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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

ABS-CBN’s news channel cancels partnership with Chinatown News TV after netizen backlash

Manila, Philippines – ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC), the news channel arm of PH media conglomerate ABS-CBN, has announced that it is canceling its partnership with Chinatown News TV, a Filipino-owned media news channel broadcast in Chinese and made by the Filipino-Chinese community in the country. This was shortly after the parties announced the tie-up.

The cancellation comes after the network received backlash from the online community, pointing to the irony of establishing a Chinese broadcast in the news channel despite growing tensions between the Philippines and China regarding vessels of the latter that are currently lingering and taking space in the disputed West Philippine Sea.

ABS-CBN has recently covered the West Philippine Sea issue with one of its journalists, Chiara Zambrano, visiting the highly-contested area along with the ABS-CBN team before being chased down by the Chinese Coast Guard.

Ging Reyes, news chief at ABS-CBN, initially defended the partnership, stating that ABS-CBN had editorial control over their content, providing national news stories and ensuring accuracy of the translation from Mandarin to English subtitles.

“ABS-CBN News has vigorously covered these issues, in our pursuit of truth and public enlightenment. But we resist discrimination against any race. or ethnicity. The airing on ANC of Chinatown News should not be equated with the intrusions in the West PH Sea. Chinatown News is produced by fellow Filipinos who belong to the Filipino-Chinese community. They are part of Philippine society,” Reyes said in her Twitter thread.

Despite the defense, many netizens have opposed the partnership.

The Philippine arm of online democratic solidarity movement Milk Tea Alliance stated that Chinatown News TV is also responsible for the controversial music video ‘Iisang Dagat’ (‘One Sea’) co-produced with the Chinese Embassy to the Philippines, as well as spreading media lies about the persecution of Uyghur Muslim minorities in Mainland China.

TV writer and producer Erwin Aurella tweeted that a ‘Chinese propaganda’ video disguised as a ‘Chinese news program’ doesn’t speak to ABS-CBN’s motto of ‘In The Service of the Filipino People’.

In line with the partnership, netizens took to Twitter and mocked the station using the hashtag #ABSCBNTutaNgChina, alluding to the network being a ‘puppy’ of Chinese propaganda.

Controversially, Chinatown News TV also aimed to promote the ‘One Belt, One Road’, a global infrastructure development strategy by the Chinese Communist Party, the sole governing party of the People’s Republic of China.

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Platforms Featured East Asia

ABS-CBN Global enters partnership with HK telco SmarTone

Manila, Philippines – The international unit of PH media network giant ABS CBN, international Filipino entertainment content producer and distributor ABS-CBN Global, has partnered with Hong Kong-based telecommunications provider SmarTone to provide quality service to Filipinos in the territory, which they announced through a virtual contract signing ceremony.

Through the partnership, the content library of ABS-CBN’s dedicated channel for overseas Filipino viewers, The Filipino Channel (TFC) will be made available to SmarTone. This also marks another milestone in ABS-CBN Global’s innovation and technology agenda as it furthers its undertaking to connect more than 200,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong to their families back home, especially with the ongoing pandemic, through easy and affordable access to information and entertainment through SmarTone.

“ABS-CBN Global remains steadfast in its commitment to serve the Filipino worldwide. It continues to be part of the OFW journey by staying as a market leader in international distribution of Filipino news and entertainment for over 25 years, consistently offering compelling content, innovative products, world-class event experiences, and strategic philanthropic outreach,” said Maribel Hernaez, managing director for Asia Pacific at ABS-CBN Global.

Meanwhile, Josephine Lam, head of marketing & sales for SmarTone, commented that their pursuit in strengthening market dominance will always be prevalent in addition to being the leading brand of prepaid SIM cards among overseas Filipinos in Hong Kong. 

“We are going to be the exclusive mobile network partners of iWantTFC in Hong Kong. Soon viewers can enjoy the greatest shows and TV dramas anytime, anywhere under SmarTone’s fast, stable and smooth network,” Lam stated.

Present in the virtual contract signing ceremony as well is Aldrin Cerrado, chief operating officer at ABS-CBN Global who stated, “In just a few years, we were able to progress with our alliance, this time to bring the home of Filipino stories via iWantTFC to hundreds of thousands of Filipinos in Hong Kong, made possible by SmarTone’s reliable payment solution.”

He added, “When partners speak the same language, they help each other continue to excel at what each does best. SmarTone and ABS-CBN Global speak the same language in this partnership, and that is the language of true service.”

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Kumu sees new slew of ABS-CBN stars, artists streaming on platform

Manila, Philippines – Filipino-born live streaming platform Kumu sees a new wave of streamers on the platform, particularly artists and groups handled by ABS-CBN, one of the country’s largest media conglomerates.

The newly birthed partnership between the two parties entails greater visibility for ABS-CBN’s artists and talents outside of mainstream media, with Kumu providing an alternative channel for said artists to connect with their large fan bases locally.

