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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

ABS-CBN post huge losses, expands show distribution abroad

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The Kapamilya network reported financial losses from January to June amounting to P3.93 billion, reversing a net income of P1.47 billion during the same period last year attributed to the ongoing pandemic, shrinking advertising budgets and the non-renewal of the broadcast franchise crippling the media giant and triggering mass layoffs.

Last May 5, ABS-CBN was ordered to end free radio and TV broadcasts by the National Telecommunications Commission the day after its broadcast franchise expired. The committee on legislative franchise denied ABS-CBN a new franchise to operate as a broadcasting network last July 10, accusing it of several breaches to its license and current laws, even as it gave approval to similar franchise requests accused of similar infractions.

The consequence of the closure was also seen in total revenues, which fell 36 percent to P13.31 billion, mainly as advertising sales were slashed by more than half to P5.2 billion from P11.29 billion while operating expenses decreased 11.4%. Production costs shrank 16.9% year-on-year after ABS-CBN “cease producing new content” following movement constraints imposed by the government to quell the pandemic. Several departments were disbanded and long time talents like Ces Drilon and Korina Sanchez were laid off.

Nevertheless, management assessed it keeps a positive cash position to defray liabilities. It had debts of over P25.84 billion versus cash and cash equivalents of P17.5 billion. After the disclosure, shares at ABS-CBN are trading up 0.69% at P7.30 apiece.

Subscription profits, which cover earnings from broadband, cable, and digital businesses, was one area of growth, inching up 3% year-on-year. Overall, Skycable’s operating revenues rose 9.4% on the back of higher subscriptions, enabling profits of P115 million.

ABS-CBN plans to capitalize on emerging opportunities in digital and focus on its businesses that do not necessitate a legislative franchise. Many of the network’s shows have been relocated online, with Star Music launched a kid’s YouTube channel and introduced Kapamilya Online Live which live-streamed ABS-CBN content on its Facebook and YouTube pages. IWant TV viewers rose to a daily average of 1.6 million after May, earnings from digital and interactive media, which is unaffected by the franchise debacle, dipped 9.1%. Losses widened to P347 million. 

ABS-CBN has pivoted and adjusted its focus to broaden its distribution of shows to countries in South America, Africa, and Asia. To date, ABS-CBN content has reached around 50 territories around the world, adding up to about 50,000 hours of content, according to the Kapamilya network.

Among the programs that will be shown to other continents are Ang Probinsyano, Dahil May Isang Ikaw, Kadenang Ginto, Dahil May Isang Ikaw, Bridges of Love, Pangako Sa’Yo and The General’s Daughter.

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