Here are some of the OTT services available in Malaysia.
As technology progresses in this modern era and more consumers turn to online content for their binge-watching needs, more over-the-top (OTT) service providers emerge to fulfil the growing demand for on-the-go media consumption. The upside of this is the competition keeps the rates in check, providing customers with affordable options. The downside? The market is getting oversaturated and it can be confusing to pick one out of the many choices.
We won't tell you what's best but we will list down below the subscription fees for each one of the OTT services that are currently available in Malaysia. You can then judge for yourself if it's worth paying the daily, weekly or monthly fee.
BBC Player is currently available in Malaysia only for unifi subscribers. It comes in two types of subscription, as stated below.
1. unifi TV Ultimate & Staff Pack subscribers will have complementary subscription to watch BBC Player.
2. unifi & broadband (4Mbps & 8Mbps) subscribers is offered to subscribe to BBC Player at RM10/month. Just select "For Non-Ultimate Pack Subscribers" and subscribe. For newly sign-in users, they can enjoy 30 days free viewing.
BBC Player can be accessed online at https://player.bbc.com/en or on its mobile app. It features content from six BBC global brands – BBC Earth, BBC First, BBC Lifestyle, CBeebies, BBC World News and BBC Brit, a new global brand available only on BBC Player in Asia.
What makes iWonder stand out is it a streaming service that offers a curated selection of critically-acclaimed and award-winning documentaries.
Aiming to keep its viewers up to date with global current affairs, these documentaries comprised of various genres such as current affairs, culture, social issues, politics, music, art, tech, sports, climate change, and history.
All these can be accessed on its mobile app or at https://iwonder.com/ for USD4.99 monthly.
Netflix needs no introduction as it is arguably the most well-known OTT service across the globe, having been launched in America since the late 1990s.
Currently, these are its monthly paid subscriptions that are available in Malaysia:
1. RM17 Mobile: Watch on 1 mobile phone or tablet at a time in Standard Definition (SD).
2. RM35 Basic: Watch on 1 screen at a time in Standard Definition (SD). Download videos on 1 phone or tablet.
3. RM45 Standard: Watch on 2 screens at a time. Full HD (1080p) available. Download videos on 2 phones or tablets.
4. RM55 Premium: Watch on 4 screens at a time. Full HD (1080p) and Ultra HD (4k) available. Download videos on 4 phones or tablets.
Subscribers can enjoy Netflix content, which include numerous local as well as international titles, either at https://www.netflix.com/my-en/ or on its mobile app.
While previously HBO GO – since it was launched in Malaysia last year – was only available for Astro customers who were subscribed to the Astro Movies Pack, as of this May, this is no longer the case.
Below are how HBO GO subscriptions work now:
1. Astro customers who already have the Movie Pack will get free subscription to HBO GO.
2. Astro customers can also subscribe to HBO GO standalone via CH 200 at RM25 per month.
3. Non-Astro customers can subscribe directly to HBO GO for RM34.90 per month.
Subscribers will get on-demand access to a massive library that includes HBO and HBO Asia original shows, as well as access to six live TV channels (HBO, HBO Hits, HBO Family HBO Signature, Cinemax, Red by HBO).
Also known as Amazon Prime Video, subscription to this American OTT service is priced at RM19.90 per month.
However, special prices apply for DIGI users, as stated below:
1. RM14 per month (for the first 6 months)
2. RM27 per month (from 7th month onwards)
The subscription allows users to stream across three devices. Content on Prime Video is made up of exclusive Amazon Originals, along with popular TV shows and movies. All content can be accessed via https://www.primevideo.com/ or the Prime Video app.
Viu videos can be watched for free without any registration. However, to access premium content and to watch all videos ad-free, viewers are required to pay a subscription fee of RM10 per month.
The content provided by Viu comprises Asian films, TV shows and dramas. There are also original productions series produced under Viu Originals. All these can be watched either at https://www.viu.com/ or by downloading the mobile app.
There are two ways viewers can enjoy iflix: 1) for free or, 2) with a RM10 per month subscription. Of course, the free option means it will come with ads, while the paid subscription will not include ads.
The dramas and films available on iflix are made up of local titles, as well as content from other Asian territories, such as Indonesia, Korea and Japan. After Tencent acquired it in June 2020, it also now features WeTV content, consisting of popular Chinese dramas such as "Dance of the Phoenix" and "The Heiress".
Launched in Malaysia last November is Apple's OTT service, Apple TV+, with a subscription fee of RM19.30 per month.
It is also available for a free 1-year subscription with purchase of a new Apple device, while students will get free subscription to Apple TV+ along with their Apple Music Student Plan.
New Apple Originals, everything from award-winning series to ground-breaking documentaries, are released every month on the streaming service. Among the shows currently available are Jason Sudeikis' "Ted Lasso", Bill Murray's "On the Rocks", Ewan McGregor's "Long Way Up" and more.
At RM35.90 per month, Quibi subscribers will get to enjoy this American short-form streaming platform that's formulated specifically for mobile phones. Subscribers will need to get the app downloaded on their iOS or android phones to view the videos.
What makes this streaming platform stand out is the fact that the videos playing will fit the screen perfectly whether viewed in horizontal or vertical format.
Not only that, as the name implies (Quibi is short for "quick bites"), the duration for each video doesn't exceed 10 minutes. The content is made up of videos featuring some of Hollywood's biggest stars like Will Smith, Liam Hemsworth and Sophie Turner.
Whether you use YouTube to enjoy watching videos or listening to music, having your binge-watching or playlist interrupted by ads is never fun. Enter YouTube Premium.
