MANILA — Starting July 14, episodes of the ABS-CBN primetime series "FPJ's Ang Probinsyano" will be fully streamed for free on YouTube.
Producer Dreamscape Entertainment announced the digital move on Monday, after ABS-CBN was denied last a week a fresh 25-year broadcast franchise by Duterte allies in Congress.
ABS-CBN's other broadcast platforms, TVPlus and SKYdirect, were also forced shut by the government.
Aside from the official YouTube channel of ABS-CBN, "Ang Probinsyano" can also be viewed via iWant, Kapamilya Channel and CineMo! on cable TV, as well as The Filipino Channel or TFC.
The government shutdown of ABS-CBN was the second blow to the network and its 11,000 employees — dozens of whom belong to "Ang Probinsyano" — on top of the pandemic that has cost many Filipinos their livelihood.
As a free-television program, "Ang Probinsyano" was the country's undisputed No. 1 show throughout its four years on air, according to nationwide data of Kantar Media.
As recently as February 2020, the last full recorded month prior to the coronavirus lockdown, it retained that distinction, with an average national TV rating of 34%. Its viewership peaked in October 2018, with a mammoth 47.2% rating.
Now airing as a cable TV program, "Ang Probinsyano" has a fraction of its usual viewers on free TV. But despite the odds, and as the series' new tagline goes, "Tuloy ang laban." (The fight continues.)
"Ang Probinsyano" is one of three ABS-CBN dramas that recently resumed production — under strict safety protocols — after the eased community quarantine, along with "Love Thy Woman" and "A Soldier's Heart."