Astro (satellite TV): Wikis

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MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems Sdn Bhd
Type Subsidiary of Astro All Asia Networks plc
Founded 1996
Headquarters Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia Malaysia
Key people Dato' Badri Masri
Dato' Mohamed Khadar Merican
Ralph Marshall
Bernard Anthony Cragg
Chin Kwai Yoong
Dato' Rohana Rozhan
Industry Telecommunication
Products Direct broadcast satellite
Website www.astro.com.my

Astro is the brand name of the Malaysian direct broadcast satellite (DBS) pay television service. It transmits digital satellite television and radio to households in Malaysia & Brunei. The name Astro is an acronym for All-Asian Satellite Television and Radio Operator.

Astro is owned and operated by MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Astro All Asia Networks plc, a holding company incorporated as a foreign company in the United Kingdom and listed on the Bursa Malaysia in October 2003. Usaha Tegas Group has a 42.7% stake in the company, while Khazanah Nasional Berhad owned 21.6% of its shares. In addition, Astro achieved its MSC status company in 1998. It has operations at All Asia Broadcast Centre located in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Measat in Cyberjaya.

In addition to serving consumers in households, Astro has substantial coverage in commercial establishments such as bars, restaurants, hotels, dorms, and hospitals. Since 2008, the Astro has been offering a video streaming service to mobile phone users throughout the country (Astro Mobile TV).

Contents

History

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Introduction and early history

Artist's impression of MEASAT-3 orbiting over South-east Asia
Astro logo (1996-2003)

After the launch of the MEASAT-1 satellite as part of Malaysia's commercialisation of space, Astro commenced broadcasting in 1996 with an initial bouquet of twenty-two television and eight radio channels; four of which were its own channels.

In August 2003, a new logo was launched, the uppercase ASTRO was changed to the lowercase astro, with the slogan "Making Your Life Richer".

Astro MAX

In July 2006, Astro announced the Astro Max system[1], a new Astro receiver/decoder integrated with a digital video recorder. This decoder enabled Astro subscribers to record up to 60 hours of programming on a 80GB hard disk. The system would have recorded programming without converting the MPEG-2 digital satellite stream, as such the recorded video is the same high quality as the broadcast feed. Inclusion of 2 tuners enabled the recording of one programme, while viewing another. However, the system was not able to record two channels/programmes at the same time.

Astro MAX included standard features found on digital video recorders such as pausing, rewinding and replaying "live" TV as well as a 30 second skip. The unit also had a 30 minute buffer which constantly records the currently watched program. Full integration with Astro's electronic programme guide enabled easy selection of programmes to be recorded. Additional features included the ability to record all audio tracks and all subtitle tracks on multiple language programming. Copies of programmes recorded would also be transferred to DVD or VHS tape. Up until its phasing out, there was no service fee for the use of the Astro MAX system. The service was permanently closed down, and the decoder is permanently out of stock as well, as of February 2009.

Channels Launches

In 2001, Astro Showcase was launched as a free-to-view channel showcasing Asian movies. The following year, Season Pass was launched, showing games and other sporting events. These two have now became pay-per-view channels under the Astro Box Office name.

Until February 2007, Astro News was co-produced with the national news agency BERNAMA, with the former taking 12 minutes of the programme for general, The news is also translated into Mandarin on Astro AEC, Malay on Astro RIA and Tamil on Astro Vaanavil. In February 2007, BERNAMA took over the full half-hour production pending a revamp of the internal news team at Astro, in which Astro Awani was launched on September 6, 2007.

From May 2007, Astro added another 9 channels into its line-up. The nine channels that were announced were Jia Yu Channel, Discovery Science, Discovery Real Time, Discovery Home & Health, E! Entertainment, Astro Vellithirai, Sun Music, Eurosport and The Golf Channel. The first three channels were already added into Astro's line-up on April 26, 2007. The other six channels became available from May 1, 2007 onwards. Another two channels The History Channel and the Crime & Investigation Network joined the Astro platform on June 15, 2007.

