Report: Cable TV operator Ansa Broadcast set to challenge Astro

Ansa’s emergence could put pressure on Astro’s 20-year dominance, as its exclusivity clause ended earlier in February this year. — Picture by K.E. Ooi
Ansa’s emergence could put pressure on Astro’s 20-year dominance, as its exclusivity clause ended earlier in February this year. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 — A former cable TV operator named Ansa Broadcast Sdn Bhd is set to challenge Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd’s hold on the satellite pay-TV scene, The Star reported today.

Quoting Hong Leong Investment Bank (HLIB), the report said Ansa Broadcast is a rebranding of cable TV operator U Television, a subsidiary of the Berjaya Corporation Bhd conglomerate.

“While details remain scarce, we understand that Ansa is currently deciding which satellite solution to adopt, either to lease bandwidth from operators or launch its own satellite.

“Implementation may take some time before service is officially launched,” HLIB said in its report published yesterday.

The Star said Ansa’s emergence will put pressure on Astro’s 20-year dominance, as its exclusivity clause ended earlier in February this year.

HLIB also noted that Ansa Broadcast can disrupt the market by offering aggressive pricing and content variances, compared to failed non-satellite broadcasters such as ABNXcess, MiTV and Mega TV.

As such, HLIB has downgraded Astro’s share to “hold” status at a target price of RM2.47.

“Astro is facing dismal advertising expenditure growth due to weak consumer sentiment,” it said.

“Besides, the challenging business environment from aggressive shifts in the media platform from traditional to digital is leaving the company in a tough position.”

Astro’s share traded at RM2.69 at closing time yesterday.

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