The country’s FM spectrum is congested, and attempts to free up some of the spectrum for new players is proving difficult
Astro Radio Sdn. Bhd — a commercial radio business unit of Astro Malaysia Holdings based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — launched 60 internet radio stations on Nov. 1. That is the highest number of stations launched simultaneously in Malaysia.
Astro Radio already operates 25 radio station brands on FM radio, online and on satellite. It also creates and aggregates exclusive content on digital and social media platforms, known collectively as SYOK. According to Astro, the new digital stations, launched exclusively on SYOK, are part of its strategy to stay ahead of the competition and remain relevant with today’s content consumers. By driving audience consumption of additional channels, this should ideally create opportunities for it to capture a higher share of digital advertising market share, create opportunities for brand sponsorships and segment sponsorship advertising campaigns.
The range of new stations on SYOK suggests Astro is also actively targeting a younger Malaysian audience, who are digital natives. The stations will carry K-pop, hip-hop, ballads, classics, acoustic music, dance music, workout music, middle eastern, Indian cinema and contemporary songs, Indonesian pop, fusion, Dangdut, and favorites from the 70s, 80s and 90s.
Astro says it has also updated the SYOK interface to make it simpler for users to search and discover podcasts based on categories, continue streaming where they left off, organize downloaded podcasts into folders and share content on social media. The interface also includes a feature that allows users to automatically schedule their preferred radio station and a ‘live video’ channel with real-time interaction via chat.
Astro Radio uses RCS’s Zetta Cloud software suite to schedule, ingest, automate playout, generate reports and monitor all 60 channels remotely. This means there is no need for dedicated on-air studios. Instead, voiceover talents — for shows, station ID and commercials — record their content from wherever they are. The music executive or production engineer edits and uploads the voice tracks directly to Zetta Cloud. Similarly, the music exec ingests content such as songs, sweepers and liners, and schedules logs on their laptop via a client-web interface. These new stations automatically play back music and commercials from the Cloud without the need for regular manual operation.
Astro recently partnered with a leading smart mobility provider in Southeast Asia to integrate the SYOK app in-vehicle infotainment systems for a leading brand of automobiles in Malaysia. It has also teamed up with a leading global provider of ICT infrastructure and smart devices to integrate the SYOK app on its range of smart-watch products.