It’s official: Astro’s dedicated 24hr e-sports channel launches in June
By Goh Thean Eu April 27, 2016
- New eGG channel to include live tournaments, gaming walkthroughs, etc.
- Astro plans to market channel outside of Malaysia too
PAY-TV operator Astro Holdings Malaysia Bhd will launch its first dedicated 24-hour e-sports channel in June, part of an effort to remain relevant to younger audiences, as first reported by Digital News Asia (DNA) in March.
The e-sports channel, dubbed eGG (or Every Good Game), will be available for free to all Astro and Astro-on-the Go customers, via Channel 808.
“E-sports is a growing global phenomenon among millennials and is expected to reach an audience of over 218 million worldwide by end-2016,” said Astro head of sports Lee Choong Khay.
“We believe that the dedicated 24/7 e-sports channel eGG will play a pivotal role in bringing together a connected Asean community of e-sports fans.
“eGG plans to partner with game organisers and developers to bring live top-tier global tournaments and on-demand content featuring pubstomps, gaming walkthroughs, expert guides, documentaries, game house tours and weekly highlights,” he said in an official statement.
This also means that Astro will be sourcing content for eGG from the ground up – that is, it is not launching an existing e-sports channel that may already have its own fan base or followers.
Although Lee did not reveal the names of the companies Astro is working with, DNA sources revealed that these companies include gaming promoter Turtle Entertainment, which operates ESL Gaming; game developer and digital distribution company Valve Corp; game developer Riot Games Inc (a subsidiary of China’s Tencent Group that developed League of Legends), and consumer Internet platform provider Garena.
Expansion and monetisation
Astro had already broadcast some of the world’s major e-sports tournaments, starting with The International 2015 Defence of the Ancient (Dota) 2 Championship (TI5) last August.
After a strong response to its TI5 broadcast, which attracted 1.5 million viewers, the company brought in other tournaments including League of Legends World, Blizzcon’s Hearthstone and StarCraft 2, Dota 2 The Shanghai Majors, as well as FIFA Interactive World Cup.
Before these Astro broadcasts, e-sports fans could only get their taste of the action from YouTube or via Amazon.com Inc’s Twitch.tv.
Some may feel that it is necessary to broadcast such programmes because fans can already get everything off the Internet, but Astro believes that a dedicated TV channel could bring a different experience to gaming fans.
The eGG channel would allow large groups of friends to watch live e-sports tournaments together, and to cheer together – just as with watching a live football game!
According to DNA’s source, the company also plans to market eGG to other parts of the region.
“There are plans to make eGG available to Astro’s over-the-top (OTT) video service subsidiary Tribe, as well as other local platforms in other countries,” said the source. “This would give the company a potential additional revenue stream.”
According to IDC, online games revenue in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18.53% and hit US$30 billion by 2018.
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