Malaysian Magnate in Pay TV Launch

08 June 2004

Pay TV service Astro All Asia Networks of Malaysia will gain a rival if local business baron Vincent Tan gets his way.

Tan hopes to break into the market led by Astro, which is owned by Malaysia's richest man, Ananda Krishnan, whose finances were boosted last year by Astro's first net profit of M$12 million ($3.1m; £1.72m; €2.57m).

But the planned launch of MiTV in December provides no guarantee of such wealth for Tan, as analysts doubt the country can accommodate another pay TV operator.

With a 40% stake in the company, Tan obviously thinks otherwise. MiTV will use internet and digital video broadcasting through existing TV aerials in a bid to keep costs down compared with Astro's satellite system.

Potential customers from the 5.5m TV households in Malaysia are also being cajoled with 50 interactive channels, email and instant messenger systems.

Astro will not take this lying down. It plans to add to its 1.4m subscribers by introducing 60 new channels aimed at indigenous Malay customers.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff