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Friday, 3 May 2013

IPTV market in Malaysia

The more the merrier in the IPTV market

Hopefully the battle gets fierce so that quality and content will improve to offer more choices to consumers.

IT has taken two companies - Astro and Maxis - within the same stable a long time to come out with their Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) offering.

The Maxis/Astro IPTV/broadband services were originally expected to be launched by end-2012 but were postponed to the end of the first quarter in 2013.

Astro and Maxis entered into partnership for IPTV/broadband collaboration in September 2012.

The good news is that both companies launched the Astro B.yond IPTV offering this week, riding on Telekom Malaysia Bhd's (TM) high speed broadband (HSBB) network.

Now there is another choice in the market place and Astro/Maxis will compete head-on with TM for market dominance in the IPTV segment. There are several other smaller players offering IPTV but not on the scale of these two.

A report said the continuous improvement on the speed of broadband and the availability of interactive applications would play a crucial role in the expansion of IPTV market around the globe.

Broadcasters and telecoms players globally have a new way to increase customer average revenue per user with the expansion of broadband and IPTV. The forecast is that the global IPTV market will rise to about US$106mil (RM323mil) in 2014. European countries are the biggest markets for IPTV, with France, the UK, and Germany leading the growth.

Asia is also responding strongly to this new phenomenon. This week, South Korea's SK Telecom saw its earnings rise, with its media business securing 600,000 paid subscribers for its mobile IPTV service in the first quarter. Astro claims to have a subscriber base of 3.5 million households representing 52% of Malaysia's total households of 6.7 million.

It is entrenched in the market place and TM's UniFi subscribers are readily accessible market for the Astro B.yond IPTV product as both are carried on the same HSBB network.

The caveat is that TM UniFi residential subscribers are locked in a two-year contract.

TM has to date activated more than 548,000 UniFi subscribers on the back of 1.39 million premises passed, covering 102 exchanges nationwide which translates to a 38% take-up rate. TM offers IPTV via HyppTV.

The choice is out there today, hopefully the battle gets fierce so that quality and content will improve to offer more choices to the consumers. As for pricing, it is still steep despite the value propositions and for a wider mass market appeal, the rates need a review.

And while Astro/Maxis claim they have a value proposition, TM may want to look to getting a bigger content library, and certainly, a cellular tie-up is recommended to counter the bundling that Astro/Maxis is offering.

Celcom Axiata is waiting on the sidelines. It also needs to get into the IPTV game and both TM/Axiata should begin talking seriously.

Friday Reflections - By B.K. Sidhu  
Deputy news editor B.K. Sidhu is still thinking about how and when the digital cable TV operator will enter the fray.

Astro upgraded on IPTV potential 

Target price: RM3.38 

ASTRO Malaysia Holdings Bhd has finally launched its Astro B.yond Internet protocol TV (IPTV) with Maxis Bhd, which could complement its services to subscribers with more value proposition and significant savings.

Although the Maxis-Astro IPTV offering enjoys lower earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) margin compared to Time-Astro IPTV, synergistic benefits to be reaped from this collaboration should be more than enough to offset the shortfall.

It was reported that Astro Malaysia Holdings has officially launched its Astro B.yond IPTV with Maxis Bhd as an alternative for consumers to have access to home fibre broadband internet and home voice services.

On this Maxis-Astro IPTV offering, we understand that the fibre broadband packages provided by Maxis will range from 10Mbps to 30Mbps.

The B.yond IPTV content packages provided by Astro will be on SuperPack, Value Pack and Family Pack with prices ranging from RM37.95 to RM100 per month with an optional Home Voice Package of RM20 per month.

We understand that Astro will recognise 100% of the average revenue per user (ARPU) from this IPTV collaboration.

For instance, assuming customer A subscribes to the basic 10Mbps broadband package with a SuperPack1 content selection, the total ARPU will be RM248 per month (RM148 from the broadband package and RM100 from the content package) and Astro will recognise 100% of this total ARPU of RM248

Subsequently, in the cost of sales component, Astro will recognise 75% of the broadband ARPU (which is equivalent to RM111 in this case) as the cost to be distributed back to Maxis.

Based on our back-of-the-envelope calculation, the EBITDA margin of the Maxis-Astro IPTV collaboration will be circa 29% versus the circa 38% of the Time-Astro IPTV's EBITDA margin.

This implies that with a likely increasingly higher take-up for the Maxis-Astro IPTV offerings, the EBITDA margin of the group on the overall will be diluted on a percentage basis.

As this Maxis-Astro IPTV will be complemented by Maxis' extensive reach of 1.3 million homes compared to Time's reach of 100,000 homes, we believe that it could immediately give a boost to its revenue.

This should increase its absolute profit despite the EBITDA margin dilution should the product be well taken up.

We also understand that 1.1 million (or 85%) of the current high-speed broadband (HSBB) home premises are on Astro's subscribership.

That said, for current Astro subscribers who are also having the TM Unifi package, they could achieve better value propositions and cost savings by subscribing to this new IPTV packages.

We are sanguine on this collaboration as it has bundles of win-win benefits for the subscribers and synergistic benefits for Astro and Maxis.

In conjunction with that, we are assuming circa 65,000 and circa 175,000 subscribers to take up this IPTV offering (mainly on SuperPack packages), taking cues from the management's guidance of circa 60,000 to 70,000 and 170,000 to 180,000 subscribers in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Consequently, our net profit has been increased by 2.4% to 9.9% in 2014 and 2015 despite a lower EBITDA margin of 32.4% (from 32.7%) and 33.4% (from 34.2%) for the two years.

Consequently, our DCF-derived target price has now been increased to RM3.38 from RM3.10.

As the target price offers a decent capital upside of circa 15%, we are upgrading our “market perform” call on Astro to an “outperform.”

By Kenanga Research

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