#Showbiz: Enter a new player — The digital tele-virtual broadcasting platform called Play

THE emergence of the Over-The-Top (OTT) platform has definitely changed the way we get our daily dose of entertainment — whether watching movies, listening to music or accessing online content.

For a wide segment of users, it has definitely made watching movies and other digital content convenient, accessible and affordable.

Anyone with a mobile phone and an Internet connection can now stream content from anywhere in the world and at any desired time.

It's handy and timely, especially since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With many Malaysians being mostly at home because of movement restrictions, OTT and Free-To-Air (FTA) TV viewership has shot up.

Jumping on the bandwagon is the newly-launched digital tele-virtual broadcasting platform called Play, brought by MBits Digital Sdn Bhd.

"With Play, viewers get to watch the latest drama series, catch up on news, get Video-On-Demand and even listen to music. It's like a combination of Netflix, Spotify and TV networks like RTM or Astro," said Saraleana Nattaya Azmi, founder and chief executive officer of MBits Digital, during a Zoom interview following the launch recently.

"With digital platforms, the world is now borderless. Why should Malaysians rely only on foreign digital platforms? As a local broadcaster, we have to evolve and adapt to global trends. That's how Play came into being," she explained.

Developing the platform took five years, said Ian Chin, head of Play, who utilised technology from China before tailoring it to suit the comparatively smaller Malaysian market.

"Play is not just a broadcasting platform. It's a value-added digital tele-virtual OTT broadcasting platform that provides unstoppable entertainment experiences without the high costs."

"Digital also means that our technology doesn't depend on a satellite. which means there won't be any glitches in the event of a downpour," quipped Saraleana, smiling.

She shared that Play currently had more than 7,000 hours' worth of content for subscribers to stream.

"While Play provides its subscribers with various content, including those from the international market, I'd like to stress that our focus is on Asian-centric content.

"We aspire for a multi-culture, multi-language, multi-racial and all-in-one platform. Asia is diverse. We have many interesting treasures for us to explore and present to the rest of the region, or even the world.

"Frankly speaking, even the West is running out of ideas and tapping what we have to offer. Just look at how K-pop is conquering the world now," she said.

Play also provides audiences with Free-To-Air (FTA) live broadcasts from Malaysian, Asian and International channels. Besides news from across Asia, there are also local and international sports live channels such as football and horse-racing.

Besides the visual content, Play is also a platform for subscribers to listen to a curated playlist and local podcasts which can be paired to any device at subscribers' convenience.

By Tahir Alhamzah