Television in Malaysia

Malaysia was slightly behind the rest of the world with television transmission only starting on December 28, 1963. Starting with one channel, television in Malaysia has mushroomed into a huge business and now encompasses free to air analogue television (to be phased out in 2017) and digital television, satellite, cable and IPTV. With the advance of high-speed internet, on-demand internet streaming media has taken a foothold and poised to change how Malaysian watch television.

Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) is the government media agency that handles the first two channels in Malaysia. The most popular terrestrial television channel is TV3 and it caters to the urban Malay family. Owned by media magnet Media Prima Berhad, it has a 45% share of total viewing.

Pay TV entered the Malaysian hemisphere in 1994 with the now defunct Mega TV. Consisting of 8 channels, it was short-lived as it could not handle the entry of Astro Satellite Television the next year which offered a much bigger channel offering plus they had sole ownership of showing the English Premier League which has a huge following in Malaysia. Astro is now the biggest pay tv media company in Malaysia.

iFlix, a Malaysian based on-demand internet streaming media company is using the country’s burgeoning internet based society and has tapped into this market by offering media via the internet. All you need is a high-speed internet connection (unlimited data would help), and you are able to watch hundreds of tv shows and movies. Netflix has just recently entered the Malaysian market and with a low subscription rate, it will be interesting to see how Malaysia will change its views on television. For those who are into Tamil shows and movies, HeroTalkies is a goldmine in terms of content and its low price.