In June 2007, Astro introduced Astro On Demand, a new near-video on demand channel featuring the latest TVB dramas from Hong Kong. On July 1, 2007 onwards, Astro On-Demand Preview was launched, and it is entirely devoted to telling the Astro subscribers about this new channel. A total of 31 channels have been allocated for this new service. [2]

On October 13, 2007, Astro added seven new channels into its repertoire, including the Asian Food Channel, Astro Hua Hee Dai, Astro Oasis, Astro Xiao Tai Yang, Chutti TV, KBS World and Makkal TV. This increased the number of television channels on Astro to 80.

Astro B.yond

ASTRO All Asia Networks plc launched a new high-definition television service in Malaysia called Astro B.yond on December 11, 2009. The roll out of these services is estimated to cost some RM200 million, including marketing and operating costs of approximately RM150 million, over the next financial year, ahead of revenue and earnings from these services. [3]

Astro B.yond will also introduce Digital Video Recording (DVR), Video on Demand (VOD) and IPTV connectivity over the period of 24 months. Assuming a success, Astro could do away with the satellite dish with the introduction of internet TV.[citation needed]

The Astro B.yond decoder is a rebranded Pace plc DS-830NA.

According to a press release, Astro plans to make up to at least 10 HD channels available to B.yond subscribers by the end of 2010.

Service and technical information

Both old (bottom) and new (top) Astro satellite dish or mini-dish.

The direct-to-home (DTH), is broadcast as high-power Ku-band transmissions utilising the transponders of the MEASAT satellite system. Reception of the service signals uses a fixed 60-cm diameter dish antenna.

Ku-band signals can be affected by rain attenuation (rain fade), making it susceptible to frequent outages in heavy rainfall areas such as Malaysia,the operators of Astro have employed a tailor-made system to boost power of the satellite delivery system to overcome this problem. The service availability of 99.7%, however, is still a topic of much debate by subscribers.

Set Top Box Manufacturers

Generation Manufacturer Model Year Introduced
1st generation/launch product Philips INS 610 1996
2nd generation Philips DSX7072 1999
Nokia DVB 8750s 1999
3rd generation Philips DSR4201 2004
Thomson DVB 850s 2004

Encryption

Since its launch, Astro transmits programming with encryption to mitigate signal piracy. The receiver (also known as an IRD, or "integrated receiver-decoder") utilizes ISO/IEC 7816 smart cards which tell the receiver how to decrypt the programming for viewing. Astro is now utilizing a third generation of access smart cards.

  • The first generation of smart cards were used until 2004. The encryption uses the SECA Mediaguard.
  • The second generation of smart cards were introduced in 2004 and used until 2008. The encryption uses the improved version of Mediaguard.
  • The third generation of smart cards were introduced in 2008. This is the current "standard issue" smart card. It uses the NDS VideoGuard encryption system.

Packages / subscription

The Astro service uses the package pricing model commonly used by other pay-TV providers in which channels are grouped into packages (i.e. basic and premium) made available to subscribers at a monthly fee.

Since 15 November 2007, there has been a slight alteration to the packages and prices. The Family package, which is the lowest entry level, offers a fee of RM37.95. Subscribers who pay this amount will only enjoy channels grouped under Astro Family banner that offers 26 channels, including six free-to-air terrestrial television networks, in-house vernacular channels and some international networks.

The basic packages (also known as Mini packages) are categorised into four groups known as Variety (Entertainment channels such as MTV and E!), Learning (Educational and documentary-related channels such as Discovery Channel), Fun (Children's channels such as Nickelodeon) and News. The sports package – initially a mini package – is now offered separately, and must be subscribed with another Mini package at least.

Premium packages (known as Super packages) include the Movie and Dynasty (Chinese language channels) packages. They are offered at a higher rate than the other available package.

