ASTRO expects income boost from Measat 3

June 30, 2006

Malaysia's ASTRO All Asia Network hopes the launch of its Measat 3 satellite during the third or fourth quarter will boost its bottom line as this will allow it to offer up to 50 more channels.

The new satellite, which carries 24 transponders, will help the network increase its subscriber base, according to ASTRO COO David Butorac.

But ASTRO would continue to air advertisements, he said, as these contributed about RM150 million ($40.7 million) to the company's coffers yearly.

"What we do is try not to have commercial breaks during a movie or when live (sports) matches are in progress," he said. "Although ASTRO is pay-TV, we have to have advertisements to continuously add content and improve our services. Otherwise, we will have to increase the subscription rate substantially."

He said ASTRO budgeted RM500 million ($136 million) annually to create and provide exciting local and foreign content.

ASTRO is found in 1.8 million homes in Malaysia and has eight million viewers.