MANILA - Cignal TV this month marked a milestone, with its subscriber count reaching half-a-million, thanks to changes in its pricing scheme, a company executive said today.
Guido Zaballero, Cignal vice president for marketing, on Wednesday told reporters that the company's subscriber base grew from 440,000 at end-2012 to 500,000 by middle of this year.
About 75 percent of Cignal subscribers are prepaid, most of whom are in the outskirts of key cities in Luzon and Visayas. The remaining 25 percent are postpaid subscribers located mostly in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Davao City.
Zaballero said Cignal last January started to offer seven plans for postpaid subscribers: 390, 430, 590, 790, 990, 1290 and 1590. For prepaid, it has 290, 390, 430 and 590 "loads" that are sold in authorized Smart loading stations.
Encouraged by the positive response to its new pricing scheme, Cignal is now aiming to have more than 600,000 subscribers by year-end.
Zaballero said the simultaneous growth of the prepaid and postpaid segments "surprised" the company.
An exception is Mindanao, the executive said, as the region is suffering from eight-hour power interruptions.
"There's really no motivation for them to subscribe. How can they watch when there's always brownouts?" he said.
With the increased number of subscribers, Cignal may book positive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) by the second half of this year. Since 2009, the company has been in the red, representing four years of "investment mode", Zaballero said.
Owned by the PLDT Group, Cignal TV is the biggest satellite TV company, ahead of Dream Satellite. Including cable TV, the largest would be Lopez-owned SkyCable after it bought Destiny Cable, bringing their combined subscriber base to at least 700,000 at end-2012.
On Wednesday, Cignal and the Department of Tourism (DOT) inaugurated an art installation by CCP Thirteen Artists Awardee Leeroy New as part of the 115th Independence Day celebration at the Luneta Park. Cignal will donate satellite TV boxes to DOT and the National Parks Development Committee.