Also, four new packages, collectively known as the Plus packages, were introduced to Astro since 15 November 2007. They include the Metro package (such as Discovery Home & Health), the Maharaja package (Tamil language channels), the Gold package and the New Emperor package (both Chinese language packages). Subscribers cannot select both the Gold Package and the New Emperor Package as four channels in the Gold Package are available within the New Emperor Package as well.[4].

Channel line-up

Programme classifications

At present, there are two classifications on Astro. They are:

  • U - For general viewing, suitable to viewing audiences of all ages.
  • 18 - For viewing audiences 18 and above only.

Broadband and internet-based services

At the end of 1999, Astro's operator MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems announced a proposal to provide high-speed satellite-delivered Internet access services. The service, called @stronet-JARING, was to be a one-way terrestrial return system, whereby Malaysian ISP Jaring would provide the outbound data service through dial-up (and later broadband) access. Downloads would be received via the MEASAT satellite system, which promised a maximum download speed of 6.5Mbit/s. A PC-based trial was performed in early 2000 with a maximum download speed of 400kbit/s. Other proposed services included Multicast File Transfer and Multicast Streaming Delivery. The service, however, has never been made available publicly.

In May 2005, Astro launched Astro.tv, a broadband TV portal. Initially, it had two video channels: Akademi Fantasia Xtra and GOALTV. The service required a separate subscription fee charged to the subscribers mobile phone bill. It was rebranded as Astro Broadband.

Viewership

As at 31st Jan 2009, the service has over 2.65 million customers, which represents 45% of Malaysian TV homes.[5]

Red button feature

During high-profile events, Astro adds a Red-Button interactive feature to some channels to provide a link to several different feeds from the event, thereby enabling viewers to select between events or sporting matches that may be taking place simultaneously. The Red Button feature is also used to provide interactive services such as programming updates, event news, scores, contest information and sponsor advertising. The service is accessible by pressing the Red Button on the set-top box's remote control when prompted by a "Press Red Button" logo on-screen.

The Red Button service was first used in June 2004 to provide enhanced services for the program Akademi Fantasia, the localised version of Mexico's La Academia.

Other multi-feed/channel events using the Red Button feature:

Event No of feeds / channels Broadcast channel
2004 Summer Olympics 6 Astro Supersport (Channel 80)
2006 Winter Olympics 3 Astro Supersport (Channel 80)
2006 Commonwealth Games 3 Astro Supersport (Channel 80)
2006 FIFA World Cup 8 Astro Supersport (Channel 83)
2006 Asian Games 4 Astro Supersport (Channel 83)
2008 Thomas Cup 1 Astro Supersport (Channel 816)
UEFA Euro 2008 3 Astro Supersport (Channel 816)
2008 Summer Olympics 11 Astro Supersport (Channel 816)

Astro Mobile TV

In October 2008, Astro launched Astro Mobile TV which provides over 20 channels some exclusively.AStro Mobile TV is only available to Maxis 3G customers. The customer pays no data fee for the streaming video.

International operations

Brunei

The Astro service is currently also available in Brunei under the brand Kristal-Astro. Launched on 24 January 2000, the Brunei operation is a joint venture company established between Brunei company DST through its subsidiary, Kristal Sdn Bhd (51.1%) and Measat Broadcast Network Systems (48.9%). That service comprises over 80 DTH television and radio channels.

Indonesia

A joint venture company, PT Direct Vision, in which Astro will hold a 20% stake, operates the Astro service in Indonesia. 48 channels including 5 locally produced Indonesia exclusive channels were launched under the Astro brand. The service ceased in October 2008.

India

Sun Direct is a 80:20 joint venture between the Kalanidhi Maran family and the Astro Group of Malaysia. Sun Direct adds around 200,000 subscribers per month in the south and the target is three million plus active subscribers by the end of this fiscal nationally. Sun Direct is the first one to adopt the advanced MPEG4 technology offering better compression and signal quality and is the first one to offer HDTV (High definition) content. Sun Direct offers all customer premises equipments like the dish and Set Top box at no additional cost to the customer, which is a practice followed by DTH platforms across the world.

