THE sales of ABS-CBN Corp.’s TVplus boxes has grown almost 20% since February, as adoption of digital television in the country picks up pace.

The Lopez-led media giant said in a statement over the weekend it has tallied a cumulative 8 million TVplus boxes sold as of July, growing 1 million from the 7 million it recorded in February.

ABS-CBN said digital television adoption across the country continues to grow since it launched the TVplus product in 2015, with a 72% penetration rate in Metro Manila, 65% in Mega Manila and 57% in the suburbs, based on August 2018 data from Kantar Media.

“ABS-CBN TVplus’ accelerated sales is indicative of how far the country has moved on from analog television and how closer we are to fully transitioning into digital broadcast ahead of the government-mandated deadline of 2023,” ABS-CBN Access Head Charles Lim said in the statement.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has set a 2023 deadline for broadcasting companies to completely migrate to digital terrestrial television (DTT), after which it would switch off all analog television systems.

ABS-CBN identified 16 areas that are already covered by its DTT signal — Metro Manila, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Rizal, Laguna, Pampanga, Tarlac, Benguet, Cavite, Metro Cebu, Cagayan De Oro, Iloilo, Bacolod, Davao and Batangas.

Last month, the media firm also launched a mobile version of its TVplus boxes, the ABS-CBN TVplus Go, which acts as a dongle to allow users watch live television shows from an Android smartphone.

ABS-CBN earlier said it wants to strengthen its digital business this year, with much of its capital expenditures — estimated at around P6 billion — to be dedicated to this segment.

ABS-CBN posted an attributable net income of P856.35 million in the first quarter, up 89.2% on increased advertising placements. — Denise A. Valdez