Week in Review: Content wars heat up, on all fronts

  • MDeC looks to strengthen gaming ecosystem with US$1mil investment
  • DNA starts adding dual-language video reviews for Personal Tech channel

Week in Review: Content wars heat up, on all frontsWHILE we had 10 articles as part of our Telco Deep Dive PDF that became available for download today, it may be surprising to some that we did not cover the threat of OTT (over-the-top) players.
 
Well, with four CEO (chief executive officer) interviews, and other topics to highlight, we had enough issues to write about this year. It is definitely a trend that we are watching but we do not think that, messaging apps aside, our telcos have anything major to worry about this year.
 
The future? That depends on the steps they are taking today.
 
Interestingly, one of the steps their regional peers are taking is to invest in video-based OTT services. For instance, we have Singtel with its Hooq service; and then just in April, Malaysian-based Catcha Group got a US$15-million (RM55.6-million) investment from Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company for its iflix OTT service.
 
In Malaysia, other than the telcos, pay TV-operator Astro would seem the most likely candidate to be vulnerable to these OTT players. Not surprisingly, this was the main line of questioning that CEO Rohana Rozhan had to deal with at the media briefing on Astro’s Q1 performance on June 17.
 
But Astro is no deer frozen in its tracks, its sight and senses blinded by the onrushing wave of consumers using VPN (virtual private network) services to bypass national broadcasting restrictions, or the various video-based OTT services.
 
No, this is a content player that really has been proactively working to position itself to be where its customers will be.
 
Its Astro-On-The-Go mobile app has 1.5 million downloads. It is unclear how many are actually using the service that comes free for existing Astro subscribers. But Astro says it is also improving the user experience by soon allowing users to download movies which they can then watch on the go.
 
Its quarterly results also indicate that it has the financial heft to go out and compete ferociously with any upstart competitor, and even buy into them or buy them out. Revenue for the first quarter of 2015 stood at RM1.33 billion (US$355 million), versus RM1.25 billion (US$334 million) in the first quarter last year, a 6% rise. Its net profit jumped 31% to RM168 million (US$45 million).
 
While its competitors talk up the quality of their content. Astro thinks its content is cool as well. “If a consumer is looking for the best content, in terms of breadth, depth and newness, I think that’s where Astro’s strengths come in,” Rohana says.
 
Speaking of content, video is supposed to be king in the future, especially for news sites. We at DNA are getting ready. We have started adding video to our reviews, and in Bahasa Malaysia as well!
 
We want to test how well the Bahasa videos go. Do check them out on our Personal Tech channel.
 
Meanwhile, Multimedia Development Corporation is investing US$1 million into bringing a games accelerator run by GameFounders into Malaysia from August 2015 to August 2017.
 
MDeC wants to boost the ecosystem around the games sector, and hopes the spillover effect from the four accelerator programmes over the two years will help fast-track this.
 
Before launching GameFounders Asia in Kuala Lumpur, the programme was run for two years in Estonia and according to its cofounder Kadri Ugand, did very well there. You can the read the details in my article, but MDeC is clearly hoping for a similar boost.
 
Have a restful weekend and a productive week ahead.
 
Editor’s Picks:
 
Astro unfazed by emergence of new VOD and OTT rivals
 
TM on Internet disruption: We took all necessary action
 
MDeC hopes for Estonia impact with GameFounders Asia
 
Telco Deep Dive: Customer experience key to Maxis digital strategy
 
Veeam CEO confident of taking on ‘older, slower’ rivals
 
Dell out to fill the gaps in changing competitive landscape
 
DNA Video: Samsung Galaxy S6 edge … and the US$92K Iron Man!
 
 
Previous Instalments:
 
Week in Review: Telco foul play, and a games catalyst
 
Week in Review: Enter a tycoon and a new fund
 
Week in Review: Of funding, courtship and zombies
 
Week in Review: Speed is not a thrill but a necessity
 
Week in Review: Of IP, and impact reports

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