ABS-CBN's pay-per-view KBO allowed under franchise: justice secretary

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2020 03:26 PM | Updated as of Feb 24 2020 04:25 PM

The Kapamilya Box Office (KBO) offering, which allows subscribers to view a specific set of movies for a fee of P30, is allowed under ABS-CBN's broadcast franchise, according to the Department of Justice. ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA — ABS-CBN's broadcast franchise authorized the network to introduce a pay-per-view feature, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told senators Monday.

The Kapamilya Box Office (KBO) offering, which allows subscribers to view a specific set of movies for a fee of P30, was one of the supposed violations cited by Solicitor General Jose Calida in pushing for the shutdown of the Philippines' largest broadcaster.

But Guevarra pointed to a previous justice department opinion, which interpreted the phrase “commercial purposes” in ABS-CBN’s franchise as “broad enough” to allow the PPV feature.

The feature would still be subject to “any specific guidelines that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) may impose,” he said.

“Dahil broad ang naging interpretation, pwedeng magkaroon ng iba pang programa na kumikita?” Sen. Francis Pangilinan asked Guevarra, who replied, “That is correct.”

ABS-CBN’s franchise, which was granted under Republic Act No. 7966, allows the company to “construct, operate and maintain, for commercial purposes… television and radio broadcasting corporations in and throughout the Philippines.”

But one “shortcoming” by ABS-CBN came when the network introduced the KBO feature even without NTC guidelines yet, Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said, noting that a violation of this nature would just be fined P200.

In his quo warranto petition, Calida alleged that the network “illegally exacts money from the Filipino people.”

He cited an April 29, 2015 letter wherein the NTC told ABS-CBN to “refrain from offering any pay television service in its DTT trials until such time that (it) has come up with appropriate guidelines.”

But Cordoba clarified that the letter pertained to specific shows, and the network did not proceed with these specific PPV offerings.