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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

ABS-CBN inks deal with Warner Bros. Discovery to bring lifestyle programs in Asia

Manila, Philippines – National media conglomerate ABS-CBN has signed a deal with US-based global media conglomerate Warner Bros. Discovery to bring ABS-CBN’s lifestyle programs to a much wider audience in Asia.

Three of the highlighted programs include ‘Beached’. a travel show hosted by Marc Nelson and Maggie Wilson–which will air on Discovery Asia, as well as ‘The Crawl’ by Piolo Pascual and ‘Foodprints’ by Sandy Daza, which will air on the Asian Food Network.

Aside from linear broadcast, the three shows will also be available on the streaming platform Discovery+ on iOS and Android devices.

Locally, these programs can be watched on the Metro Channel, Cignal, and GSAT.

The international partnership just comes months after ABS-CBN terminated its previously-agreed partnership with local media network TV5, over concerns of local regulations and scrutiny brought by the suspension of its media franchise on free television.

Despite that, ABS-CBN has been expanding locally and internationally, most recently with its opening of a Los Angeles office, as well as partnering with fellow media giant GMA Network and Hong Kong-based telco SmarTone.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

ABS-CBN, TV5 terminate previously-announced partnership agreement

Manila, Philippines – Barely a month after Philippine media giants ABS-CBN and TV5 have announced their sales and purchase agreement, both companies have now agreed to terminate said agreement. This comes after both companies temporarily suspended their partnership following lawmaker and regulator concerns.

In a stock exchange filing submitted by ABS-CBN to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), the company said that both parties confirmed that they have not implemented any of the transactions covered by the sale and purchase Agreement, as well as the debt instruments agreement.

In a separate disclosure, TV5 and ABS-CBN also announced that they have mutually agreed to terminate the investment agreement dated 10 August covering the proposed acquisition by ABS-CBN of 34.99% equity interest in TV5 and the convertible note agreement dated 10 August covering the proposed subscription by ABS-CBN to a convertible note to be issued by TV5.

As previously reported by Inquirer, National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said that Congress should look into the previous allegations brought to ABS-CBN and its holding company Lopez Holdings during the 2020 Congress session on the media giant’s franchise, including tax payments and foreign ownership that ABS-CBN had refuted before.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

PH media giants ABS-CBN, TV5 pause historic deal following lawmaker concerns

Manila, Philippines – The previously-announced historic partnership between ABS-CBN and TV5 has been paused by both companies following concerns raised by regulators and lawmakers alike.

In a joint statement, ABS-CBN and TV5 said that the pause will give the space for both media organisations to respond to the issues, and accommodate any relevant changes to the terms.

“Both ABS-CBN and TV5 believe that an agreement between the two media companies will have a favourable impact on Philippine media, and on free-to-air television—which remains the most affordable and extensive source of entertainment and public service to Filipinos,” both companies stated.

Through the previously announced partnership, ABS-CBN Corp will acquire 6,459,393 primary (new) common shares in TV5, representing around 34.99% of the total voting and outstanding capital stock of TV5 for PHP2.16b.

In addition, cable and satellite TV subsidiaries of ABS-CBN and PLDT also entered into a similar deal. Cignal Cable Corp, under MediaQuest, said it was acquiring 38.88% of Sky Cable Corp, under ABS-CBN, for PHP2.862b.

In a report by Inquirer, National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said that Congress should look into the previous allegations brought to ABS-CBN and its holding company Lopez Holdings during the 2020 Congress session on the media giant’s franchise, including tax payments and foreign ownership that ABS-CBN had refuted before.

In addition, Sagip party list lawmaker Rodante Marcoleta, who was one of the primary Congress members that forced ABS-CBN out of air in 2020, delivered a privilege speech against the deal. This was then followed by three members of the House of Representatives filing separate resolutions to investigate the deal.

ABS-CBN has been forced off-air in 2020 after failing to renew its franchise and heavy scrutiny from Congress over alleged foreign ownership of the media giant.

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Platforms Featured Global

PH media giant ABS-CBN expands to Hollywood with new LA office

United States – ABS-CBN, a media giant in the Philippines, has been reportedly planning an international expansion by opening its new office in Los Angeles, California.

ABS-CBN’s actress Sharon Cuneta broke the news on her official Facebook page by reposting a job ad by Cinema Sala, a platform showcasing Filipino and Filipino-American work in film and the performing arts. It said that the network is planning a physical office in Hollywood, and is looking for an assistant/coordinator.

According to recent news by Bilyonaryo, the international expansion comes after ABS-CBN signed a landmark investment deal with TV5, another media giant in the country under Manny Pangilinan.

“The goal of opening the LA office is to develop, collect, and curate material to produce from Hollywood, for the US and the world,” said Cinema Sala in the job ad.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

PH media giants ABS-CBN, TV5 reach new partnership deal

Manila, Philippines – ABS-CBN and TV5, two of the media giants in the country, have reached a new partnership deal where ABS-CBN has acquired shares from TV5, which is majorly owned by MediaQuest.

According to a joint statement, ABS-CBN Corp will acquire 6,459,393 primary (new) common shares in TV5, representing around 34.99% of the total voting and outstanding capital stock of TV5 for PHP2.16b.

The deal also sees MediaQuest, which is owned by the PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund, its stake reduced to 64.79 percent after the deal is finished. ABS-CBN can also acquire additional shares in TV5, which may increase the Kapamilya network’s stake in the Kapatid network to 49.92% after 8 years.

As part of the partnership deal as well, cable and satellite TV subsidiaries of ABS-CBN and PLDT also entered into a similar deal. Cignal Cable Corp, under MediaQuest, said it was acquiring 38.88% of Sky Cable Corp, under ABS-CBN, for PHP2.862b.

“The investment of Sky Cable by Cignal Cable is expected to benefit the former’s existing customer base consisting of over 300,000 cable subscribers and close to 350,000 broadband subscribers as of the end of June 2022,” MediaQuest said.

The company also added, “The proceeds of the sale of the Sale Shares, the Convertible Note and the issuance of the Debt Instrument in the total amount of PHP7.5b will be used to repay certain obligations of ABS-CBN and Sky Vision and to fund the investment of ABS-CBN in TV5.”

ABS-CBN Chairman Mark L. Lopez said the partnership was an opportunity to help TV5 grow, strengthen its free to air network, and take it to the next level.

“For ABS, it presents a fantastic platform for us to achieve synergies in production content and talent management as well as maximizing our content delivery. We look forward to be of greater service to the public as we come together in taking TV5 to the next level,” Lopez said.

Meanwhile, Manny Pangilinan, chairman at MediaQuest, commented, “ABS-CBN has always been the leading developer and provider of Filipino-related entertainment content not only in the Philippines but overseas as well. Our companies have always had these cherished values of providing top and quality programs in the service of the Filipino people and together we believe we can achieve this in greater measure and success.”

Last year, the ABS-CBN network began showing popular primetime programs of ABS-CBN such as ‘FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano’ as well as the long-running variety show ‘ASAP Natin ‘To’ on TV5.

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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.