ABS-CBN Broadcasting has given up trying to get a new franchise more than two years after getting yanked off the air.
During the former media giant’s annual stockholders’ meeting, ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak said: “The filing of a franchise bill is initiated by a member of Congress, not ABS. We understand there has been a filing. At this time we have yet to decide whether a new franchise is aligned with our strategic plans.”
Over the last two years, Katigbak has streamlined ABS-CBN’s operations by laying off employees, cutting wages and production costs, and shutting down unprofitable businesses while focusing on content production and distribution on digital platforms and alliances with TV5, A2Z and GMA7.
“We hope to continue with GMA as well as other partners here and abroad as part of our declared mission to reach audiences everywhere,” said Katigbak.
“We continue to work with TV5 and other partners. As of today, our partnership (with TV5) has taken the form of content licensing and content sharing agreements,” he added.
Katigbak expressed confidence ABS-CBN would return to profitability in the “near term” after racking up total losses of P23.21 billion from 2019 to the first quarter of 2022.
Spurred by then President Rodrgo Duterte, Congress rejected ABS-CBN’s application for a new franchise two months after the National Telecommunications Commission ordered the Lopez firm to stop broadcasting on free television following the expiration of its franchise.
Makabayan bloc has filed House Bill No. 1218 granting ABS-CBN a new franchise three weeks ago.
ABS-CBN, however, has been engaged in talks with TV5 in the last few months for a possible alliance which would enable the firm to return to free TV by piggybacking on the franchise owned by the group of bilyonaryo Manny V. Pangilinan.