Awards and accolades

On November 2009, Astro was awarded the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) Chairman’s Award 2009 for its contribution to the pay-TV industry in the region.[citation needed]

See also

References

External links


Template:References

Template:Verify

Astro
Type Subsidiary of Astro All Asia Networks plc
Founded 1996
Headquarters Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Key people Dato' Badri Masri
Dato' Mohamed Khadar Merican
Ralph Marshall
Bernard Anthony Cragg
Chin Kwai Yoong
Rohana Rozhan
Industry Telecommunication
Products Direct broadcast satellite
Website www.astro.com.my

Astro (acronym for All-Asian Satellite Television and Radio Operator) is a subscription-based direct broadcast satellite (DBS) service based in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It transmits digital satellite television and radio to households initially in Malaysia, but also expands to Brunei.

Astro is owned by MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems, which is a subsidiary of Astro All Asia Networks.

In addition to serving consumers, Astro offers service to bars, restaurants, hotels, dorms, and hospitals. The company also offered mobile service (Astro Mobile TV).

Contents

History

File:MEASAT-3 Boeing
Artist's impression of MEASAT-3 orbiting over South-east Asia

The introduction of DBS services, like the American DirecTV and Dish Network (of which Astro was modeled from), was hampered by signal attenuation due to heavy rainfall. As a result, only the less powerful C-band services were available off satellites, which requires the use of cumbersome two to four meter satellite dishes.

The service was launched in 1996 following the launch of the MEASAT-1 satellite, initially consisting of 22 television and 8 radio channels.

In 2001, Astro Showcase was launched as a free-to-view channel showcasing Asian movies. The following year, Season Pass was launched. These two have now became pay-per-view channels under the Astro Box Office name.

Until February 2007, Astro News was co-produced with the national news agency BERNAMA, with the former taking 12 minutes of the programme for general, The news is also translated into Mandarin on Astro AEC, Malay on Astro RIA and Tamil on Astro Vaanavil. In February 2007, BERNAMA took over the full half-hour production pending a revamp of the internal news team at Astro, in which Astro Awani was launched on September 6, 2007.

Since 2003, Astro found it necessary to balance its role both as a pay-television provider and being a media brand station. Programmes and events are treated as products under relevant brands and are managed by a team of channel managers.

In July 2006, Astro announced the Astro Max system[1], a new Astro receiver/decoder integrated with a digital video recorder. This decoder enabled Astro subscribers to record up to 60 hours of programming on a 80GB hard disk. The system would have recorded programming without converting the MPEG-2 digital satellite stream, as such the recorded video is the same high quality as the broadcast feed. Inclusion of 2 tuners enabled the recording of one programme, while viewing another. However, the system was not able to record two channels/programmes at the same time.

Astro MAX included standard features found on digital video recorders such as pausing, rewinding and replaying "live" TV as well as a 30 second skip. The unit also had a 30 minute buffer which constantly records the currently watched program. Full integration with Astro's electronic programme guide enabled easy selection of programmes to be recorded. Additional features included the ability to record all audio tracks and all subtitle tracks on multiple language programming. Copies of programmes recorded would also be transferred to DVD or VHS tape. Up until its phasing out, there was no service fee for the use of the Astro MAX system. The service was permanently closed down, and the decoder is permanently out of stock as well, as of February 2009.

Astro has previously announced that it would introduce 50 new channels with the launch of the MEASAT-3 satellite. However, the satellite and problems with the launch vehicle has pushed back the launch of the satellite from mid-2005 to December 12, 2006.

From May 2007, Astro added another 9 channels into its line-up. The nine channels that were announced are Jia Yu Channel, Discovery Science, Discovery Real Time, Discovery Home & Health, E! Entertainment, Astro Vellithirai,Sun Music, Eurosport and The Golf Channel. The first three channels were already added into Astro's line-up on April 26, 2007. The other six channels became available from May 1, 2007 onwards. These nine channels will be available for free until November 15, 2007. After that, these channels will be available in their respective packages. Another two channels, which are The History Channel and the Crime & Investigation Network, had joined the Astro platform on June 15, 2007.

