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ABS-CBN will continue operating with or without franchise renewal

It can be very tedious to get to the studio, especially for those who do not have their own vehicles. But there are plans to make traveling more convenient for these people.

  • Butch Franciso says that ABS-CBN will not stop operating
  • ABS-CBN has new projects lined up for employees

Butch Francisco, the founder of Francisco Study Center and founding chairman of Francisco Center for Social Change FCSC Foundation, wrote an article saying that ABS-CBN’s legacy and activities will go on, with or without the franchise renewal.

Butch said that there is no question that ABS-CBN is worried about its franchise renewal, but the company is focusing more on other aspects and on work.

“Sure, they talk about the pos­si­bil­ity of the net­work los­ing its fran­chise from time to time. How­ever, that issue doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily con­sume them 24 hours a day. What they dis­cuss mostly among them­selves is still work-re­lated.”

Employees are also looking forward to being involved in other projects and are more focused on getting roles, especially those who are seen on television.

ABS-CBN also has a new studio located in San Jose Del Monte which is nearly 8 hectares in size. The technical team of the company is currently working on this.

The reality talent competition Your Moment also had their episodes shot there. The next project of Star Cinema will also be using the studio to film. The new studio is comparable to those that one can find in Hollywood. Foreign film companies have also shown interest in using and renting the studio but President Carlo Katigbak said that it isn’t the right time yet, but it is very possible.

“The two stu­dios are of Hol­ly­wood stan­dards – with high ceil­ings and mea­sur­ing 1,500 square me­ters each. So far, there are al­ready in­quiries from Amer­i­can film com­pa­nies that reg­u­larly shoot here in the Philip­pines about the pos­si­bil­ity of rent­ing the new ABS-CBN stu­dio fa­cil­i­ties. ABS-CBN pres­i­dent Carlo Katig­bak, how­ever, isn’t open to the idea. At least, not yet.'”

The company is also working on building 10 new sound stages, and the technical team is also being trained to handle the many kinds of facilities. One problem that employees might face is the time of travel to get to the new studio.

“There are also those who dread the com­mute to the new stu­dios, which may take an hour to reach from Que­zon City – on a day with­out traf­fic, that is.”

It can be very tedious to get to the studio, especially for those who do not have their own vehicles. But there are plans to make traveling more convenient for these people.

“Those who do not have ve­hi­cles, but are re­quired to do chores there are forced to take the shut­tle from SM San Jose. But there are on­go­ing talks with the Ay­alas for them to de­vote an MRT sta­tion there for the con­ve­nience of the ABS-CBN em­ploy­ees.”

Even if the franchise isn’t renewed, ABS-CBN is still optimistic because people can still watch their favorite shows on cable and social media, but this doesn’t mean that the company isn’t worried.

“In case, the ABS-CBN fran­chise doesn’t get re­newed, all that the net­work is los­ing is just its fre­quency. Its reg­u­lar view­ers will not see It’s Show­time and FPJ’s Ang Probin­syano any­more on Chan­nel 2. Like­wise with the lis­ten­ers of the radio sta­tions DZMM and MOR. But they can still watch their fa­vorite Ka­pam­ilya shows in other ABS-CBN plat­forms – like cable, I Want and The Fil­ipino Chan­nel abroad. And lest we for­get – there’s al­ways Face­book.”

Another reason for this optimistic mindset is that analytics show that only 60% of the population watch TV, since people would rather go online and stream. This number is also expected to go down in the near future so TV would most likely be obsolete. The company was already preparing for when television starts dying, but the threat of their contract not getting renewed is at a bad timing since other ways of viewing their shows are not that popular yet.

“Even be­fore the threat of fran­chise can­cel­la­tion came around, ABS-CBN was al­ready prepar­ing to get into other plat­forms since its ex­ec­u­tives had long been aware of the pos­si­bil­ity of reg­u­lar tele­vi­sion going ex­tinct. It’s just un­for­tu­nate that the threat of fran­chise can­cel­la­tion came at a time when the other plat­forms aren’t ex­actly prof­itable yet.”

