Astro still in talks with MCMC over new pricing

The Information Communication and Culture Ministry is still discussing with Astro on its plan to adjust the price of

Deputy Minister Joseph Salang Gandum said the new package price effective July 11 announced by the pay television company is not final.

“The ministry via the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission  (MCMC) is studying whether Astro’s intention to raise the price is reasonable or not,” he said when answering a supplementary question from Mohamad Aziz (BN-Sri Gading) in Dewan Rakyat today.

Mohamad had asked the ministry to study Astro’s move to charge high fees for the packages for the benefit of the people.

Salang said Astro based subscription fees on the cost of acquisition and purchase of content and broadcasting rights of third parties.

This is consistent with the principle behind the fixing of rates provided under Section 198, Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

“MCMC has to analyse the price increase to ensure it is fair and reasonable based on the cost and not just solely motivated by profit,” he said.

Monitoring by MCMC found that Astro did not carry too many commercials,  averaging 19-20 percent or 46-50 minutes of 240 minutes allowed daily.

The government did not prevent Astro from carrying commercials provided they were not more ten minutes hourly per channel.

“Most of the advertisement on Astro are promotion of its programmes and not considered as commercials as they do not give returns,” he added.

Salang said the ministry also set a licensing condition where Astro has to carry public service announcements one minute hourly on ten channels.

– Bernama