ABS-CBN Corp. said on Thursday that it aspires to expand its content viewership worldwide, citing the global market as a major growth opportunity for the media company that was denied a broadcast franchise.
ABS-CBN President and Chief Executive Officer Carlo L. Katigbak said at the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting that before the pandemic, international revenues, excluding subscriptions, were about $20 million a year.
“It has gone down recently because of the loss of our global theatrical business. But we believe that the global market is a huge growth opportunity for ABS-CBN, and we also believe that Filipino creative performing talent is among the best in the world, and that will allow us to be recognized as players in the international arena,” he said.
He also said ABS-CBN is already licensing its content to global digital platforms like Netflix and iflix.
“We’ve exported our TV programs to many countries around the world, most notably Asia, Europe and Africa. We have co-produced a series that aired on US television networks… We have been recording music that’s been released and promoted globally,” Mr. Katigbak said.
The company is still hoping to work with its former artists. “Our goal is to make ABS-CBN the home of best creative, performing, production and journalistic talent. Unfortunately, we were not able to retain all the great talent that we used to work with because of the loss of our franchise,” the company’s CEO said.
The National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease-and-desist order against ABS-CBN’s broadcast operations on May 5, 2020. On July 10 of the same year, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises adopted a resolution denying the media company’s franchise application.
Voting 70 to 11, the House committee rejected the application for a franchise renewal of ABS-CBN — a media company critical of President Rodrigo R. Duterte — saying the broadcaster was “undeserving” of the privilege.
“We understand that those we have not been able to give work to have had to look for livelihood elsewhere. But we still keep the hope that we will be able to, one day, take back the people we were forced to let go of, but still want to work with ABS-CBN,” Mr. Katigbak said.
The company’s attributable net loss for the first quarter of 2021 widened to P1.95 billion from P763.30 million in the same period last year.
Consolidated revenues decreased 54.6% to P3.92 billion from P8.64 billion previously.
ABS-CBN shares closed 0.36% higher at P11.18 apiece on Thursday. — Arjay L. Balinbin