Two years after losing its television franchise, ABS-CBN Broadcasting is close to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
“Improvements and the continuing upward trajectory in financial performance are indicators that the return to profitability is possible in the near term,” said ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak in his message to shareholders during the former media giant’s annual meeting.
Katigbak gave a rosy outlook of ABS-CBN while giving a shoutout to loyal shareholders who have agonized through the stock’s 47 percent plunge to P9.17 since its franchise expired in May 2020.
“We recognize our responsibility to protect the investment you have made in our company. I realize that our stock price today means that many of you have lost money or have experienced drastic reductions in the value of your investment. Let me assure you that we are committed to achieving the full potential of ABS-CBN and substantially improving the price of your shares,” said Katigbak in the first part of his speech.
Katigbak embarked on sweeping cost-cutting measures since ABS-CBN lost its TV channels with expenses slashed by 31 percent to P23.3 billion in 2021 and debt set to be reduced by nearly half to P14 billion.
ABS-CBN revenues have bounced back starting the second half of 2021 when ad revenues grew 65 percent year-on-year.
“We are very encouraged by the growth of our digital and international businesses. Digital revenues were at P2.3 billion in 2021, increasing by 48 percent from 2020. Our websites attracted 109 million unique users from all over the world, close to three times the number of users compared to the previous year. International revenues now account for 19 percent of total revenues and we continue to exert efforts to expand this revenue stream,” said Katigbak.
Katigbak also pushed the return of ABS-CBN shows on free TV with alliances through commercial partnerships with ZOE (A2Z) and TV5.
“From a low of 1.1 percent after our shutdown, we have achieved a 4.1 percent rating, with primetime growing from 2.1 percent to 9.6 percent. This gives us an audience share on primetime of 27 percent versus our competition’s 58 percent,” he said.
With lower costs and higher revenues, Katigbak trimmed ABS-CBN’s losses by 58 percent year on year to P5.7 billion in 2021.
“We are determined to build a future for ABS that does not solely rely on broadcasting. Instead, we are doubling down on excellent storytelling that reaches a wider audience on any network or on any platform,” said Katigbak.
“That’s why we focus on keeping our best talent across the organization—creative, performing, production, journalistic, and managerial,” he added.
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