By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

ABS-CBN Corp. looks to end 2018 with at least six million TVplus boxes sold, in a bid to expand coverage among households in the country.

“We hope to hit at least six million. Technically it covers probably already the bulk or a big part of Metro Manila. So that solves a lot of signal issues for ABS-CBN and for households that are probably not watching ABS-CBN because of bad signal,” ABS-CBN Chief Financial Officer Aldrin M. Cerrado told reporters last week.

The Lopez-led company launched TVplus digital box products as part of its Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) business in 2015. The product gives customers access to free-to-air channels such as ABS-CBN and ABS-CBN Sports+Action, as well as premium channels including CineMo!, YeY!, Knowledge Channel, and DZMM Teleradyo.

As of end-2017, the multimedia company said it has sold 4.3 million TVplus boxes, or an average of 167,000 boxes every month.

“With DTT boxes in their homes, then it should help grow the business of the channel,” Mr. Cerrado added.

The company is also testing on adding Wi-Fi services to the TVplus boxes.

“In testing, pero wala pa (but there’s nothing yet)… It will still be a DTT box, but this time it’s a WiFi-ready DTT box… We’re still testing all the products,” Mr. Cerrado said.

ABS-CBN earlier said that it is scheduled to conduct pilot tests for the TVplus boxes in Cebu and Davao, which will boost its presence in the provinces.

TVplus is currently available in Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Benguet, Metro Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Bacolod, and Cagayan de Oro.

ABS-CBN booked P3.16 billion in net income in 2017, 10% lower year on year due to the absence of election-related advertising. Revenues meanwhile dipped 2% to P40.7 billion last year.

Shares in ABS-CBN gained P1.50 or 5.19% to close at P30.40 each at the Philippine Stock Exchange on Wednesday.