9TV forges partnership with CNN
Businessman Antonio Cabangon-Chua’s 9TV, formerly known as Solar News Channel, is announcing today a partnership with US-based Cable News Network, or CNN, paving the way for the airing of the global news organization’s content on free television.
A source close to Cabangon-Chua with direct knowledge of the matter said in an interview Monday that the agreement involved reformatting the news component of 9TV, known as 9News, with the introduction of CNN Philippines.
“CNN Philippines will be the news component,” said the individual, who declined to be named because he was not the company’s official spokesperson.
It was not immediately clear what content will be shown via CNN Philippines, although it is likely to compete with that of pay-television operators like SkyCable, a subsidiary of Lopez-led ABS-CBN Corp., and CignalTV, owned by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.’s media arm.
It will also compete with GMA Network Inc., among others, on the free television segment.
A media briefing is set for today, likely to discuss the specific nature of the partnership.
Cabangon-Chua announced his intention to acquire Solar TV last August.
The investment also includes a roughly 34-percent stake in Radio Philippines Network Inc. (RPN-9), which the group plans to bring back to profitability in five years, according to Benjamin Ramos, chief financial officer of Cabangon-Chua’s ALC Group.
Cabangon-Chua’s other media assets include newspaper BusinessMirror and radio broadcaster Aliw Broadcasting Corp.
Solar was previously held by businessman Wilson Tieng’s Solar Entertainment Group.
“TV is a challenging business but we are already in media, through print and radio, so why not give it a try?” Ramos told the Inquirer in a previous interview.
RPN-9 was once the country’s premier television broadcaster before a series of popular revolts in 1986 replaced strongman Ferdinand Marcos with Corazon “Cory” Aquino, mother of incumbent president Benigno Aquino III.
Ramos said the deal would initially be a “personal” investment of Cabangon-Chua but eventually would find a place within ALC, a privately held group covering some 20 companies involved in banking, real estate, preneed, automotive and media.
Based on the transaction, Cabangon-Chua’s group holds about three of nine board seats in RPN-9. The family of RPN-9 founder Roberto Benedicto—a known Marcos associate—has three board seats while another two are occupied by the government with the remaining seat owned by “minority” shareholders.
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