MANILA, Philippines - ABS-CBN Corp. may be talking to Globe Telecom Inc. about forming a partnership but the TV network is not willing to be bought up.
“ABS is not for sale,” ABS-CBN chief financial officer Ronaldo P. Valdueza told Rappler, echoing the message of chairman Gabby Lopez at a stockholders' meeting earlier in the day on November 15.
“You know there have been talks (with Globe Telecom). And I think people are insinuating that there is something ongoing, going on between Globe and ABS that will change the ownership structure – it’s not true,” said Valdueza.
The comment comes at a time when media and telecommunication firms are all considering convergence strategies to pair television content with the vast infrastructure of telecommunications to reach a broader audience.
On one hand, the telcos are looking for content to funnel through their infrastructure, while on the other media firms are pressured to monetize the content they have.
“That’s the main challenge is to continue to monetize the content,” admitted Valdueza, as he spoke about the challenges for the next year.
Asked if ABS-CBN would harness Globe’s infrastructure, he said, “As mentioned by our chairman there are talks but we’ll come to that point but we’re not at liberty to disclose.”
Given the fierce competitive environment he said the company is keeping its strategy under wraps at the moment.
The biggest phone company in the Philippines, Philippine Long Distance Company, and the 3rd largest television network, TV5, are already both under the leadership of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan.
Earlier in the year, Pangilinan had tried but failed to acquire ABS-CBN’s leading rival GMA Network Inc. The deal was expected to help him bring in more quality content and at the same time gain greater control of the media space.
Despite the deal not going through, GMA and PLDT are forming a partnership for the upcoming senatorial elections in 2013. ABS-CBN meanwhile is open to partnering with either PLDT or Globe for the elections, explained the company CFO.
“The more the merrier,” said Valdueza, who added that they are open to forming partnerships with other groups outside of Globe.
Though he wouldn’t specify any other groups ABS-CBN might pair up with, he was clear that they have a “convergence agenda.”
“We want to make this content available in all possible ports,” he said.
Another Lopez firm, Bayan Telecommunications, is in negotiations to sell a stake to Globe. - Rappler.com