ABS-CBN begins Hollywood gamble with crime series
Media giant ABS-CBN Corp. is ramping up its international expansion with the launch of a new television series to air in the United States.
ABS-CBN said in a statement it partnered with US-based Electric Entertainment to release Off Tropic, a crime drama set in Cebu.
This is in line with a goal to turn the company’s content into a “primary export” to help boost growth in the coming years.
In its statement, ABS-CBN said Off Tropic would be aired via pay television company WGN America, which claimed a reach of about 75 million homes.
ABS-CBN called the venture its “first foray into Hollywood television production.”
“This is a first of many strategic partnerships and collaborations with partners from all over the world and we are very thrilled that we are partnering with a formidable team, Electric Entertainment, to line produce the US series for them,” ABS-CBN head of international production and coproduction division Ruel S. Bayani said in the statement.
ABS-CBN has been placing more focus on selling content overseas. Earlier this year, it announced some of its popular TV shows had been adapted for viewers in Turkey and Indonesia.
In his address to shareholders during the company’s annual meeting in April, ABS-CBN CEO Carlo Katigbak said more international projects were on the way.
“We have identified international audiences as a critical driver of our growth,” he said.
Apart from movies and TV shows, ABS-CBN said it would invest in coproductions for documentaries, music and concerts. The company said international initiatives accounted for 15 percent of last year’s revenues, which slowed almost 1.5 percent to P40.1 billion.
According to ABS-CBN, Electric Entertainment is led by veteran Hollywood producer Dean Devlin.
Devlin, who is of Filipino descent, is known for producing global hits such as Independence Day and Godzilla.
“We chose to partner with ABS-CBN because they have been so instrumental in the development of talent here, both in front and behind the camera,” Devlin said.
“I think they have the most experience and they have just been amazing partners. This is going to change the way people perceive the entertainment business in the Philippines,” he added.
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