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Business

Astro to launch Malaysia's first shopping channel

KUALA LUMPUR -- In a 60:40 joint venture with South Korea's GS Home Shopping, private broadcaster Astro Malaysia will launch the country's first home shopping channel in the final quarter of the fiscal year ending January 2015 following the rescheduled launch in September of the MEASAT-3B satellite.  

Astro CEO Rohana Rozha, center, announced plans June 19 to launch Malaysia's first shopping channel.

     Malaysia's dominant pay-TV company, Astro plans to market lifestyle and household products primarily to ethnic Malays who represent 60% of its 4 million customers.

     "We expect the home shopping business to contribute about 500 million ringgit ($154 million) to our top line in 5 years' time," Liew Swee Lin, Astro's chief commercial officer, told reporters on Thursday.

     The dedicated new channel will also be available over the Internet and accessible through computers, tablets and smart phones, making Astro another entry into the already crowded online shopping market.

     Astro's business has already been boosted this year by the FIFA World Cup. Astro sport packages offer three channels screening soccer, golf and motor racing. Its normal subscriber base of 90,000 has been boosted by 72,000 new customers paying on an ad hoc basis to watch all 64 matches live from Brazil. Astro holds exclusive country rights to broadcast the World Cup, 2014's top sporting event.   

     Astro's year-on-year revenue grew 11% in its first quarter to 1.25 billion ringgit ($388 million) with profits up 13% to 128 million ringgit. Astro has a penetration rate of 58% among households with TVs.

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