Subscribers will get to enjoy not only ad-free streaming, but also background play feature, which lets the app continue running while you have other apps open or when you lock your device.
The subscription packages come in two options:
1. YouTube Premium Individual: RM17.90 per month
2. YouTube Premium Family (up to 5 members): RM26.90 per month
Even better, YouTube Premium subscription includes free access to YouTube Music Premium, which on its own comes with a subscription fee of either RM14.90 (Individual) or RM22.90 (Family) per month.
Even though it was launched internationally on Valentine's Day 2007, curated streaming service Mubi only entered Malaysia in June last year through partnership with Digi and Maxis.
Accessible via http://mubi.com/, Mubi offers three channels for Malaysian viewers: Mubi Sinema (movies from Malaysia and the rest of the Nusantara), Mubi Boo (horror movies from around the world), and Mubi World (cult classics to modern masterpieces from everywhere on earth). A new handpicked movie is featured daily and will be available for viewing for 30 days before it is removed from the website.
To watch the movies, viewers can subscribe to a weekly pass for RM5 or monthly subscription for RM10.
Head to https://tubitv.com/ or its app if you're looking for free movies and shows to watch. As described on the website, it is a completely free (and 100% legal) on demand video streaming service.
The downside to having no subscription fees whatsoever is, of course, having to watch ads. Though the ads are only roughly 20-second long at the start of the movie or show and about 40-second long halfway through. These ads monetise the content provided by Tubi's partners such as MGM, Lionsgate, and Paramount.
No account registration is required, unless the content you want to watch is aimed at mature audiences.
tonton was launched as Malaysia's first homegrown video streaming service 10 years ago. It previously offered an annual paid subscription package but as of 2018, it was officially made free for everyone.
Of course, as with above, this means that viewers will have to sit through ads while watching their movies or shows, either on tonton's app or at https://www.tonton.com.my/
However, short ads are bearable as long as viewers are happy with the free unrestricted access to the local content and exclusive live events that are available in High Definition (HD).
Available in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, dimsum entertainment is a video streaming service that provides unlimited Asian content. From Thai and Korean dramas, to local films, to e-shopping and kids' edutainment, it has it all!
There are three subscription packages offered:
1. Free: Watch with ads. Single device access. No download.
2. VIP (RM8/month): No ads. Premium content access. 2-device access. Download available.
3. VIP Family (RM13.90/month): No ads. Premium content access. 5-device access. Download available
VIP Family is also offered for RM10 per month for Unifi customers. This OTT service can be accessed either on its mobile app or at https://www.dimsum.my/
iQIYI International (iQIYI) is China's internet video streaming service that was launched in Malaysia last year. It can be accessed either via its free mobile app or its website https://www.iq.com/.
Viewers can watch the older titles offered by this OTT service for free. However, for new and exclusive content, this can only be streamed by viewers who subscribe to one of the two VIP accounts offered, as stated below.
1. Standard VIP account: requires a monthly subscription fee of RM8.90 (also available are quarterly subscription for RM23.90 or yearly subscription for RM89.90).
2. Premium VIP account: requires a monthly subscription fee of RM16.90 (also available are quarterly subscription for RM45.90 or yearly subscription for RM169.90).
iQIYI was founded in 2010 by Chinese multinational technology company Baidu. While it is well known for its Chinese content such as dramas and variety shows, as well as Korean dramas and movies, it has also recently started adding Malaysian titles to its library.
Formerly known as HyppTV Everywhere, it has been rebranded as unifi playTV since January 2018. This is a service available for both unifi broadband subscribers and non-subscribers.
unifi playTV offers free channels, premium channels and VOD. There are three packages offered for the premium channel subscriptions:
1. Daily Pack (RM1): pick any 3 premium channels
2. Weekly Pack (RM5): pick any 3 premium channels
3. Monthly Pack (RM15): pick any 3 premium channels
Broadband customers have the advantage of subscribing to either one of the four entertainment packs:
1. Ultimate Pack (RM60/month): The best and ultimate entertainment pack for you and your entire family!
2. Aneka Plus Pack (RM30/month): Indulge in an array of exclusive local programmes, Korean and more.
3. Ruby Plus Pack (RM30/month): For the kung-fu fighters and Asian entertainment loves
4. Varnam Plus Pack (RM30/month): Get enchanted with the colours of Indian entertainment
For the below telco users, they also get to enjoy unifi playTV on their mobiles.
1. U Mobile users: unifi playTV is available for both postpaid and prepaid users with U Mobile Video-Onz. (Prices subject to the mobile plans).
2. Digi users: Digi offers unifi playTV in four different packs, priced at RM10 each.
a) Dragon Pack (SETI, now Jelli HD, now International HD)
b) Kids Pack (Nick.Jr., Boomerang HD, Dreamworks HD)
c) Pakej Sensasi (HyppSensasi HD, HyppInspirasi HD, Pesona HD)
d) Entertainment Pack (Comedy Central HD, MTV Asia, BBC Lifestyle HD)
An FT Confidential Research survey last year revealed that Astro GO is the most popular paid-for streaming video service in Malaysia.
It is available for free to all Astro customers, allowing them to enjoy all the content from their Astro subscription on the go and stream on up to 4 devices under one Astro ID. The subscription packages offered by Astro are Broadband Bundles (RM98.95/month) and TV Packages (RM61.32/month), plus various On-demand offerings under Astro First and Astro Best.
Astro GO, HBO GO and iQIYI are all part of Astro's OTT offerings, with the latter done in partnership with the abovementioned Baidu. Astro GO can be accessed either via mobile app or at astrogo.com.my.
Cinema Online, 12 September 2020