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Malaysian satellite TV broadcaster Astro launched its new Digital Multimedia System (DMS) only a month ago to strong results.

While Astro execs were tight-lipped about the numbers, industry sources revealed that in less than a month of introducing the DMS, sign-ups have rocketed with close to 60,000 currently in line for the new system.

This will give the satcaster’s subscriber figures a long-awaited boost after a year of near stagnation. Astro’s current subscribers stand at 200,000 after three years of operation.

Market dominance

If Astro manages to keep its plans on track, its subscribers will have a number of interactive multimedia services at their fingertips by early next year, including home banking, home shopping, share information and trading, e-mail messaging and high speed Internet access and pay-per-view TV.

At a promotional price of RM799 (about $200) as against a retail price of $395, the DMS is being heavily subsidised by Astro. It is pushing for a dramatic upswing in subscriber numbers as the interactive services are rolled out in phases, beginning in Y2000.