Local media giant ABS-CBN Corporation can still run its other media platforms, in the event that it fails to secure a fresh 25-year congressional franchise for the operation of its television (TV) and radio broadcasting stations, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said on Wednesday.
Andanar clarified that the operations of ABS-CBN’s other businesses, such as its magazine and movie production, will not cease, in case Congress and President Rodrigo Duterte turn down the renewal of the broadcast network’s franchise for another 25 years.
“I will comment on the business model of the entire broadcast company. Remember, we are talking about the franchise. Franchise is given by the government. Actually, hindi naman mahal ang franchise eh. Kung tutuusin, halos ibigay na ng gobyerno iyan para makapag-operate ka (Franchise is not expensive. In fact, the government grants it so you can operate),” the PCOO chief said during the Kapihan in Manila Bay.
“We are talking about the franchise. We are forgetting that the ABS-CBN is not in the business of franchise or TV alone. They are in the business of content production. Meron silang content online. May content sila sa magazine. Meron silang movies (They have content online. They have a magazine. They have movies),” he added.
ABS-CBN’s 25-year franchise expires on Mar. 30, 2020, unless Congress and the President grant its renewal.
A legislative franchise bill needs to be first approved by the House of Representatives before it can be transmitted to the Senate.
The measure, once approved by both chambers, will then be submitted to the President for its signing into law.
The President, however, can exercise his power to veto measures that have been passed by Congress.
On Dec. 3, Duterte said he would make a way to ensure that ABC-CBN would be “out” of business, when its license to operate expires.
The President’s pronouncement came as he admitted that he was still irked by the local broadcast firm’s unfair reporting and failure to run his paid political advertisements during the 2016 presidential race.
Andanar, however, said ABS-CBN still has other options, should it fail to renew its congressional franchise.
“I’m sure ABS-CBN can find a way how to distribute their content if they lose their franchise,” he said.
“Remember that ang dami pa namang TV network na available eh. Ang dami pang channels na available, frequencies na available. In fact, nabebenta nga nila ang kanilang movies sa Southeast Asia, nabebenta nila sa America (Remember, there are other available TV networks There are many available channels, frequencies. In fact, they can sell their movies in Southeast Asia and America),” Andanar added.
ABS-CBN is primarily involved in content creation and production for television, online, and over-the-top (OTT) platforms, cable, satellite, cinema, live events, and radio for domestic and international markets, according to its website.
It also operates various platforms, including domestic television, radio networks, worldwide OTT, and online platforms.
It also has interests in Philippine cable, satellite, and broadband systems; music and music publishing; consumer products and licensing; multimedia services; magazine and book publishing; product and post production services; telecommunication services; money remittance; cargo forwarding; TV shopping services; food and restaurant services; theme park development and management; property management; and cinema management.
House legislative franchises committee chairperson Franz Alvarez earlier said his panel has no scheduled hearings on the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise until Congress adjourns for the Christmas break on Dec. 20.
But House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who earlier admitted he has “personal” objections to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise, had ensured that congressmen have “more than enough time” to discuss the proposed granting of franchise renewal to the local media giant. (PNA)