ABS-CBN sees additional earnings from digital service

Business Mirror

Posted at Apr 05 2011 07:55 AM | Updated as of Apr 05 2011 03:55 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Listed media conglomerate ABS-CBN Corp. is eyeing fresh revenues from the implementation of its digital television service in the Philippines which may come in the middle of the year, a company official said on Monday.

In a briefing with reporters, Miguel Mercado said ABS-CBN will be ready to roll out digibox units to allow viewers to tap the said service, which promises clearer reception and more channels.

Mercado, who heads ABS-CBN’s marketing division for digital terrestrial television, said digibox units will each cost between P1,000 and P3,000 and will be mainly targeted to viewers without cable subscription service.

“This will [create] new revenue streams eventually,” Mercado told reporters yesterday, without elaborating. He said ABS-CBN plans to introduce five new channels for users of the digibox, a device roughly the size of a small digital movie player.

He said ABS-CBN is awaiting the final implementing rules of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), expected by the end of this quarter.

“We are ready to launch [this] product. Initially, we will launch in Luzon and in the next few years, Visayas and Mindanao,” Mercado said.

The NTC said earlier that it wants digital television services to be launched in key Philippine cities by 2012, to be implemented in several phases.

The Philippines is going to adapt Japan’s Integrated Services Digital Broadcast technology as the standard for digital TV. A technical working group is currently working on the implementing rules and regulations of the Digital Terrestrial Television broadcast service in the country.

NTC has yet to set a final deadline for the termination of analog television, which is the current standard, but previous reports have said this will not happen before previously-set 2015.

ABS-CBN is likely to exceed its 2010 net income forecast of P3 billion, company chief financial officer Rolando Valdueza told reporters last month. The company said profit reached P1.7 billion the previous year.

Shares of ABS-CBN slid 0.94 percent to P42 each on Monday’s trading, giving the media company a market value of P32.12 billion.