THIRD-RANKED broadcasting firm TV5 Network Inc (TV5) retrenched 100 employees last Friday in a bid to stem its financial losses.
TV5 is owned by MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the beneficial trust fund of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) headed by business tycoon Manuel Pangilinan.
“It’s always a painful experience. We can only do the best we can under the circumstances because TV5 continues to show losses, albeit the losses are starting to decline now. I think the management led by CEO Chot [Reyes] has done a good job starting 2016 in reducing those losses. And I think those losses will actually decline quite dramatically by 2017,” Pangilinan told reporters on the sidelines of a Meralco event on Monday.
Pangilinan said he expects that by 2019 the company would be debt-free.
“I would say by 2019. But if it continues, we’ll reduce the debts this year again such that by 2019 it should be debt-free. We know it’s painful. But it had to be done. Otherwise the choice would be you shut down the station or you keep it alive,” he explained.
Pangilnan said the company is closely monitoring the situation but assured that Friday’s retrenchment was the last of the cost-cutting moves for now.
“Anything more than that and you’re cutting to the bone and that’s not good,” he said.
Around 600 employees will be retained after the retrenchment to make the company operational.
Pangilinan explained that the company will be more selective with its programming.
“I think it’s the only way for TV5 to compete and, number two, I think viewing habits for videos are slowly changing so to move in that direction rather than stay in the legacy where we’re not competitive against ABS-CBN and GMA”.
“The news will stay. Substantial as it is, the sports content will still be there and we’re expanding the sports content and there’ll be some entertainment shows that will be produced like with Brillante Mendoza. So it’s not a shutdown situation,” he said.
Pangilinan added that the next move would be convergence between iflix and TV5.
“The whole content strategy has been thought through. I think we have a very good content strategy moving forward on the video side of our group. We will be announcing some news in the coming weeks,” he said.