Astro has launched a new streaming service named sooka which offers both free and paid content. Inspired by the Malay word suka, meaning "to like", sooka focuses on aggregating and curating content such as live global sports action, Malaysian dramas and entertainment programmes, and sooka exclusives and originals that resonates with Millennials on a mobile-based streaming platform.
Aimed at bridging the gap in the availability and accessibility of local content that Millennials love, sooka seeks to create more hyper-local, relevant content, and making them more accessible to a mobile-first entertainment audience. The latest launch of sooka fulfills one of the goals that Astro hopes to achieve by the financial year ending 31 January 2022. In its financial statement for the fourth quarter ended 31 January 2021, Astro said It will continue executing its transformation plan that encompasses launching its own streaming service for Millennials that combines its vernacular content and premium live sports.
This move by the broadcasting company also comes shortly after Disney+ recently entered Malaysia with Astro as the official distributor. The country's streaming space is also competitive, with streaming companies such as Netflix, tonton, iQIYI and Viu vying for consumers' attention.
Sooka's head of programming, Emarina Mohd Kamal, said sooka's main differentiator is its ability to deliver live sports streaming on mobile for fans, enabling them to get their sports fix anytime. Sooka's launch comes at a time where users today embrace a mobile-first lifestyle and as such are attuned to consuming content online, she added. According to Emarina, the shift in viewing trends had consumers rapidly embracing the new normal digital lifestyle, and great content has become a vital digital asset. The team is also working with creators and production houses to create originals targeted at Millennials. A+M has reached out to Astro for additional information.
Aside from live sports programmes including the English Premier League, Formula 1 Championships, and Wimbledon Grand Slam, Astro's new streaming platform also features local Malay dramas and movies, as well as Chinese and Indian shows. They include Projek: Anchor SPM, Rindu Awak Separuh Nyawa, Jebat, Scammer, The Maid, Ahli Bapak-Bapak Club, and Curi-curi Cinta. There will also be sooka originals such as Hantu Bonceng 2.0, Hawa, and PHD Muzik.
Separately, Astro said in its latest financial statement that it will continue to enhance local content by producing more premium Astro Originals, and seize opportunities for adjacencies in commerce, broadband, digital and OTT. During the fourth quarter ended 31 January this year, Astro reported a 10% revenue dip to about RM1,108.8 million compared to the same period last year and a 4% dip in gross profit to RM430 million.
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