Another Indo partner for Astro?

Astro All Asia Networks, the Malaysian media company, is reportedly planning a tie-up with another Indonesian pay-TV operator, following the end of its contract with PT Direct Vision (PTDV).

According to Media Partners Asia, Astro is likely now to link with PT Karyamegah Adijah, which operates the Aora TV satellite platform. PTDV’s 130,000 subs “could be” transferred to PTKA in which Astro is “likely” to invest, MPA said. PTKA appears to be backed by a former government minister, Rini Soemarno.

Aora TV launched in August 2008 and had exclusive pay-TV rights to the 2008 Beijing Olympics which were screened across four channels. The platform also has exclusive pay-TV rights for English Premier League football, offering all of the matches as part of a package including ESPN Star Sports as well as the Premier League.

With no terrestrial broadcasters screening the competition, Aora TV seems to have won itself exclusive rights to Premier League football in Indonesia for a reported US$20 million, although Astro and ESPN Star Sports claimed that discussions wih free-to-air stations were “underway”. And the new platform has attracted the attentions of the Indonesian broadcast regulator, the KPI, which is threatening to regulate against the exclusive contract.

Astro’s involvement seems to be key in the Premier League deal. According to a press release, the deal was between PTKA, ESPN Star Sports and All Asia Multimedia Network, a division of Astro. AAMN is “involved in the aggregation and distribution of TV channel content and in the supply of broadcasting equipment and services to traditional and new media broadcast service providers.”

At the moment, Aora TV is offering just 12 channels as an “introductory” service but is promising a full-commercial launch in the first quarter of 2009 with “at least” 50 channels. CNN, Boomerang, The History Channel, Crime and Investigation and Hallmark are all currently offered, along with ESPN Star Sports’ channels and local services Televisi Republik Indonesia (TVRI), SCTV and TV One.