BY THE HAMMER
September 20 was a long day for me. After managing a creative workshop by Sonal Dabral at the Eastin Hotel, I was off to the Astro Universe 2024 Upfront event, nestled within the opulent confines of the One World Hotel. Amidst this star-studded soirée, the ever charming hosts, Kenny Ong and Jeyapuvan Somasundram, welcomed us into a realm that felt straight out of an Astro Originals production.
Unlike most Upfront events, where the future is “now” with “game changing” speeches, Astro trooped out their finest actors and celebrities onto the stage this year and let them carry the narrative featuring their 2024’s key content IPs.
In this case, marketers can commit by 31 October 2023 to enjoy Special Bonuses all year-long across the TV, Radio, Digital and Talents ecosystem.
Astro is Malaysia’s biggest content creator, achieving both big and small screen successes. It currently invests 32-35% of TV revenue in content with 77% of viewing share driven by local content.
In a style reminiscent of the nation’s #1 entertainment show MeleTOP, this year’s Upfront soirée was brilliantly helmed by none other than the comedic virtuosos, Nabil Ahmad and Douglas Lim. Amidst their banter, where they unabashedly poked fun at their own egos and achievements, they introduced a star-studded lineup, featuring nearly 20 celebrities and entertainment luminaries behind the most talked-about shows.
Astro unveiled a treasure trove of new content IPs set to make waves in 2024 and showcased the infinite possibilities for brand integrations.
Back to the shows….
NEW REALITY SHOW ALERT…
THE HARDEST SINGING SHOW
From the creators of Malaysia’s #1 show Gegar Vaganza & Big Stage comes a new ground-breaking musical where Malaysian vocal titans take on the ultimate challenge in the ‘World’s Toughest Singing Competition’ for a chance to represent Malaysia in Europe.
It’s not just about singing; it’s about singing under challenging gimmicks while maintaining their vocal prowess.
ADVERTISER FIT: Brands wanting mass appeal, youth and high engagement power.
Astro continues the legendary run of the Project original series inspired by untold Malaysian stories with real-life characters, from High Council to the upcoming instalment, Project: Exit. Ika, the writer and co-director shared that the series aims to de-stigmatise mental health in society and provide representation for people with bipolar disorder on TV.
“In collaboration with NGOs, we will be conducting roadshows at universities and colleges to raise awareness about mental health. We believe brands can play a significant role in this initiative.”
ADVERTISER FIT: Brands keen on star power, youth cult status and sure runaway success. Reminder – Projek: High Council is the No. 1 On Demand Show ever on Astro, 1.9 billion views on TikTok and 4.2 million viewers on TV.
This is not the double-peated Malaysian whiskey named after the quaint town of Taiping. TIMA stands for Takdir Itu Milik Aku (I own my destiny), and is slated to be the number 1 Megadrama in 2024, with stars like Emma Maembong and Ammar Baharin. Based on a best-selling novel by Siti Rosmizah, with sales exceeding 200,000 copies and 12 reprints in six years, this is a hot one!
Emma shares that the story about orphans and abuse is filled with suspense, touching on romance, betrayal, pain, humiliation and fate.
ADVERTISER FIT: Emotional brand bonding and strong empathy with life values.
ASTRO’S NEW BLOCKBUSTERS…
Out in cinemas next year, THE EXPERTS is a roller-coaster adventure with the spoils of a crime thriller and action-packed juice. The gang’s safecracker Aaron Aziz is the mastermind, Remy Ishak as the dancer, Mimi Lana in the role of femme fatale, and Ray Dapdap as the tech guy. They are all siblings on a mission to steal valuable treasures. The movie boasts of epic heists pulled off without weapons. There is going to be a big promotion for this movie, a tour to promote it on a grand scale, including a Gala night and special screenings for fans across Malaysia.
ADVERTISER FIT: Brands leveraging on star power, action film fandom and on-ground activation.