In June 2007, Astro introduced Astro On Demand, a new near-video on demand channel featuring the latest TVB dramas from Hong Kong on 6 channels. On July 1, 2007 onwards, Astro On-Demand preview was introduced, and it is entirely devoted to telling the Astro subscribers about this new channel. Prior to July 1, 2007, all dramas that were on broadcast on Channel 910 - 916 (now moved to Channel 931 - 937) were free. After that, in July 2007, the introductory price for shows on Astro-On Demand was set at RM 0.99 per episode, for Dynasty Package subscribers, and RM 1.49 per episode, for those who are not. A total of 31 channels have been allocated for this new service. [2]

On October 13, 2007, Astro added seven new channels into its repertoire, including the Asian Food Channel, Astro Hua Hee Dai, Astro Oasis, Astro Xiao Tai Yang, Chutti TV, KBS World and Makkal TV. This increased the number of television channels on Astro to 80.However the pricing for the said limited choice of channels is said to be the highest compared to other operators including Sun DTH which gives more then 200 channels for a nominal fee of less then RM100.The difference between other operators and Astro is that Astro controls all the channels and their offerings by way of joint venture agreements.

On December 20, 2008, Astro finally added the Australia Network to their line up. The channel has been requested by various expatriates and locals alike for some time. A few more channels, including the Fox News Channel, Fox Crime, FX, and several of Radio Televisyen Malaysia digital channels are expected to be added at the end of 2009.

IPTV (Internet protocol TV) is the next wave of technology that can deliver digital TV programming in many forms, be it broadband, wireless or even mobile.

Convergence of technology will shift Astro’s dominant position in delivery of content via satellite technology. In future it will have serious rivals in the many telecoms players in the country. These telcos are conducting trials to perfect their IPTV technology platform even though they are grappling to get content. The traditional TV has also evolved into a box that can do multimedia functions.

“The challenge is to evolve with technology to provide content in whatever form the consumer wants it; via the mobile phone, TV, personal computer and lap top.

“It is not just about IPTV, our vision is to remain network and platform agnostic beyond TV, where our customers will have full control on when, where, what and how they want to watch Astro content; it is about “right time, right place, right content on the consumer chosen device,” Rohana said.

All Astro’s future generation of set top boxes will be IPTV ready and Rohana said this would place “Astro in a good position in terms of new ways of delivering content.”

Whether Astro will continue to subsidise these new generation boxes is not clear but it seems ready to stave off competition.

“Portability of content will become increasingly important and one day, people will be able to use thumb drives or memory cards to plug into content that they want,” Rohana said.

If Astro spent a lot of time previously on customer acquisition, now it also wants to take care of the loyal customers, she said.[3] However, it doesn't happen, as Astro has already abandoned all plans for technological convergence, and its site remains a "shop" for only television and mobile.

Service and technical information

File:Astro satellite
Both old (bottom) and new (top) Astro satellite dish or mini-dish.

The direct-to-home service, branded as Direct-to-U (DTU), is broadcast as high-power Ku-band transmissions utilizing the transponders of the MEASAT satellite system. Reception of the service signals uses a fixed 60-cm diameter dish antenna.

Although Ku-band signals can be affected by rain attenuation (rain fade), making it susceptible to frequent outages in heavy rainfall areas such as Malaysia, the operators of Astro have employed a tailor-made system to boost power of the satellite delivery system to overcome this problem. The service availability of 99.7%, however, is still a topic of much debate by subscribers.

Astro's broadcasts are in DVB-S compliant MPEG-2, and are encrypted prior to transmission, creating a conditional access subscriber service that allows access only to subscribers with a decoder and authorized smartcard. It currently transmits in 4:3 aspect ratio[4][5].

Receivers

Since its launch, Astro and other companies used to manufacture and distribute receivers.