With more than 100 artists and groups set to stream, some of the personalities include the top and former contestants of the reality show ‘Pinoy Big Brother’, Philippine pop groups MNL48, BINI, BGYO, and several artists from ABS-CBN’s noontime show ‘It’s Showtime’ and from talent houses Star Magic, Star Hunt, Polaris (It’s Showtime talents), Star Music, and RISE Artists Studio.

“Just like the other partnerships between ABS-CBN and Kumu, we are confident that we will be able to achieve our united goal of providing good content and meaningful experiences to our audiences,” said Jamie Lopez, head of digital at ABS-CBN.

In a statement, Kumu said that their partnership with the media conglomerate aligns with the company’s vision of “commitment to highlight Pinoy creativity and to uplift the voices of Filipino talent all around the world.”

“We are proud to be signing more talents to our platform with ABS-CBN and support the creation of positive online content — content that we need now more than ever. We foresee future opportunities to develop these talents’ careers via live streaming — opening doors for new, innovative projects in the streaming space and beyond,” Kumu said. 

The partnership was announced during the conclusion of ABS-CBN’s reality show ‘Pinoy Big Brother’, which was also co-produced by Kumu. Both companies have earlier maintained co-production partnerships, including the 2020 version of the game show ‘Game KNB’.

For Laurenti Dyogi, head of entertainment production at ABS-CBN and head at Star Magic, the parties believe that fans are the winners in this partnership as “they get more opportunity to see their favorite stars in a more casual and informal setting, and even bond with them whenever the artists stream on their official accounts on Kumu.”

“We believe in the unique experience offered by Kumu. It’s a great platform to nurture the connection between the artists and their fans. Many of our stars are actually streaming already on the platform but with this partnership, there will be even more artists coming in to bring light and joy to ‘Kumunizens’,” Dyogi stated.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

ABS-CBN News’ YouTube down, terminated

Manila, Philippines – Netizens on Tuesday Morning complained about the inaccessibility of the Philippine broadcasting giant’s two YouTube news channels – ABS-CBN News and ANC 24/7.

In a screenshot by Rappler, a message is displayed on previously posted videos of both channels which read, “The video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated”.

The network has already released a statement, saying that they are “aware of the problem.”

“We are currently investigating this and working closely with YouTube to resolve the problem,” said the network.

The network also urged its audiences to turn to its radio channel TeleRadyo’s YouTube channel for the meantime in order to receive news live streams and reports.

According to parent firm Google, termination of a YouTube account could result from several reasons such as repeated violations of its community guidelines and terms of service, a single case of severe abuse such as predatory behavior, spam, or pornography, and when an account delivers any content that violates YouTube’s policies such as hate speech, harassment, or impersonation. It is also possible for accounts to be mistakenly flagged, with Google allowing accounts to submit an appeal.

Google also explained on its guidelines, “If your channel or account is terminated, you may be unable to use, own, or create any other YouTube channels/accounts.”

This isn’t the first time the network has encountered a problem in its digital news avenue following its franchise denial in July. In September, its news website news.abs-cbn.com has also been temporarily inaccessible.

In the latest development, the network has announced Tuesday evening that its news channels on YouTube are now up and running.

“After working closely with YouTube, the ABS-CBN News and ANC 24/7 channels have been restored at 3:58 p.m. today,” it said in a statement.

It revealed that the temporary suspension was due to a hacking incident. The network said it will continue its investigation to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Gabby Lopez, chairman emeritus of Philippine conglomerate ABS-CBN tenders resignation

Philippines – Philippine conglomerate ABS-CBN corporation which owns namesake media and broadcasting giant has announced that its chairman emeritus and director Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez has tendered his resignation. Lopez has also decided to step down effective immediately as acting director of the conglomerate’s subsidiaries: ABS-CBN Holdings Corporation, Sky Vision Corporation, Sky Cable Corporation, First Philippine Holdings Corporation, First Gen Corporation, and Rockwell Land Corporation. 

ABS-CBN said it held an organizational meeting today where the board of directors of the corporation has accepted with regret the resignation of Lopez

“We thank him for his dedication and leadership in expanding and transforming ABS-CBN beyond television through the years. Just like his father, Eugenio ‘Kapitan Geny’ Lopez Jr., Gabby is a visionary and a compassionate leader driven by his love for the Philippines and the Filipino people. He would always tell the men and women of ABS-CBN that being a part of the network is not a job, but a calling,” the board said. 

Lopez cited personal reasons for his resignation. According to the press statement issued by ABS-CBN, he expresses his appreciation for the trust of the stockholders as well as to his co-directors and senior management for the privilege of having served with them over the years.

The board of directors has elected today Mario Luza Bautista to fill the directorial position. Bautista, who is 66 years old, has served as the general counsel of the company and has been a member of the company’s board of advisors since 2011. He is also a board adviser of First Philippine Holdings Corporation.

ABS-CBN Corporation’s flagship media network has been shut down in May by the country’s National Telecommunications Commission due to its franchise expiry. Starting July, a number of its broadcast personalities has subsequently announced their resignation from the network.