Goodbye Teleradyo, Hello New Partnership: Making Sense of ABS-CBN's Latest Moves
On Tuesday (May 23), ABS-CBN announced that it was ceasing operations of Teleradyo, its online broadcast news platform. The media giant said the news channel has incurred financial losses since 2020, when Congress denied ABS-CBN an extension of its broadcast license. It tried to keep its news operations going through Teleradyo, which broadcast over the internet, but the mounting losses left it with no choice but to shutter the channel effective June 30, 2023.
“The company is deeply saddened by this closure and having to part ways with the many passionate and committed people who have made Teleradyo an important source of news and information for many Filipinos,” ABS-CBN said in a statement.
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Simultaneous with the closure announcement, the Lopez-owned broadcast network said that it has signed a new content partnership agreement with Prime Media Holdings.
According to the terms of the joint venture, the two companies will develop, produce and finance “content, programs, and shows for distribution by other broadcast networks, channels, locally, and internationally.”
The new joint venture will be 51-percent owned by Prime Media, whose initial subscription of 20.4 million shares is worth P20.4 million, while ABS-CBN will own 49 percent with an initial subscription of 19.6 million shares worth P19.6 million.
Who owns Prime Media?
According to its corporate profile, Prime Media Holdings, Inc. (PRIM) was originally incorporated on February 6, 1963 as Private Development Corporation of the Philippines and then changed to PDCP Development Bank, Inc. that same year. The Company changed its name to First e-Bank Corporation in June 6, 2000, and then eventually shifted to its current name on October 20, 2003.
PRIM’s parent company is RYM Business Management Corporation, a company owned by the Romualdez family, which took control of PRIM in 2021, while its subsidiary Philippine Collective Media Corporation is a broadcast firm established in 2008 in Tacloban City, Leyte, the home province of the Romualdezes. In 2020, then-Representative and now House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez secured a national broadcast franchise for PCMC, which led to its quick expansion not just in Leyte and Samar provinces, but across provinces like Baguio, Cagayan, Occidental Mindoro, Catanduanes, Bacolod, Camiguin, Dipolog, Zamboanga Sibugay, Butuan, Davao del Norte, Iligan, Camarines Sur, Isabela and Davao de Oro.
The radio stations operate under Romualdez’s initials FMR, which stand for Favorite Music Radio.
As early as 2021, there were already reports that PRIM was looking to strike a deal with ABS-CBN. In August that year, PRIM issued a statement saying it was looking to enter “into a business arrangement or partnership to collaborate with companies that have media content and facilities, but cannot broadcast the same due to lack of franchise, which will enable it to broadcast nationwide.”
It looks like that deal has finally been consummated.
The partnership gives PRIM access to ABS-CBN’s broad network and expertise in producing content. For the Lopez-owned network, it’s a way to keep the company going as well as providing an opportunity for its personnel to find employment in the new joint venture company.
“It is also a way to continue providing accurate and balanced news and information to the country,” the media company said in a statement.
ABS-CBN, once the company’s dominant broadcast network, has inked various partnerships and content sharing venture with multiple companies, including erstwhile rivals TV5 and GMA Network.