Generation Manufacturer Model Year Introduced
1st generation/launch product Philips INS 610 1996
2nd generation Philips DSX7072 1999
Nokia DVB 8750s 1999
3rd generation Philips DSR4201 2004
Thomson DVB 850s2004 - present (the lasting generation forever)

Encryption

Since its launch, Astro transmits programming with encryption to mitigate signal piracy. The receiver (also known as an IRD, or "integrated receiver-decoder") utilizes ISO/IEC 7816 smart cards which tell the receiver how to decrypt the programming for viewing. Astro is now utilizing a third generation of access smart cards.

  • The first generation of smart cards were used until 2004. The encryption uses the SECA Mediaguard.
  • The second generation of smart cards were introduced in 2004 and used until 2008. The encryption uses the improved version of Mediaguard.
  • The third generation of smart cards were introduced in 2008. This is the current "standard issue" smart card. It uses the NDS VideoGuard encryption system, like many other News Corporation-owned digital platforms.

Packages/Subscription

The Astro service uses the package pricing model commonly used by other pay-TV providers in which channels are grouped into packages (i.e. basic and premium) made available to subscribers at a monthly fee.

Since 15 November 2007, there has been a slight alteration to the packages and prices. The Family package, which is the lowest entry level, offers a fee of RM37.95. Subscribers who pay this amount will only enjoy channels grouped under Astro Family banner that offers 26 channels, including six free-to-air terrestrial television networks, in-house vernacular channels and some international networks.

The basic packages (also known as Mini packages) are categorised into four groups known as Variety (Entertainment channels such as MTV and E!), Learning (Educational and documentary-related channels such as Discovery Channel), Fun (Children's channels such as Nickelodeon) and News. The sports package – initially a mini package – is now offered separately, and must be subscribed with another Mini package at least.

Premium packages (known as Super packages) include the Movie and Dynasty (Chinese language channels) packages. They are offered at a higher rate than the other available package.

Also, four new packages, collectively known as the Plus packages, were introduced to Astro since 15 November 2007. They include the Metro package (such as Discovery Home & Health and BBC Entertainment), the Maharaja package (Tamil language channels), the Gold package and the New Emperor package (both Chinese language packages). Subscribers cannot select both the Gold Package and the New Emperor Package as four channels in the Gold Package are available within the New Emperor Package as well.[6]

Channel line-up

Programme classifications

At present, there are two classifications on Astro. They are:

  • U - For general viewing, suitable to viewing audiences of all ages.
  • 18 - For viewing audiences 18 and above only.

Broadband & internet-based services

At the end of 1999, Astro's operator MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems announced a proposal to provide high-speed satellite-delivered Internet access services. The service, called @stronet-JARING, was to be a one-way terrestrial return system, whereby Malaysian ISP Jaring would provide the outbound data service through dial-up (and later broadband) access. Downloads would be received via the MEASAT satellite system, which promised a maximum download speed of 6.5Mbit/s. A PC-based trial was performed in early 2000 with a maximum download speed of 400kbit/s. Other proposed services included Multicast File Transfer and Multicast Streaming Delivery. The service, however, has never been made available publicly.

In May 2005, Astro launched Astro.tv, a broadband TV portal. At the time of closedown, it had two video channels: Akademi Fantasia Xtra and GOALTV. The service required a separate subscription fee charged to the subscribers mobile phone bill. It was rebranded as Astro Broadband. However, this service has closed down, with no word that it will ever come back, perhaps permanently, as Astro remains true to its name: only television.

Viewership

As at 31st Jan 2009, the service has over 2.65 million customers, which represents 45% of Malaysian TV homes.[7]

Red button feature

During high-profile events, Astro adds a Red-Button interactive feature to some channels to provide a link to several different feeds from the event, thereby enabling viewers to select between events or sporting matches that may be taking place simultaneously. The Red Button feature is also used to provide interactive services such as programming updates, event news, scores, contest information and sponsor advertising. The service is accessible by pressing the Red Button on the set-top box's remote control when prompted by a "Press Red Button" logo on-screen.