Another great IP coming up from Astro’s World of Film for 2024…This live-action movie produced by Astro Shaw is directed and written by Anwari Ashraf of Polis Evo fame, based on an iconic animated series in the 90s, which will be transformed into a whole new cinematic experience. “Our audience has grown up since the 90s, so to relate with the core audience today, we have made the sentiments heavier and relatable for them,” Anwari shares. This Keluang Man is a fictionalised Johor hero with a re-imagined super neon look. He says brands can look forward to working with him.
ADVERTISER FIT: Brands wishing to ride on the beloved Malay superhero animation brought to life again with a modern twist, movie integrations, experiential on-ground activities, movie merchandise and more.
ASTRO SIGNATURE & FESTIVE SPECIALS…
FAMILY FEUD MALAYSIA
Experience the most entertaining game show ‘Family Feud Malaysia’, which pits two families in a trivia competition based on survey responses from real people. One of the longest-running, highest rated and most-loved international gameshow, very suitable for families.
ADVERTISER FIT: Suitable to target families across different demographics.
Astro’s latest Original drama series, “The Hidden Dragon” will premiere during CNY the Year of Dragon; it is a thrilling action comedy that blends high-stakes espionage with heartfelt family dynamics. This 4-episode drama series ending with a 90-min telemovie is a must watch, led by Malaysian Golden Awards Best Actor, Frederick Lee. Astro is also hosting its first-ever offline Feng Shui Seminar named Happy Lucky in the first weekend of December. This is an international collaboration that brings together 3 Fengshui masters: Mak Ling Ling from Hong Kong, Master Tang from Taiwan and Master Wei Xuan from Malaysia.
ADVERTISER FIT: Elevating your brand’s presence during the CNY festive with diverse and captivated Chinese audiences.
WHY INVEST IN LOCAL CONTENT?
The value of local content in satisfying the diverse needs and preferences of audiences enables viewers to pivot into the era of streaming where they can pick and choose what and when they wish to view. Total streams of on-demand shows jumped 31% y-o-y to 389 mil in YTD July 2023.
Euan Smith, Group CEO of Astro says, “Creating sparkling content, bringing stories that matter to all Malaysians, is what Astro has always been famous for. In 2023, we’re now a streaming company at heart but our mission hasn’t really changed. We still aspire to be the No.1 Entertainment Destination for Malaysians and we do that through a bold content playbook that covers all the important genres, be that original series, movies, sports or kids. This next iteration of our content proposition is super-exciting and designed specifically to meet customer’s increasing demand for high quality local content on all screens.”
In 2022, Astro was the No.1 local film producer with a 50% market share, producing 4 out of the top 5 local films. Brands also benefited from major local activation to promote the movies which drew huge crowds. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what sort of fame and following this can bring to brands.
AUDIENCE FIRST, EXPERIENCE LED, DATA SUPPORTED
Fueled by top-notch content, Astro’s audience-centric approach seamlessly bridges brands and consumers, whenever and wherever they are, how they watch, converging under one roof to deliver exceptional stories.
At its core, Astro’s innovative advancements are audience-focused, experience-led and data-driven. This amalgamation marks a seismic shift to data-driven, targeted television advertising, establishing Astro as SEA’s first addressable advertising solution provider at the cutting-edge of TV advertising.
To date, Astro Addressable Advertising has executed more than 190 campaigns with +42% more campaigns running this financial year compared to previous year. They also conducted 28 brand lift studies run across various industries – seeing an average brand consideration uplift of +18%pts.
Currently, Astro stands as the only Malaysian media offering certified accountability via unified reach across TV and OTT platforms. This ground-breaking initiative represents a game changer in the industry, with the ongoing technological advancement to Addressable Commercial Establishment (ACE) in the pipeline.
PRODUCTION INVESTMENT VS AD BUY ONLY
Beyond the Upfront, I personally feel too few marketers are fluent in seeing the potential of production collaborations, even though this is the mainstay in most markets. I have written about this before; perhaps marketers are more comfortable if their agencies (both media and creative) got into the workings early.
I was told Project: Exit and the coming offerings are at moodboard stage…
Now is the time to speak to the AMS team to curate the best solutions for your brand.
Watch the 2024 content highlights showreel on Quakecast.
2024 Upfront Offer: Save and gain with our special offer, valid until 31 October 2023.
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