Malaysia

Viewers spoilt for choice across 23 channels

Singapore has refused to pay for live telecasts of sporting action from the Rio Olympics. But what is the scene like for the rest of the region?

Malaysia is obsessed with winning its first Olympic gold medal, having come agonisingly close thrice before, all of them in badminton.

That will be the main event for Malaysians, who will be spoilt for choice in terms of viewing options for the Games despite reports that the cost of broadcasting rights has skyrocketed since the 2012 Olympics in London.

They will be able to tune in to one of three broadcasters, all promising live coverage across a total of 23 channels not including mobile apps and web streaming.

HyppTV - which transmits via Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) - has said it will screen all 42 sporting disciplines live across eight channels.

While pay-TV giant Astro - the biggest broadcaster in the country - will only reveal details of its coverage today, it has said before that it will broadcast the event live. Government-run Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) will also run daily live coverage on its three free-to-air channels.

  • MALAYSIA

  • STATIONS SCREENING IT LIVE

    • Astro's 12 channels (private)

    • HyppTV (state-owned)

    • Radio Television Malaysia or RTM (free-to-air, state-owned)

    THE FEE

    Not disclosed.

    THE PROGRAMMING

    • Astro: 12 channels in a mix of standard and high definition.

    • HyppTV: Eight live and interactive TV channels.

    • RTM: 500 hours, three channels.

    Also on the trio's mobile apps.

    OTHER SPORTS EVENTS

    Astro is the main broadcaster of live sport, especially football. In the past three years, it has shared some of its English Premier League rights with state-owned Telekom Malaysia, which runs HyppTV, for an undisclosed sum.

No figures for TV rights were disclosed by any of the three, but reports indicated that a consortium of broadcasters had bid nearly 10 times what was paid for the London Games but lost to Japanese firm Dentsu, which holds the broadcast rights for 17 territories in Asia, including Malaysia.

Still, there is keen advertising interest to help offset the cost. Already, Astro has signed an endorsement deal with bespoke tailor Kinslager to outfit its 20 sports hosts.

State-owned telecommunications firm Telekom Malaysia (TM), which operates HyppTV, has also leveraged on its initials by partnering the National Sports Council to launch digital "Team Malaysia" platforms to engage fans.

It is likely that the three players came to a cost-sharing arrangement given the government's wide powers to regulate the industry.

Astro and TM practically run monopolies in their sectors and will be expected to do their fair share of "national service" along with RTM.

Aside from badminton, Malaysia also has medal hopefuls in archery, cycling and diving.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2016, with the headline 'Viewers spoilt for choice across 23 channels'. Print Edition | Subscribe