Astro sees increase in TV adex amidst 920% jump in profit

Astro's TV adex grew 8% year-on-year (yoy) to RM86 million during the second quarter of the financial year ended 31 January 2020 (Q2 2020), supported by strong TV viewership share. According to Astro's financial statement, digital adex stood at RM12 million, underpinned by average monthly unique viewers of 10.1 million across its digital brands such as Astro Awani, Gempak, Xuan, Ulagam and Stadium Astro.

Despite the increase in TV adex, Astro still saw an overall 3% decline in adex to RM302 million for the first half of 2020. Even so, the financial statement said that Astro still outperformed the industry adex, which shrank by 5%. On a whole, the company posted a 920% year-on-year increase in profit to RM169 million and a 13% yoy dip in revenue to RM1.2 billion.

Among the list of key initiatives rolled out by the company was the launch of a new user interface in July by Astro GO for easier navigation, better content discoverability, enhanced search and recommendations based on viewing behaviour. Also, its multilingual entertainment and lifestyle platform, the SYOK app, has seen "a healthy take-up" with an average 51 minutes time spent per session, according to Astro.

The company added that local and vernacular content continues to drive fan engagement. Movies produced by Astro's film production company Astro Shaw, in particular Boboiboy Movie 2, became the highest grossing animated film in Malaysia with box office sales of RM29 million. According to Astro, the movie beat Hollywood titles such as The Incredibles 2, Big Hero 6 and How To Train Your Dragon. Astro also recently launched a mixed martial arts movie Sangkar in collaboration with Media Prima, Infinitus Gold and mm2 Entertainment.

Meanwhile, its latest dramas such as Curi-Curi Cinta, Setelah Terlafaznya Akad and Sweet Dreams also grew from strength to strength, garnering TV viewership of 3.2 million, 2.6 million and 2.4 million respectively. Earlier this year, Astro also launched the first iQIYI branded channel, iQIYI HD, offering exclusive and latest originals by the channel to its consumers.

According to Astro, its TV viewership share currently stands at 75%, with over 1.0 million connected set-top-boxes. There was also growth in On Demand video downloads by 38% to 33 million and average weekly viewing time jumped 11% to 462 minutes. Meanwhile, Astro GO's registered users rose by 19% to 2.3 million, the financial statement read.

Chairman Tun Zaki Azmi said in a competitive media landscape, Astro remains highly cash generative, cost disciplined and proactive in its capital management. The Board is pleased to declare a second interim dividend of 2 sen per share.

CEO Henry Tan (pictured) said Astro continues to deliver strong PATAMI with rigorous cost discipline to optimise content spend and operating expenses.

"Concurrently, we are putting in place building blocks for new revenue adjacencies, specifically in broadband and content bundles with Maxis and in OTT through our strategic partnerships with iQIYI and HBO Asia; with more partnerships in the coming months," he added.