ABS-CBN posts first ever loss after shutdown
MANILA, Philippines — ABS-CBN Corp. posted its first-ever loss as a publicly-traded company after the government shuttered its primary television business beginning May this year.
This was before lawmakers killed its bid for a new franchise last July 10, crippling the media giant and triggering mass layoffs.
ABS-CBN said in its first-semester financial report that losses from January to June amounted to P3.93 billion, reversing a net income of P1.47 billion during the same period last year.
ABS-CBN, which was a target of shutdown threats by President Duterte, previously generated most of its income from free-to-air advertising. Despite volatile swings in earnings during and after election seasons, it has been profitable since it went public in 1992.
The impact of the shutdown was also seen in total revenues, which fell 36 percent to P13.31 billion, mainly as advertising sales were cut by more than half to P5.2 billion from P11.29 billion.
Last May 5, ABS-CBN was ordered to end free radio and TV broadcasts by the National Telecommunications Commission. This was a day after its franchise expired and despite bills filed in Congress for its renewal.
In another blow, the NTC told the company to stop digital television broadcasts and its home satellite business under subsidiary SkyCable Corp. at the end of June.
Along with shrinking advertising budgets caused by the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on businesses, the shutdown had a significant impact on ABS-CBN, which was once the country’s largest broadcaster reaching an estimated 70 million viewers and listeners across the country.
In its financial report, ABS-CBN said the loss of the franchise indicated “a material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt on the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”
Nevertheless, management assessed it maintains a positive cash position to settle liabilities. It had debts of over P20 billion versus cash and cash equivalents of P17.5 billion.
ABS-CBN earlier said it will capitalize on emerging opportunities in digital and focus on its businesses that do not require a legislative franchise.
In line with this, ABS-CBN announced the launch of 16 hit entertainment titles such as The Heiress and The General’s Daughter to international territories including Africa, Asia, and Latin America this year until 2021.
It said 14 programs will be shown in Africa starting this year. The company earlier launched Kapamilya Channel on pay television and Kapamilya Online Live on ABS-CBN Entertainment’s YouTube and Facebook in the wake of the loss of its franchise.
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