If there’s one favourite leisurely past-time Malaysians love doing, other than eating and shopping is that we enjoy the latest TV shows and movies.
According to the Internet Users Survey 2016 by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), 70.9% of internet users in Malaysia stream videos and watch online TV as their preferred leisure activity online.
This has led to the rise in streaming sites in Malaysia, where we are now spoilt for choices on where to watch our favourite shows and movies. However, not all streaming platforms are created equal, which means you have to choose which one best caters to you and your entertainment needs.
However, with so many choices, which platform caters best to your entertainment needs? Here are a few factors that will help you decide:
Malaysians are rather price-sensitive, so this is likely the first thing that will be on everyone’s minds. While a cheaper service might not be the best choice, it certainly influences our decision making.
One thing to note is that many streaming services have also adopted a system that allows users to watch some content for free in exchange for being shown advertisements; similar to how normal television channels operate.
It should be noted that not all content will be available for free viewing from iFlix and Viu. Some of it will be locked away behind a VIP paywall.
Additionally, Amazon Prime Video charges you in US dollars. Meaning that how much you are actually paying each month could fluctuate according to the exchange rate. It won’t vary all that much unless there’s a dramatic change, but it could be something to keep in mind if you have a strict budget.
Malaysia Streaming Platform Shows
There’s always something to differentiate each streaming platform’s products compared to their competitors in the industry. Just like most things, there is no one best streaming platform that is perfect for everyone.
The trick is to find out what your preference is, and compare the content from different platforms. Content makes one of the most important factors in this decision-making process. Here we compare the content offered by the all time favourite Netflix, against iFlix, Viu, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, and Tubi TV:
If you’re into Hollywood blockbuster movies and TV series, then you are spoiled for choice. Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, and Netflix all offer the latest and greatest shows. However, due to licensing reasons, each will have different movies from one another.
So, you might be able to watch Top Gun on Amazon Prime but find Men In Black: International on Netflix. For the most part, Netflix has been most active in Asia and brings in the most recent shows. In other words, you will not always find what you want to watch.
It should be noted that none of these streaming services will show the newer movies from Marvel. Those looking for a superhero fix will have to wait for Disney’s own streaming service – which is not yet available in Malaysia.
iFlix and Viu both offer a wider variety of Asian and local content. They provide a huge library of Malaysian soap operas and Korean series, easily whetting the appetite for even the most hardcore of fans.
Tubi TV is the odd one out in this case. It almost exclusively serves Western cult shows and low budget productions. For Malaysians, this is the only place to watch some gems that have been forgotten to cinema like the original Suspiria (remade in 2019), Kontiki, and The Last of the Mohicans.
Finally, there is the matter of original content. In this aspect, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video both have the most original content with the highest production value. iFlix also has a limited amount of exclusive content, but that is largely limited to local Malay language shows.
Apple TV+ is still working on getting more original content into its stable, with some new series lined up for the near future. Tubi TV on the other hand, does not have any original content for viewers.
Latest in Malaysia: Disney + Hotstar
Disney is the elephant in the room when you talk about movies. The company owns huge franchises like Marvel and Star Wars, as well as the numerous Disney cartoons that are immensely popular with children.
Its own streaming service, Disney+, has launched in the US and parts of Europe. This means concentrating all of its shows into a single place, at the expense of other competing services. Unfortunately, there is no news of when it plans to expand into more countries.
It’s original content already threatens to overshadow cinematic blockbusters, with several tie-in mini-series for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars expanded universes already being produced (with The Mandalorian already becoming a smash hit).
If you like superhero movies, want cartoons for the kids, and love Disney nostalgia (like Talespin and Duck Tales) then this will be the streaming service for you. You’ll just need to wait until it eventually shows up here.
And the winner is…
Each streaming service comes with its own benefits, and there is no clear overall winner. If you like cult classics and B-grade movies, then Tubi TV is easily the service for you. Especially since it’s pretty much free.
Those who are more price-sensitive can look at iFlix and Viu. Both offer low subscription rates for a large amount of Asian content, so you can get your K-drama or Drama Minggu Ini fix.
As expected, Western blockbusters and TV series will cost you a whole lot more. Netflix is by far the most expensive of the three but also offers the most in terms of original content and latest movies. However, Amazon Prime Video isn’t too far off in terms of what it has to offer.
Apple TV+ is new to the scene and it’s still a while before we see if Apple can compete with the more established players. The only thing that you need to know is that you will need an Apple device before you even start thinking of subscribing to this service; which may increase the barrier to entry for some.
*This article was originally published on November 17 2017 and has been updated for freshness.
This article was originally published as Here Are The Top 6 Streaming Platforms In Malaysia by iMoney written by Michelle Brohier.