Cignal to invest P200M in next 2 years on content production

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By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

CIGNAL TV, Inc. is investing about P100 million annually over the next two years to produce its own content in order to future-proof itself as the local television industry goes digital.

Vitto Angelo P. Lazatin, Cignal TV vice-president and head for content management, acquisition and strategy, said Cignal is expanding its content library in preparation for the growth of digital platforms.

“After years of carrying other people’s channels and other people’s programs, we knew that we had to put ourselves in a position where we started to own some of our content. You could look at that as really kind of future-proofing ourself,” he told reporters on Monday.

“When you produce your own content, there are many different ways to monetize it…Certainly there’s going to be a lot of our resources that are going to be going into Cignal Entertainment and (creating) our original content,” he added.

Cignal Entertainment is the company’s original production unit, which announced yesterday it is bringing one of its original movies — Ang Babaeng Allergic Sa WiFi — to global streaming platform Netflix on Aug. 21.

The film will be the first from Cignal Entertainment’s library of five theatrical releases and about 10 series to make it to the international platform. It will be streamed globally except in China, Taiwan, Japan and India.

“We’re very proud that our film will finally be shown to a global audience by Netflix. The film’s acquisition gives Cignal Entertainment the opportunity to share our creative vision to the rest of the world,” Cignal TV President and Chief Executive Officer Jane J. Basas was quoted as saying in the company’s statement yesterday.

Mr. Lazatin said that in the four countries not covered by the Netflix contract, Cignal Entertainment signed different agreements to sell either a separate licensing deal for the movie or just its format.

“One more reason why we got into this business is because there’s more ways to be able to make revenue beyond ticket sales and subscriptions. You can sell the format and license of the shows,” he said.

Cignal TV currently has 2.1 million subscribers on its network. It also handles a mobile streaming platform Cignal Play, which Mr. Lazatin said will be relaunched in October as a standalone product for Cignal’s original content and shows from its partners such as HBO and AXN.

Cignal TV is a subsidiary of MediaQuest Holdings, Inc. Hastings Holdings, a unit of MediaQuest, has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls.