Best-in-class Astro sets new standards in entertainment
on demand (VOD) and IPTV connectivity.
DATO’ ROHANA ROZHAN CEO of Astro
Digital pioneers: the world’s first end-to-end digital broadcaster, Astro recently launched Astro B.yond, Malaysia’s first high-definition service, which the company will expand over the next two years to include digital video recording, video on demand and IPTV connectivity
Two years ago, Astro also began to move from entertainment to ‘entertainment plus’, as Dato’ Rohana calls the new areas into which the company has moved – namely, education and sports. In collaboration with the government, Astro launched Kampus Astro, a programme to encourage lifelong learning. Kampus Astro will supply every single one of the 10,000 schools in Malaysia with an Astro learning package and personal video recorder. Stadium Astro is the company’s sports brand that, while satiating sports fans’ needs for live events and news, goes beyond and encourages an active and healthy lifestyle, as well as promoting good habits such as sportsmanship, exercise and eating well. From providing best-in-class entertainment options through to encouraging a positive lifestyle, Astro covers the spectrum in adding quality to Malaysian everyday life.
Astro All-Asia Networks Plc is bringing about some of the most dynamic developments in the multimedia industry, not only in Malaysia, but around the globe In an increasingly competitive world, innovation is crucial to keep ahead. Companies like Astro continue to be a leader in the marketplace by staying ahead of consumer trends and the competition. Since its inception in 1996, it has always been a story of evolution using innovation for every part of its end-to-end delivery – from its broadcast infrastructure, satellite capacity, home unit to its content and customers. Today, Astro remains as Malaysia’s largest direct-to-home satellite (DTH) pay television service with 50 per cent penetration of total Malaysia TV households, mainly due to its “global best-in-class” pioneering practices. Having already penetrated nearly half of Malaysia’s TV households, Astro places a strong emphasis on its customer We caught up with Dato’ Rohana Rozhan, CEO of Astro to find out how this 15 year old company has grown from strength to strength to be South-East Asia’s biggest cross media broadcaster. Dato’ Rohana explains, “Astro is a market leader in Malaysia, and there is plenty of room for us to grow. How we grow is through evolving and continued innovation. Astro understands platforms in terms of TV, radio and other media; we understand our customers and their surrounding community, their diversity and their trends. The story of Astro’s growth will continue to be one of innovation and evolution and will focus on the things that we know we are good at, such as platforms, as well as content and customers. Astro is unique because it has had the privilege of starting its operations and growing within Malaysia, which, although it is a cliché, is truly Asia. In this way we understand the different cultures, ethnicities and languages – we have Malay, Chinese, Indian and English and that is where our proficiencies are going to be.” Innovation at Astro is ingrained in the whole value chain, from IT and technology to creativity, content and service relationships, as these not only affect the company’s success in retaining its market share, but also help determine and design content. “Our ongoing challenge remains to better understand our customer, our custom So, to better address these expectations and keep abreast of the trends, the company in December 2009 launched Astro B.yond, which paves the way to new advance services, starting with Malaysia’s first ever high- Innovation lies at the heart of Astro. Dato Rohana explains, “A lot of people think of innovation as being purely technology and IT. Innovation to us is present everywhere – in content, in customers, in creativity and in our people. Innovation is in the whole value segmentation and relationship perspective. In addition to catering to an ethnically, linguistically and culturally diverse market, Astro recognises the fact that Malaysia’s population is quite young. Nearly one-third of Malaysians are under the age of 15, and almost half are under 24. These age groups can be labelled ‘digital natives’ – young people who’ve had access to digital infrastructure for practically all of their lives and treat media, internet, video games etc. differently than how their parents do. Therefore, when considering a TV household, individuals must also be taken into account. The mother, father and children all consume media differently and have different expectations. trends and our customer content needs so that these can be translated into products and services,” says Dato’ Rohana. “We have to understand what they want, provide it for them and plan for the next customers, while prioritising and getting the timing right so that we’re not too far ahead, but just ahead enough in the curve to maintain our market leadership, to always stay relevant to our customers,” she adds. chain.” Astro employs IT to achieve this end: its excellent CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system allows the company to develop a lifelong tie from an analytical, er
definition (HD) broadcast service, thus setting yet another new industry benchmark. Astro customers and sports fans are already celebrating the fact that, thanks to this product, they will be able to watch this
summer’s 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa in both SD and HD.
Over the next two years, Astro B.yond will continue to grow and develop in phases to include digital video recording (DVR), video
Dato’ Rohana sums it well, “While Astro rides on the ‘best in classes’ we would also like to be represented in their global roadmaps, which means that it is a win-win partnership, because we help our partners to understand the nuances of operating in this region, and actually put that on the roadmap. They can then apply that to other rollouts in similar countries within the region. It is a true partnership; and we actually bring the nuances of this region, and put it on the roadmap.” ●
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