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Netizens shred senators who abstained from voting to reverse NTC’s cease and desist order against ABS-CBN

Most of the senators saw the order as questionable, citing precedence and the quasi-judicial body’s “liberality” in issuing franchise extension.

Senate Resolution No. 395 was passed on Monday, May 11, urging the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to reconsider their cease and desist order against ABS-CBN and its affiliates.

Most of the senators saw the order as questionable, citing precedence and the quasi-judicial body’s “liberality” in issuing franchise extension.

The resolution emphasized the Senate’s position that ABS-CBN be allowed to continue operations while its franchise is still pending.

ABS-CBN asked the Supreme Court (SC) to provide it an immediate relief through a temporary restraining order. The case was raffled off to a justice on Monday.

Sen. Tito Sotto and eight other senators abstained from voting to reverse the cease and desist order against ABS-CBN.

  • Senate President Vicente Sotto III
  • Senator Panfilo Lacson
  • Senator Francis Tolentino
  • Senator Cynthia Villar
  • Senator Imee Marcos
  • Senator Ronald dela Rosa
  • Senator Bong Go
  • Senator Bong Revilla
  • Senator Pia Cayetano

Sotto initially tweeted that the Senate would approve the controversial franchise renewal of the media giant.

The same can be said for Cayetano, as she was one of the senators who originally signed the resolution. She said that she would rather “refrain from making comments” while the complaint is pending at the High Court after withdrawing her signature.

On Monday, the House panel on legislative franchises issued a show cause order against NTC, asking why it should not be held in contempt.

Now, disapproval from the public looms over the senators’ decision of abstaining.

Sotto’s previous tweet was subjected to various criticisms and mockery.

One netizen compared Sotto to his nephew Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto and said he would never be like him.

Another joked saying the Senate President only wants ‘clout’ and a blue check from twitter.

His flip-flopping tendencies are now more evident than ever before.

Pia, and her brother Alan Peter are both a ‘disgrace’, said a critic.

Others have similar sentiments.

Cayetano’s initial advocacy for the resolution was praised, but it would be fair to say that she has lost a great number of fans upon her withdrawal.

A netizen points out that her choice of being a feminist is selective.

Lacson also said he was disappointed with the shutdown, but was one of the senators who abstained.

One netizen just went on nearly every single senator who abstained.

Go had it rough as well.

Bong Revilla, one of the most despised politicians in the country will not be getting any love from the public anytime soon.

ABS-CBN’s shut down not only affected its 11,000 employees but also the marketing and advertising industry.

The $3 billion advertising industry now has a huge problem of reaching their target audiences since ABS-CBN is no longer on air. Significant losses have been observed and other networks could probably lessen the damage, but nothing compares to ABS-CBN.

Dan Villa, chairman of advertising agency CreatiVilla and former chairman of the Advertising Board of the Philippines and the Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies-Philippines says the huge hit on the advertising industry will affect the economy as a whole.

“The move was so sudden and everybody, more so, the large stakeholder entities, thinkers and planners were caught flatfooted. The fast, furious, and sudden scenario was unforeseen. In fact, I believe that the scenario should not have played as planned, because it was contrary and therefore, not according to the plan.

“So it is panic time. At best, solutions now are mere palliatives with no immediate long-range plan in sight.

“ABS-CBN, being the largest broadcast network, also has the greatest marketing reach in the country. The king of TV—ABS CBN—goes to the grave with the most reach.  A key factor for a media buy to be most cost-effective now goes down to the grave with its departure. This means too that the selection of an array of proven efficacy and reach becomes too narrow and ineffective,” Villa said in a statement.

Carlo Hemedes, CEO & managing partner at Organic Intelligence Consulting, Inc., said around half of the advertising budget in Filipino companies was spent on TV ads.

“As far as I know, TV spending in the Philippines is still very high. ABS-CBN is still one of the leading networks in the Philippines and compared to other countries, we are still very much a TV nation. TV will remain one of the lead channels for Filipinos at least for the foreseeable future,” Hemedes said in a phone call.

“How does it affect the industry? It takes away from them one of the major channels. In a mass market like the Philippines, by removing ABS-CBN, you are removing one major touch point that Filipinos access every day, and that has a direct impact on people whether you work in the industry or you’re just a regular citizen.

“By taking away the leading network in the Philippines, you are essentially limiting people’s options,” he added.

The shut down has affected various businesses including consumer goods manufacturers, herbal medicine producers, and food and beverage firms, etc.

Smaller companies were also planning on using TV for advertising their products.

“Competition in the media is a major component for a media buyer’s choice with more options to choose from. Now, the absence of ABS-CBN would inadvertently eliminate both. We have a problem with that. The other channels like TV 5 and the other minorities may fill in their buckets. Also now, the real alternative media come in—digital and social media—an upcoming significant medium to opt to now,” Villa said, citing market studies.

“Advertising is a major player of the marketing mix…and TV still dominates the media sphere. The absence of one dominant TV network tilts the balance. We have to be more creative in media buying with this kind of scenario. While digital media is fast occupying the media landscape, it doesn’t fulfill a good media mix. TV still dominates.”

Hemedes thinks companies should look to other networks for the advertisement since ABS-CBN isn’t an option anymore.

“The reality is that there are other TV stations that still have their licenses in place. There will be a lot of funneling of communications that will help augment that,” he said.

“What we have to remember is that TV is actually a ‘reach channel’ [that] allows brands to talk to more consumers and reach more consumers just through one channel. So now the industry will be challenged with having one less network. It is definitely bad for the marketing industry. It is bad for business because you are lessening the options for communication and lessening the opportunities for people to receive access to information.

“Advertising and media were created because the whole intent of that was that people should have universal access to products and services, and the same goes with channels: it’s to give them the will to choose. By taking away the network, you are reducing that.” he added.

Second to ABS-CBN is the GMA Network which companies can go to for more advertising. However, GMA’s roster of advertisements might already be full since it is also a big and successful network.

“There is not going to be a big shift to the rival station, GMA Network, principally because GMA Network is almost all full,” said Menardo G. Jimenez Jr., senior vice president for PLDT, which advertises in ABS-CBN.

Hemedes also thinks the shut down had a huge impact on the country’s culture since ABS-CBN has been around for decades.

“TV is instrumental in shaping culture. A lot of the things that marketers and advertising agencies feature in their promotional or communication campaigns is a mirror of culture and behavior of people, and TV is one of the major contributors to shaping that culture.

“In reality, if you take out ABS-CBN, yes, you are affecting marketing and advertising significantly but more importantly, you are also affecting the nation as a whole, both in giving access to information or even taking away that part of our culture that is still ingrained in mass media.”

Written by Gianni Russo

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