ABS-CBN Convergence Inc., a subsidiary of ABS-CBN Corp., sealed a P2-billion to P3-billion partnership with Globe Telecom to expand its telecommunication business via network sharing agreement to deliver content and offer telecommunications services on mobile devices.
“The way to think about it, its just like Smart [Inc.] and Globe [Telecom], except [that]its ABS-CBN mobile, most subscribers won’t even know that it’s a deal with Globe. Because it will be a new brand in the market, in a sense we’re a third player,” said Eugenio Lopez 3rd, chairman of ABS-CBN Corp.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, the broadcasting company stated that, “This partnership, which converges two separate industries, enables ABS-CBN—the country’s largest media and entertainment conglomerate—to deliver ABS-CBN content and offer traditional telecoms services on mobile devices.”
The Lopez-led company said that through the network-sharing agreement, Globe will provide capacity and coverage on its existing cellular mobile telephony network to ABS-CBN Convergence on a nationwide basis. The parties may also share assets such as servers, towers and switches.
“It’s a network sharing with buying capacity,” Lopez said.
The official added that, “Its about P2 billion to P3 billion.”
Carlo Katigbak, ABS-CBN Convergence president and managing director, said that this pioneering move from the 60-year-old company aims to create a new experience for Filipinos, by expanding their access to ABS-CBN content on mobile devices.
“We have come to realize that mobile Internet is going to become one of the most important platforms for delivering content to our audiences. We believe that in the same way television revolutionized the mass market’s ability to receive information and entertainment, the wireless Internet will be the next most important medium for our audience,” Katigbak said.
The official added that, “Very soon, our Kapamilyas will enjoy special shows, receive our news, and interact with our stars from anywhere and anytime they want, through their tablets and cellphones.”
New market for mobile
Ernest Cu, chief executive officer of Globem, said that the partnership will create a new market for mobile-phone users.
“We are happy that Globe is once again at the forefront of a pioneering effort. We entered this partnership to provide Filipinos with more reasons to enjoy their mobile phones. The exclusive content that ABS-CBN will provide ushers in a new form of entertainment for mobile users in the Philippines,” he said.
“We are now seeing the gains of our network modernization and IT [information technology]transformation initiatives, having new capabilities to enter into these businesses to showcase our strength and leadership,” Cu added.
Also in a disclosure, Globe said that the parties will notify the National Telecommunications Commission of the agreement. This is not the first time that ABS-CBN has ventured into new media territory to deliver its programs and other content to its viewers.
In the 2000s, ABS-CBN launched TFC.tv, the first video-streaming site that carries ABS-CBN content intended for Filipinos abroad.
Recently, ABS-CBN also introduced its free video streaming website for Philippine residents, iWanTV!, which has revolutionized the viewing habits of Filipinos by allowing them to watch ABS-CBN programs on demand.
“The best is still yet to come for Filipinos, who remain to be the network’s inspiration in coming up with world-class programs and innovative ways of delivering content,” Katigbak said.
He added that the partnership is also another milestone in the network’s transition from being predominantly a broadcast company to becoming a complete media enterprise.
ABS-CBN was also in the forefront of the cable TV industry through SkyCable, and is well ahead in preparing for the Philippines’ switch to Digital Terrestrial Television with test broadcast activities being conducted in different parts of the nation.
It has also set a template for media organization expansion, as it has successfully spread out its business from just radio and TV broadcasting to also print, licensing, music, events and now, telecommunications.