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Astro boosting regional content through media partnerships

Malaysian TV operator allocates half its spend to Asian titles

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Astro, the Malaysian pay-TV operator, aims to be a major player in Asian content over the next five years.   © Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR -- Astro Malaysia Holdings, the country's largest pay-TV operator, is increasing partnerships with regional production houses to improve content standards and market presence.

Astro, which reaches over 70% of Malaysian households with televisions, will work with renowned directors and production companies from China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand in a bid to become a key player in Asian content over the next five years.

"We will prioritize and increase our content spend on signature, vernacular and ASEAN intellectual properties by 50%," said Henry Tan, Astro's chief operating officer.

In Indonesia, Astro is linking up with the director Ifa Isfansyah and screenwriter Salman Aristo to co-produce DOSA, the Malay word for sin, a mini-series. It is also working with Screenplay Films to co-produce and distribute a sequel to an Astro original, Polis Evo2, which follows an anti-narcotics squad and is due for cinema release next year in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Astro has also secured the horror series 3 A.M. Bangkok Ghost Stories from Thailand's Five Star Production, and the movie Door with Manila's Epicmedia Productions. It has a licensing agreement for the remake of the movie The Journey with China's mm2 Entertainment and India's Wee Folk Entertainment, and has teamed up with CJ E&M of South Korea to co-produce original titles with "regional appeal" for ASEAN, and to distribute Korean content.

Originally a satellite TV operator, Astro has in recent years been turning more to digital content to meet increasing demand for online viewing. Tribe, the operator's online video streaming service in Indonesia and the Philippines, achieved one million downloads last month after its first year.

Astro made its announcements on Wednesday in Bali, Indonesia at APOS 2017, a gathering of Asian media players0

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