Astro Offers VSS Could Media Prima Follow Suit

Astro recently announced its third quarter financial results and declared that it has managed to move the needle upwards with higher subscription better revenue. This is good news for the company as the industry overall has been taking a heavy beating from competition and the entry of streaming service operators.

To quote the broadcaster ” The media and entertainment industry is currently operating in an environment that is experiencing an unprecedented rate of disruption. Industry players are required to reinvent and adapt swiftly to remain relevant in this new reality.” It is with this view that it came as no surprise for Astro to undertake a Voluntary Separation Scheme which it claims will enhance operational efficiency and reduce annual operation expenses. As one of the largest broadcasters in the country, Astro launched in Malaysia as a disruptor challenging then free-to-air stations, RTM and TV3. Now the satellite broadcaster is facing its own disruption with the advent of digital services from the likes of YouTube, Netflix and iFlix all clambering to change the status quo.

Traditional media platforms are facing a tumultuous period with one national newspaper already under PN17 (non-performing public listed entity) and reports of major dailies offering VSS has also been rumoured. With Astro taking the first step to consolidate its business could we next see Media Prima the giant in the industry to follow suit? Very likely, the listed company has been posting loses back to back and is laden with heavy weights, since the change of government the preferential status is no longer and its will have to fend for itself.

Media Prima is very diversified expending to various media platform, like radio, outdoor, television, newspaper and digital media with the acquisition of Rev Asia. Being the largest employer in the industry the impact of a VSS will be heartfelt with already many journalist out of work. There has been job freeze and no renewal of contracts but yet any announcement on large scale VSS from the group, but as the market come to familiarise with if only takes one to start the ball rolling.

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