As one of the country’s most prominent businessmen, Manuel V. Pangilinan has his interests in many of the Philippines’ most important industries. From the telecommunications giant PLDT Inc., to the household name that is the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), Mr. Pangilinan — colloquially known as MVP — has influenced much of the country’s current state of progress.
Perhaps lesser known of his endeavors, however, is his critical role in the country’s current media landscape. MVP serves as the esteemed head of local media conglomerate MediaQuest Holdings, Inc. (MediaQuest).
Established in the 1990s by PLDT, MediaQuest is the mother company of some of the biggest names in Philippine media today, including The Philippine Star, BusinessWorld Publishing Corp., TV5 Network, Inc., Nation Broadcasting Corp., and Cignal TV, Inc. Through the latter, MediaQuest also owns Cignal’s flagship news channel One News.
When MediaQuest announced its acquisition of TV5 in 2010, it signaled MVP’s serious attempt at entering the media realm. TV5, which was previously named ABC Development Corp., is one of the top three television networks in the Philippines today. Its programs can be viewed worldwide through Kapatid TV5 and is currently available in the Middle East, Guam, North Africa, Europe, Canada, and the United States. The network is based in the 6,000-sqm TV5 Media Center headquarters in Mandaluyong City.
Going back to the 1960s, TV5 has been serving the public with its own brand of journalism even before the Marcos era until it was forcibly shut down in 1972. The network made a remarkable comeback however after the People Power Revolution, growing to the point that it was dubbed the “Fastest Growing Network” in the 1990s.
Another historic icon under MediaQuest’s belt is The Philippine Star. The newspaper is one of the country’s most widely-circulated newspapers, a paper that was first published seven months after the 1986 People Power Revolution. Its founders Betty Go-Belmonte, Max Soliven and Art Borjal were integral in the historic moment, and as veteran journalists involved in the “Mosquito Press”, the collective name for the different newspapers criticizing the Marcos administration, wanted to continue their legacy of serving the country’s return to democracy through honest, accurate reportage.
Nowadays, The Philippine Star has grown and built around it a network of other publications covering a variety of topics. The newspaper is owned and published by Philstar Daily, Inc., which also publishes the monthly magazine People Asia and the Sunday magazines Starweek, Gist and Let’s Eat. The PhilStar Media Group includes business newspaper BusinessWorld; Cebu-based, English-language broadsheet The Freeman; Filipino-language tabloids Pilipino Star Ngayon and Pang-Masa; Cebuano-language tabloid Banat, and online news portal InterAksyon.
On the back of such journalistic expertise did MediaQuest launch Cignal TV’s One News channel. Aiming to combine the training and expertise of some of the biggest and most trusted media organizations in the Philippines, namely The Philippine Star, BusinessWorld, TV5, and Bloomberg TV Philippines, One News is an ambitious and concentrated effort to reinvent the way Filipinos consume and discuss news and current events.
By marrying the strength and capabilities of established names in print with respected broadcast news institutions, One News aims to transform the media landscape at a time when false and malicious information runs rampant.
Online platforms like Facebook and Twitter so far have proven to be poor gatekeepers of information in the contemporary digital age, and the rise of fake news outlets have sown discord among the public. By offering a powerhouse bench of anchors and program hosts seasoned in the fields of broadcast journalism, business, sports, information technology, and entertainment, One News also aims to combat the spread of false information, promoting credible, reliable news and insights for the Filipino community.
As the fourth estate, the press and the media have a duty to society as watchdogs of the government and the voice of the people. A democracy cannot function without it.
This is the mission of Mediaquest, and all of its subsidiary media outlets. Ray C. Espinosa, the company president, said at the launch of One News that one of the channel’s objectives is to foster critical discussion about the country’s most pressing issues, analyzing them from different and balanced points of view.
“That’s what we want to be known for: credibility, trust. Essentially, we want to become a news authority, especially in this age when there’s so much talk about fake news all over the place. We need to reassure the public that there are still organizations like us that invest in this type of institutions,” Mr. Espinosa said. — Bjorn Biel M. Beltran