The Red Button service was first used in June 2004 to provide enhanced services for the program Akademi Fantasia, the localised version of Mexico's La Academia.

Other multi-feed/channel events using the Red Button feature:

Event No of feeds / channels Broadcast channel
2004 Summer Olympics 6 Astro Supersport (Channel 80)
2006 Winter Olympics 3 Astro Supersport (Channel 80)
2006 Commonwealth Games 3 Astro Supersport (Channel 80)
2006 FIFA World Cup 8 Astro Supersport (Channel 83)
2006 Asian Games 4 Astro Supersport (Channel 83)
2008 Thomas Cup 1 Astro Supersport (Channel 816)
UEFA Euro 2008 3 Astro Supersport (Channel 816)
2008 Summer Olympics 11 Astro Supersport (Channel 816)

Astro Mobile TV

In October 2008, Astro launched Astro Mobile TV which currently provides 18 channels, all of which are mobile versions of existing Astro TV channels.It is,however,currently not available as an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Ownership & management

The operators of the Astro service, MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems, are a wholly owned subsidiary of Astro All Asia Networks plc, a consortium company comprising of government-linked and private companies. Major shareholders include the Usaha Tegas Group (42.7%) and Khazanah Nasional Berhad (21.6%). Over 35.7% of the equity is rumored to be owned by either the Malaysian government or News Corporation, an Australian-American company chaired by Rupert Murdoch. Astro was listed on Bursa Malaysia in October 2003.

Key personnel

  • Ralph Marshall, Deputy Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
  • Rohana Rozhan, Chief Executive Officer (Astro television)
  • Grant Ferguson, Chief Financial Officer

International operations

Brunei

The Astro service is currently also available in Brunei under the brand Kristal-Astro. Launched in January 2000, the Brunei operations are a joint venture between Brunei company Kristal (51.1%) and Measat Broadcast Network Systems (48.9%). That service comprises 33 DTH television and radio channels.

Indonesia

A joint venture company, PT Direct Vision, in which Astro will hold a 20% stake, operates the Astro service in Indonesia. 48 channels including 5 locally produced Indonesia exclusive channels were launched under the Astro brand. The service has been ceased since October 2008.

India

Sun Direct is a 80:20 joint venture between the Kalanidhi Maran family and the Astro Group of Malaysia. Sun Direct adds around 200,000 subscribers per month in the south and the target is three million plus active subscribers by the end of this fiscal nationally. Sun Direct is the first one to adopt the advanced MPEG4 technology offering better compression and signal quality and is the first one to offer HD TV (High definition) content. Sun Direct offers all customer premises equipments like the dish and Set Top box at no additional cost to the customer, which is a practice followed by DTH platforms across the world.

Marketing and commercials

Commercials are inserted into most feeds by digital video and audio server technology by delaying incoming satellite feeds. It has been done for editing certain programmes and replacing commercials, as government laws prohibit commercials produced from overseas.

Since 2007, some of the commercials on Astro resemble to that of radio commercials: they are adapted from Astro's radio network.

Astro is a name of a media brand that is similar to ntv7, a terrestrial television channel, advertising items other than its services, whom it treated them as products under relevant brands.

Future

The Economist has suggested that News Corporation would eventually like to merge Astro and AAAN with its US satellite operation, DirecTV, BSkyB and possibly its STAR TV network to form a global satellite TV companyTemplate:Fact. However, News Corporation has now sold its stake in DirecTV; in return for the sale Murdoch got John Malone's stake in News Corp. Astro is also rumoured to be interested in adding NFL Sunday Ticket (currently available on DirecTV in which Astro is based on in the US). Astro has recently purchased Newcastle Football club, but the details have yet to be finalized.

Gallery

See also

References

External links

Template:Astro All Asia Networks plc


Simple English

Astro is a subscription-based direct broadcast satellite service based in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It transmits digital satellite television and radio to households in Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. Astro is owned by MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems, which is a subsidiary of Astro All Asia Networks plc.

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