MYTV to introduce pay-TV, enable multi-screen delivery by 2022

The OTT segment has room to grow and has yet to reach a saturation point, unlike sectors such as telecommunication, says CEO

by SHAZNI ONG/ pic by BERNAMA

MYTV Broadcasting Sdn Bhd is looking to introduce pay-TV and enable multi-screen services under its current myFreeview offerings by 2022, as the broadcasting company looks to strengthen its presence in the country.

“We are really keen to developing pay-TV services as it would be an eye-opener for viewers to know that besides Astro and HyppTV as pay-TV platforms, MYTV can enable (such) seamless services, too.

“We are also looking to introducing multi-screen delivery via a dongle or over-the-top (OTT) solution. Currently, we are in talks with broadcasters to find suitable content to try and push it through,” MYTV CEO Mazlan Mahdi told reporters after a Bursa Malaysia Bhd-Hong Leong Investment Bank Bhd (HLIB) talk in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Currently, the myFreeview digital TV broadcast can be viewed through MYTV B40 (bottom 40) set-top boxes or integrated digital TV. In the future, viewers can also purchase USB dongles to activate the two new services on mobile devices and digital TVs.

“Looking at it, it is a more economic approach that Malaysians can afford in general, without investing in new devices. We feel the burden of the rakyat. We were told to find a solution that is cost sufficient,” he said, without elaborating further on the matter.

He added that the OTT segment has room to grow and has yet to reach a saturation point, unlike sectors such as telecommunication.

“It is a healthy competition. Media Prima Bhd’s tonton has been surviving all these years. When I spoke to Media Prima Digital Sdn Bhd CEO Rafiq Razali earlier, he is still adamant to push it. We know that paid subscription services are taking up market share, but it does not mean we should stop there.”

There are plenty of good local contents that are still favoured over Western programmes, while the local Malay segment is still needed, Mazlan added.

The authorities have suggested the company to look into cross-border content, and consider extending myFreeview beyond Malaysia.

“We are also looking at opportunities to leverage crossborder contents from Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia into Malaysia using HbbTV interactive technology,” Mazlan said.

The firm has invested up to RM1.1 billion in infrastructure under its capital and operating expenditures.

It hopes to see further developments over the next few years, particularly in bringing more channels onto the myFreeview platform, as well as the development of OTT and linear TV, pay-TV and IPTV (Internet protocol TV).

OTT is a streaming media service offered directly to viewers via Internet, where it bypasses cable, broadcast and satellite TV platforms which normally act as a controller or distributor of such content.

The service can be accessed via a website on personal computers, applications on mobile devices — such as smartphones, tablets, digital media players and video game consoles, and TVs with integrated smart TV features.

Such subscription-based video-on-demand services include Netflix, HBO Max, Apple TV+ and Disney+.

HLIB in a sector note last month said the battle among OTTs is intensifying with the introduction of new providers, namely Disney+ and Apple TV to compete with iflix, Netflix and Astro GO.

Maintaining its ‘Underweight’ call on the industry, the firm said this will pose a challenge for Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd to boost its Astro GO subscriber base of 2.4 million.