The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is said to be deciding on the ban of illegal, uncertified Android TV boxes in the country.
According to Maybank Investment Bank (IB) Research, the regulator is in talks with Internet Services Providers (ISPs) to deny Internet access to Android TV boxes – a move that will ultimately benefit players such as Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd, reported TheStar.
“Though we prefer the banning of Android TV boxes, these two developments ought to bode well for TV subscription revenue,” the research house said in a note yesterday. Maybank IB Research noted that TV subscription revenue accounts for about 75% of Astro’s revenue. The research house noted that MCMC has been ramping up efforts to combat content piracy, with more measures to come. “We also implore MCMC to investigate e-commerce websites that sell Android TV boxes.”
It is estimated that Astro holds about 77% of the domestic pay-TV market, while the rest is controlled by Telekom Malaysia Bhd through unifi TV. Another part of the market is dominated by over-the-top providers (OTTs) such as Netflix and iflix.
Over the past few months, MCMC has been focused on combating content piracy.
As of February 2019, MCMC has blocked 246 sites that were hosting unauthorised screening of movies, documentaries and news over the set-top box.
Most recently, a local company and two (2) of its directors were fined RM35,000 for owning 79 units of non-certified Android TV boxes with the intention to sell at Digital Mall, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Android TV set-top boxes is a device that connects to a TV or a monitor, allowing users to stream contents such as live TV, movies, TV series and music from a local storage (USB/NAS) or from the Internet, at a cost or for free. It also allows a user to install apps and surf the Internet.
Android TV boxes without SIRIM certification are considered illegal and uncertified. Android TV boxes that connects and stream from pirated content websites are illegal and goes against the Copyright Act 1987. Similarly, users who download or access pirated contents are illegal in Malaysia. Users who are found to be using the illegal Android TV boxes are liable under Section 239 of the Multimedia and Communications Act 1998. Furthermore, consumers who access pirated content risk getting affected by malware that can be used to participate in criminal activities, all without the user’s knowledge.
In Singapore last year, the High Court ordered Internet service providers to block access to TV box applications that allow users to stream and download pirated contents, following a motion filed in October by Singnet, Fox Networks Group Singapore, NGC Network Asia, Fox International Channels (US) and The Football Association Premier League.