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Thursday, July 18, 2024

ASTRO Reports Q4FY24 Profit of $US$9.3 Million

Astro Malaysia Holdings Berhad (AMH) has reported result highlights for the fourth quarter of the financial year ended 31 January 2024 (Q4FY24).

Highlights include:

  • PATAMI + >100% q-o-q to RM44mn
  • Adex +11% q-o-q to RM110mn
  • Broadband base +21% y-o-y
  • ARPU increased by RM1.50 y-o-y to RM99.70

Amid ongoing macroeconomic headwinds and foreign currency volatility, Astro’s Q4FY24 says its revenue was resilient q-o-q at RM820mn. Normalised PATAMI, which excludes unrealised forex losses on transponder lease liabilities, closed at RM35mn. The Group generated free cashflows of RM134mn, 3.8x of Normalised PATAMI and remains prudent and proactive in its capital management amid the known macro and industry challenges. The Group recorded a full-year Normalised PATAMI of RM181mn in FY24. As previously advised, the Group’s dividend policy is to pay dividends annually out of consolidated PATAMI. The dividend declared in respect of FY24 amounted to 0.25 sen per share, equating to a 31% payout ratio for the full year.

Euan Smith, Group CEO of Astro said: “Delivery of world-class content and services; accelerating growth in new businesses and transforming our legacy cost base to reflect the new realities of the Pay-TV landscape continues to be our key focus. Despite a rather turbulent economic landscape and the challenges of reinvention faced by Pay-TV operators globally, Astro remains resilient, implementing multiple initiatives that broaden our technology accessibility and convenience, as well as diversifying our business.

“We continue to lead the content landscape, producing highly successful signatures and dramas which garnered great traction amongst our viewers. All Stars Gegar Vaganza, Malaysia’s No.1 show, needs no introduction with Season 10 being a huge success drawing over 8mn TV viewers nationwide. Immediately after, The Masked Singer Malaysia Season 4 marked a remarkable milestone as the show was held live every Sunday night for the very first time.

“Our drama series and movies have once again proved we are the best storytellers in the nation. Dramas such as My Famous Ex-Boyfriend, Layang-Layang Perkahwinan, Takdir Itu Milik Aku and Hero Seorang Cinderella 2 are driving high engagement amongst viewers across all our platforms. We are confident that fans will be pleased with our Ramadan and Raya offerings as we deliver a compelling slate of crowd favourites, impactful and endearing titles to usher in the festivities.

“Moreover, Astro Originals continues to release innovative series that defy conventional storytelling. Our latest production, I.D, depicts the manipulation of personal data for individual gain over the security of others. As a responsible content producer, we aim to be a catalyst for edutainment, bringing to the fore real-life issues such as online scams and data theft which have been depicted so brilliantly in the series. Similarly exciting titles such as Framed, X-Change and Project: Exit will be making their way onto screens soon.

“Apart from the aforementioned firsts, Sports on Astro marked a true historical moment during the final match of Piala Malaysia between JDT and Terengganu was aired in Dolby Atmos as well as 4K UHD. Harimau Malaya’s unforgettable performance against South Korea, one of Asia’s best teams at the AFC Asian Cup was televised live on Astro, and we were honoured to be given the opportunity to bring the nation together to cheer for our national team thus providing an exhilarating viewing experience for our fellow Malaysians.

“The return of the highly successful Liga M also attested to our commitment in supporting local sports which garnered 8mn in viewership in season 2023. Another major sporting highlight that will see our national athletes taking centre stage is the Thomas & Uber Cups, which will be aired on Astro LIVE from Chengdu, China.

“As we accelerate into 2024, we are thrilled to welcome our customers in joining us on our journey of discovering more amazing memories and experiences with Astro.”

