As most of the nation—other than those working in essential services—works from home under the movement control order, Astro earlier announced free access to all Malaysians to 22 channels via Astro Go. Additionally, the pay-TV operators also offered full access to all channels for Sports Pack subscribers, along with complimentary access for existing subscribers to all movie channels.
This has predictably led to a sharp rise in viewership, with Astro sharing a few insights recorded since the 18th of March 2020 (first day of the MCO). TV viewership in general has increased by 43%, with daily time spent on Astro rising by 30% since the 18th.
TV viewership for English movies/entertainment rose over 200%
Astro noted that complimentary access for subscribers to movies resulted in a huge increase in TV viewership for English movies and entertainment, which makes a lot of sense. News channels, also available to all customers, registered an increase of 71%, highlighting the importance of the role that the media plays in times of upheaval.
The rise was especially notable during the first five days of the MCO, where 5.5 million viewers watched Astro Awani on the website. The digitisation of society in general is arguably a large factor in the good reception for Astro GO, with 22 free channels contributing to 78,000 signups on the app.
Rather tellingly, Astro shares that content created for kids saw a surge in popularity on the Astro Go app, with 4.2 million viewers over the first 5 days of the MCO. To help parents keep children occupied during the MCO, Cartoon Network is available to all Malaysians—subscribers and non-subscribers included.
“We have seen a significant shift in consumer behaviour during the MCO as Malaysians stay home, and this is reflected in the increase in our engagement and traffic. Brands need to change the way they reach out to consumers as Malaysians navigate a ‘new normal.”– Astro Media Solutions director Wong See Wei
On the digital side of things, Astro’s brands saw a rise in 18% of monthly unique visitors, perhaps indicative of a time when Malaysians are relying on digital news sources now more than ever.
Astro’s recent moves are part of a nationwide attempt to “flatten the curve” of the COVID-19 pandemic, with telcos also offering free mobile internet. As we cross the mid-way threshold of the ~1 month-long MCO, it’s important to stay home unless absolutely necessary, and to practise social distancing.