Astro’s team at an offsite sales conference held in Port Dickson
Marketing has finally come face-to-face with media and all its possibilities. What’s the differentiator that can spell more opportunity, scalability and traction? As with the times, Astro has been on a mediatech curve for sometime now, leading the way in content and data-driven solutions.
Finally, after years in embryonic stage Astro has given birth to a fitting way to help marketers optimise the way they look at media. A new lens, a new paradigm and a revolutionary way of manifesting the power of their platforms.
It is called Astro Media Solutions. No, it’s not a one-stop media centre; that will be too cliche and truthfully, too limiting a term to explain this approach. Instead, it’s more like a totally market-driven team that works from the outside-in, and not the other way round.
Gone are the days of rate card presentations, and templated solutions; now it is about customised strategies, hand-crafted by media marksmen looking from the outside in.
What’s on the table?
The efficacy of Astro’s television, radio and digital platforms is a given. But the thinking that Astro Media Solutions (AMS) brings to the table is aimed at pivoting the solution from transaction based to performance based. This is a team that embodies the understanding that the magic lies not in the process, but in the thinking.
The differentiator is here, get ready for this riveting story as we take you behind the scenes to unveil Astro Media Solutions and shift your thinking to a new way of working. Befitting a new decade….
Astro has been a Malaysian household name for more than two decades. For most of us, it was the first introduction to satellite television (TV) and the sentiments tied to Astro are of family time at the end of a long day and excitedly waiting for the premiere of a movie you couldn’t catch in the cinema.
Now imagine a few more Hallmark movie scenes and you’ll get the idea of what Astro started out as. However, the sheer competition for eyeballs in today’s digitised world means attention is a valuable resource. In a world of distracted consumers, attention could no longer be bought through classic media placement. Authenticity is the new norm and this is where Astro Media Solutions plays a pivotal role.
Astro Media Solutions is led by Wong See Wei as Director; Jeyapuvan Somasundram overseeing SME and regional business; Kristine Ong overseeing agency business; Norfuziana Ahamed overseeing heartland Malays; Nicholas Teh overseeing new initiatives and partnerships; and Vadivel Rajhamanickam [Padi] Padmanabhan overseeing automation, media data and research.
So what exactly is Astro Media Solutions? According to the newly formed power-team leading the entity, the best way to describe Astro Media Solutions is akin to a private kitchen that creates bespoke dishes based on each of its diner’s dietary preferences and needs; using a team of professional chefs each with their own culinary expertise.
Given the acceleration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in recent times, we are undoubtedly seeing a boom in the number of companies that deliver personalized solutions to their customers. So much so that it seems every new startup is promising data-driven, digital solutions.
A different ball game
With most of the global digital platforms announcing the killing of 3rd party cookies, Astro is well positioned as a first-party data owner, able to customize solutions to address client’s communication challenges, within the bounds PDPA. With strong take-ups of Syok and Astro GO, their view of the customer gets better, facilitates personalisation and further enriches our customer-profiles.
Any marketer knows that there is great power in consumer data, even more when it represents a wide range of audiences from all over the country.
A cadre of experts
Back to the power of thinking; Astro’s analysis of the data collected goes beyond just the statistics. The team they have put together consists of experts with extensive experience in understanding consumer behaviour based on quantitative findings.
Besides extracting precise data, Astro Media Solutions also delivers creative content via its best channel mix, tapping onto the strength of Astro’s ecosystem which offers market-leading reach and engagement with Malaysian consumers.
Currently, Astro TV serves 5.7 million consumers with 76% household penetration; Astro Radio hosts 16.9 million weekly listeners across 11 radio brands and its digital platforms have 13 million unique viewers monthly across more than 25 digital brands.
“Speed and effectiveness is in our DNA,” says Director of Astro Media Solutions, Wong See Wei. “Our team’s agility allows us to have fast turnaround periods for our client’s campaigns and we’re constantly looking for ways to reach the targeted consumers more effectively.”
By combining their evaluation of both consumer data and the client’s business challenge before creating a storytelling narrative, Astro Media Solutions creates magic and delivers results.
A portfolio of success
So far, this approach has proven to work for clients who have partnered with Astro.
Farm Fresh Milk Malaysia was looking to educate and create awareness for consumers on their brand values and promise. For the first time, the brand collaborated with Gegar Vaganza by extending the reality singing competition to a massive outdoor concert – Picnic In The Farm. With a huge star-studded line-up for over 600 fans, the partnership saw retail sales increase of 20%-25%.
Another successful partnership was with Oldtown White Coffee (OTWC) which produced a web-series, ‘DUA’, via one of Astro’s digital platforms, Gempak. By blending insights with creative content supported by a strong media platform, the web series tapped into Malay Milliennials’s love for entertainment, gossip and celebrities while creatively integrating OTWC into its storyline.
The partnership helped solve OTWC, a local previously Chinese-centric coffee beverage brand’s challenge, of winning over new consumers in the Malay Millennial market. This campaign won the team ‘Gold’ for Best Use of Branded Content at the 2019 Malaysia Media Awards.
Astro boasts a long list of winning-partnerships and case studies prove that it is a result of effective and creative marketing solutions driven by data insights.
The process of consolidating Astro’s platforms has had some challenges.
“Our biggest challenge internally and externally would be changing people’s mindset from being platform-centric to solution-centric,” adds See Wei.
The individuals who lead Astro Media Solutions constantly remind their team to prioritise selling solutions rather than airtime or platforms. Once the team creates the right engaging content for specific target audience, only then does the process of figuring out media distribution and delivery across Astro’s multiple platform take place.
Understanding Malaysia’s nuances
Astro’s approach of fully capitalising on its strength to offer a rich content slate is a masterstroke, as it resonates with a diverse marketplace such as Malaysia that is home to consumers from different regions and of multiple ethnicities and cultures.
Having a large footprint across Malaysia meant that Astro must serve diverse communities nationwide. As the largest producer of local content in Malaysia, they are in a strong position to understand what these communities want and use the knowledge to help clients develop strategies and solutions that addresses their need.
“Our customers watch about four hours of content daily on average, of which three hours are spent on local vernacular content. With Astro producing over 13,000 hours of local content annually, we are confident of sustaining our strong reach and engagement with Malaysians which underpins our clients’ successes.” says See Wei.
In for the long haul
At the heart of Astro Media Solutions is the 300-strong talents designed to deliver consumer-driven marketing solutions. The battle for consumer’s attention has never been greater and technology has revolutionised the consumer journey.
The antidote to drowning in a sea of content is finding the right team members with different expertise and unique perspectives. And when they share the same passion in driving value to a client’s business, then you have an absolute dream team. Together with their trade partners, the vibrant and powerful team which makes up Astro Media Solutions is more ready than ever to lead the journey to winning campaigns and more importantly, winning customers. The question is, are marketers ready for the ride?