'Undaunted' ABS-CBN makes progress in digital, global bets: CEO

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 29 2021 10:24 AM | Updated as of Jul 29 2021 05:23 PM

'Undaunted' ABS-CBN makes progress in digital, global bets: CEO 1
ABS-CBN News Youtube channel mobile app in this photo taken on August 16, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - ABS-CBN Corp has been making progress in its digital, international, and other businesses despite lacking a franchise as it reiterates its dedication to public service, the company's President and CEO Carlo Katigbak said Thursday.

After stopping broadcast operations last year, the company pivoted to digital platforms, its international businesses, and other partnerships to continue reaching its audience, Katigbak said during the company's virtual shareholders' meeting.

Katigbak added that the iWant TFC platform now has 4 million monthly active users. In August 2020, the company announced the merger of streaming service iWant and TFC (The Filipino Channel) Online.

ABS-CBN's YouTube channel is also among the world's top YouTube channels in the world with 16 billion views, he said.

Meanwhile, its website ABS-CBN.com has reached the milestone of 2.5 million daily users "keeping it one of the country’s largest websites," he said.

ABS-CBN TV shows and movies are also available globally on Netflix, iFlix and other platforms.

The network has also co-produced the series Almost Paradise which aired in the US. Although

"Prior to COVID, international revenue excluding TFC subscriptions was about $20 million a year. It has gone down recently. But we believe the global market is a huge opportunity for ABS-CBN," Katigbak said.

Last year, the Lopez-led company registered a P21.4 billion in revenues, lower by 50 percent compared to the previous year. It also posted a net loss of P13.5 billion last year after the House of Representatives denied its application for a new legislative franchise.

The franchise ordeal was on top of the Taal Volcano eruption in early 2020 and the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"These numbers are symbols of the pain that we are going through. Despite the bleak financial performance last year, we are optimistic that better times will come, the economy will improve, our audiences will return and the bets we’ve made in our digital and international businesses would pay off," ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak said.

The network's hard work in order to continue providing news and entertainment to the Filipino audience is a testament to its commitment to public service, Katigbak said.

"Public service has always been at the heart of ABS-CBN. It is what inspires us to do the work that we do. It is what creates a very special relationship between the company and our audiences. It is a legacy that has been handed down to us from generation to generation and it is what gives us purpose today," the official said.

Katigbak thanked supporters of the network, including shareholders, advertisers, actors, partners, employees, and its audience, despite the company's difficulties.

"Much of our strength and courage to continue with our mission stems from the goodness that we find in those that have kept their faith in us," he said.

"In return, and in gratitude for all the support, we at ABS-CBN reiterate our commitment to public service. Andito kami para sa inyo. We will deliver the news that matters to you in a way that’s fair and balanced but also honest and brave," Katigbak said.

"We may not have the same resources that we use to have but the passion of our people to serve continues to burn even more brightly...Our resolve is undaunted, ABS-CBN will, for this generation and for many more, continue to be in the service of the Filipino," Katigbak said.

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