Malaysian media major Astro has become the latest regional heavyweight to launch a subscription-based OTT service, pulling the wraps off Tribe, a mobile-centric Asean play that made its debut in Indonesia today.
More markets should follow later in the year, pitching Tribe against domestic and regional rivals for a slice of a young but fast-growing market for mobile video that could one day overtake cable and satellite platforms in Asian growth economies.
Astro has carved out a distinct positioning for Tribe, offering subscribers a sizable slate of youth-oriented linear and live content in addition to the on-demand fare that characterizes many existing OTT services.
Much of this comes from Astro’s long-standing content suppliers in Malaysia, potentially extending the reach of their content and channels in Indonesia, where pay-TV penetration is hovering at just over 10% of TV homes.
Tribe’s launch line-up in Indonesia, for example, includes live coverage of sports properties from Fox Sports such as MotoGP and Formula 1 motorsports, Bundesliga football, UFC mixed martial arts and BWF badminton.
Live K-Pop concerts from CJ E&M’s Channel M will come on board soon.
The offering is also slanted to Asian entertainment, with day-and-date Korean entertainment from Turner’s Oh!K channel, as well as a selection of local and regional films on offer for Indonesian viewers.
“It remains our commitment to build on our vernacular capabilities and signature IPs, at Astro as well as in collaboration with key partners regionally and internationally,” said Astro’s CEO, Rohana Rozhan (pictured), in a press release announcing the new service.
Tribe is launching in Indonesia with Axiata XL, the local affiliate of Malaysian telecoms group Axiata.
XL is Indonesia’s third-largest telco with 41.9 million mobile subs at the end of 2015. Just over half of those, 22.5 million, were on data plans.
Tying up with Tribe could provide useful momentum for XL’s mobile broadband business, while providing a lift for mobile Arpus, which are relatively low in Indonesia.
Tribe will be offered free for 30 days before going pay at Rp25,000 (~US$2) per month.
It’s a promising blueprint that hinges on local execution and packaging to win over subscribers.
Southeast Asia’s OTT landscape is still at an early stage of development, characterized by pricing pressure and high levels of churn.
Tribe’s launch with Axiata in Indonesia is also a model for further expansion, anchored on more localized services rather than a pan-regional offering. That could result in a more measured rollout compared with other services.
These launches will be supported by joint investment from local telecoms and media partners in platforms and technology.
Tribe is led by Iskandar Samad, a McKinsey alumnus who joined Astro late last year after working with Axiata as head of special projects.
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