• ABS-CBN three years ahead in DTV shift


    A top official of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. said that the network is putting its best bet to roll out its Digital Television (DTV) three years ahead of rival networks.

    “Well, we placed our bets early on and already invested in the standard.

    We are probably three years ahead of everybody else in terms of rolling out digital TV,” said Eugenio Lopez 3rd, in his speech during the ceremony for the bond issue made by the broadcasting firm.

    The government recently decided to adopt the Japanese digital TV standard for the Philippines.

    “So this should give us first-mover advantage as the country transitions from analog to digital [television],” Lopez added.

    Earlier, the Lopez-led Broadcasting Corp. said that it is ready to make the
    switch to the digital television (DTV) format this year, or ahead of 2015 which is the year networks must switch to the new broadcasting protocol.

    The Lopez-led broadcasting company also said that it is just waiting for the go-signal from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to switch to the new format. The switch to DTV will improve the viewing experience of the public.

    “We are now ready to expand our free-to-air channel offerings by an additional five channels from two channels currently once the implementing rules and regulations are released,” Lopez said.

    ABS-CBN has invested close to P2 billion to shift to the digital TV format.

    Unlike cable or satellite TV with regular fees, DTV requires only the purchase of the Digibox which costs only as much as a DVD player. The network’s study also revealed that viewers will definitely buy the box in order to get new channels for free.

    About 80 percent of households in the country today do not have cable television, and majority of these households belong to the D and E socioeconomic class, who could not afford to subscribe to cable TV services.

    Of this number, less than 52 percent of households receive only two channels of tolerable quality with the current analog TV transmission, and it is unlikely that they will get better TV reception given the developments in urban cities that are barring TV signal transmission.

    Best bets
    ABS-CBN is projecting a P2-billion net profit this year.

    “We hit that level. The level of almost P2 billion. We’ve mentioned that we will hit that level of P2 billion of net income,” said Ronaldo Valdueza, chief financial officer of the ABS-CBN Group.

    He added that, “Most of the analysts, their estimates will be lower than last year but our best bets, we will beat those estimates.”

    Furthermore, Aldrin Cerrado, chief financial officer of ABS-CBN said, that, “It’s about P4-billion [capital expenditures]that’s including at least a billion for our program rights—P900 million.”

    He added that,”P3 billion is a combination of our pay TV expansion and our DTT network development and our regular capex for ABS-CBN Corp.”


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