Thursday, April 11, 2013


MANILA - Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT) on Wednesday said its wholly-owned subsidiary has infused P750 million into its broadcast and print businesses.

In a report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, PLDT said ePLDT Inc on March 14 made a deposit of P750 million for its investment in the Satventures and Hastings Holdings Inc Philippine depositary receipts (PDRs) of MediaQuest Holdings Inc. 

As of March 25, the Satventures PDRs and Hastings PDRs have not been issued.

The board of ePLDT earlier approved a P3.6 billion investment for a 40 percent economic interest in SatVentures, which in turn holds the residual 60 percent economic interest in MediaScape Inc.

The PLDT board also approved P1.95 billion in additional investment by ePLDT for a 100 percent economic interest in Hastings Holdings, which holds print-related investments, including minority positions in the Philippine Star and the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI).

The PLDT Group owns 20 percent of PhilStar, 18 percent of PDI and 30 percent of BusinessWorld.

The PLDT board also affirmed a P6 billion investment in MediaQuest Holdings Inc through its PDRs, giving the telco a 40 percent economic interest in MediaScape, the wholly-owned subsidiary of MediaQuest that operates Cignal, a direct-to-home (DTH) pay TV service.

Of the total amount approved, P4.8 billion would go to TV5 to finance a state-of-the-art Media Center in Mandaluyong and the remaining P1.2 billion to expand the operation of Cignal.

At present, Cignal has a 28 percent market share with over 441,000 subscribers, trailing SkyCable's 700,000 subscribers.

The PLDT Group’s financial investment in the PDRs of MediaQuest is part of the group's strategy of broadening its distribution platforms and increasing its ability to deliver multimedia content to its customers across the group’s broadband and mobile networks.

Manuel V. Pangilinan, PLDT chairman had said the company's strategy of evolving from a traditional telecommunications company into a multimedia service company is "alive and well" despite the termination of buyout talks for GMA Network Inc.

"We still have TV5. The trick really is how to get deeper to this integrated advertising strategy because you know as of end February our mobile customer base has grown to 72.5 million. The trick is on how to convert those subscribers into viewer eyeballs for content not only for print but also video. So that's the challenge," Pangilinan said.

He had said 2013 would be a "better" year for TV5 with new programs and cost management. The network's audience share has grown to between 15-17 percent from three percent three years ago when the PLDT group acquired the broadcast company.


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