Key Highlights

  • Best of Live Sports, Content, Astro Originals and Local Movies: ASTRO’s blockbuster movies collected RM103mn at the box office with Polis Evo 3 and Malbatt Misi Bakara leading the way. The Experts, starring Dato’ Aaron Aziz and Projek Kahar with Amir Ahnaf will be appearing in cinemas soon.
  • Syurga Itu Bukan Mudah became our most buzzworthy drama in late 2023 with an extraordinary 40mn reach across social media platforms, while Layang-Layang Perkahwinan strengthened ASTRO’s drama belt, reaching peak TV viewership of 802K and over 2mn streams.
  • Hael Husaini, one of ASTRO’s key talents, made No.1 on iTunes and YouTube Music Malaysia & Brunei with his much-awaited single, Diam, which was used in tandem with ASTRO’s drama, My Famous Ex-Boyfriend.
  • ASTRO’s local sports viewing experience was elevated with Piala Malaysia Player Cams, giving audiences a new viewpoint of the game & attracting close to 1mn views on social media.
  • Astro also entered the Malaysia Book of Records with the Longest Thaipusam Festival Celebration Live Broadcast, and the Longest Non-Stop Music Video Launch on a Pop-Up Channel with Elly Mazlein’s Sayap.

Ultra and Ulti Boxes installations grew 22% y-o-y. Over 1mn customers now enjoy ASTRO’s On Demand service.

Growth in Adex

Total Adex rose 11% q-o-q to RM110mn, with performance increasing across all TV, radio and digital platforms. Radex, TV Adex and Digital Adex shares stood at 77%, 30% and 2% respectively. Astro Radio brands continued to rank No.1 across all languages, registering 18.2mn weekly radio listeners on FM and online. SYOK, Malaysia’s most popular audio entertainment app, garnered 554k podcast monthly listens.

sooka Continues to Win Over Millennials

ASTRO’s streaming service, sooka, is seeing positive trends with monthly active users (MAU) growing 23% to over 1 million for FY24 and the paying VIP base almost doubled during H2, reflecting sooka’s unique position as the only streaming app in Malaysia with a complete live sports offering, and now with an expanded Kids and Korean content library.

Actions Against Piracy

Together with Government Ministries and Agencies, Astro says it is is working tirelessly to curb the ills of piracy, to protect thousands of livelihoods and jobs. Another 13 cases involving individuals and businesses have been charged, with total fines amounting to RM219,000. Increased actions and collaborations can be expected in the new financial year as we fight to protect content makers across the nation.

Championing Sustainability

Astro says it continues to be guided by its 5 pillars – “Responsible Business”, “Education for All”, “Voice for Good”, “Caring for its Environment and Community Development”. Recent milestones include:

  • Strengthened our commitment to be a “Voice for Good”, airing over 7,770 hours of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and over 2,000 hours of ESG-related content in FY24 as we amplified positive messages on key environmental, social, civic, and governance issues.
  • Raised public awareness through conservation efforts done via our RimbaKita initiative in continuing our support to organisations like WWF Malaysia. As an advocate for a greener planet, we have adopted a swathe of trees at Taman Tugu and has planted 600 trees in other reserves.
  • Contributed a total of RM329,000 to help communities in need which included 27 beneficiaries undertaking various relief efforts including the Humanitarian Trust Fund for the People of Palestine.

Outlook

ASTRO’s transformation journey sees Team Astro pushing aggressively to be Malaysia’s No.1 Entertainment and Streaming Destination. Investments continue to be firmly focused on long-term and sustainable growth by:

  • Elevating local content, which is Astro’s clear competitive advantage, with high quality production and fresh storytelling via Astro Originals, signatures and movies;
  • ‘Loving’ our customers by consistently delivering their favourite content in an intuitive, convenient way; customer service satisfaction scores have improved materially over the last 12 months;
  • Increasing the uptake of our adjacent businesses; sooka, Astro Fibre, Enterprise and Addressable Advertising, targeting both current and new market segments with increased value and flexibility; and
  • Transforming legacy cost structures, most recently through a wholesale refresh of our customer management platforms. An accounting adjustment of RM1.66bn relating to the historical investment into our Pay-TV subsidiary during a previous business environment was also taken in the quarter; this has no impact on Group financials.

“The current strength of the US Dollar continues to impact multiple cost lines in our business, whilst local economic conditions (exacerbated by geopolitical factors) and softening customer sentiments (including the impact of the recent Service Tax revision) also present challenges to the industry. In softening the impact of these challenges, we have introduced more affordable entry points on both PayTV and sooka to drive affordability during the last quarter, further enhancing the value of our products and services.

“Notwithstanding all this activity, the Group continues to maintain a cautious outlook, carefully monitoring business conditions and ensuring effective cost discipline.”

Visit https://corporate.astro.com.my/

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