Butch said that employees losing their jobs will be inevitable, but the company will need people to handle the other platforms. These people will expect to have lower salaries but will see adjustment when things will go the right way.

The Lopez family isn’t that worried about this problem since they have other businesses that generate a lot of income.

When Martial Law was introduced back in 1972, ABS-CBN also went away, but came right back after 14 years and remained a powerhouse in the broadcasting aspect of things.

During the 1960s, the Lopez family built the ABS-CBN com­pound in Que­zon City.

The facilities and studio were up to standards, plus ABS-CBN became the first network to air in full color.

The company opened a second station called Channel 4 to monopolize the broadcasting business in the country.

“Every day at 6 p.m. for ex­am­ple, ABS-CBN Chan­nel 2 aired the va­ri­ety show On With the Show with Mitch Valdes, Maritess Re­villa, and Manolo Favis. In the very same time slot, ABS-CBN Chan­nel 4 also aired a pro­gram with a sim­i­lar for­mat–The Wow Gen­er­a­tion with Baby O’Brien.”

The company then saw success and had more viewers compared to the other channels. But all of this went down the drain because of then-President Ferdinand Marcos.

“That also proved to be cost-ef­fi­cient: The on-cam tal­ents shared one dress­ing room and had the same team of makeup artists. After they were all dolled-up, they went to their re­spec­tive stu­dios that were just across each to make more money for ABS-CBN. But all that ended when Mar­cos shut down ABS-CBN.”

The Lopez family have always been risk-takers. One good example of this was when they bought the coverage rights to the Barcelona Olympics back in 1992 then did the same two years later with the Miss Universe. They lost a lot of money but did not care because it helped the company’s reputation.

“Even dur­ing the post-EDSA I ABS-CBN, the Lopezes con­tin­ued tak­ing risks. Putting up TFC was a gam­ble for one. But that later paid off hand­somely. In 1992, it bought the ex­clu­sive cov­er­age rights to the Barcelona Olympics. Two years later, the net­work han­dled the Miss Uni­verse show in Manila. Those were costly pro­jects. ABS-CBN, how­ever, wanted the pres­tige. That sure added lus­ter to the com­pany’s image.”

ABS-CBN also took over the coverage of Binibining Pilipinas from GMA and saw success, instead of losing money.

“GMA op­er­ates dif­fer­ently. From 1998 till 2010, for in­stance, it aired the Binib­in­ing Pilip­inas pageant. If you go by the math, any net­work air­ing a spe­cial event is bound to lose money be­cause its pro­grams are pre­empted and reg­u­lar ad­ver­tis­ing in­come is lost. The net­work, how­ever, doesn’t go to the poor­house be­cause of that. At most, only a night’s in­come is sac­ri­ficed. When GMA gave up Binib­in­ing Pilip­inas in spite of Venus Raj’s fourth-place win at Miss Uni­verse, ABS-CBN gladly took the pageant in and got lucky: All the Philip­pine bets after Venus did im­pres­sively at the in­ter­na­tional beauty con­gress and be­came news-mak­ers.”

ABS-CBN was then able to capitalize on the success of those beauty pageants, and GMA wasn’t able to do anything because these women were exclusive to the former.

“GMA was un­able to get hold of any of those girls be­cause they were only ex­clu­sive to ABS-CBN. Jes­sica Soho ac­tu­ally had to fly to New York to cor­ner Pia Wurtzbach. ABS-CBN, on the other hand, was able to bleed each one of those beauty queens for all they were worth. Oh, how those girls brought in the rat­ings be­cause – as they say – every­body loves a win­ner.”

Butch then says that there is no need to lose sleep over this, the Lopez family knows how to execute the right moves, and have proven so ever since the company was established.



“Per­haps that was one of the rea­sons why GMA slid down to No. 2 some­time in 2014 after lord­ing it over in Philip­pine tele­vi­sion be­gin­ning in late 2003. And so – for those wor­ried about ABS-CBN los­ing its fran­chise, there’s no need to panic. Trust ABS-CBN to know how to play its cards right.”

Written by JO-EST B. TAN

“A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition"
0917 159 6675

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