. There is obviously a lot of room to grow,” he said. 

He said there were 5.5 million households nationwide with TVs. Of these, 1.1 million were in the Klang Valley. The number of Astro subscribers was around 1.4 million. 

“Besides reaching out to new subscribers, there is also the market comprising people looking at taking a second box,” he said. 

Asked about the shareholding of MiTV, Rosman said he and Berjaya Group chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan held about 40% of the shares each, while other individuals held the rest.  

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