ABS-CBN shutdown aftermath: Research firm, ad agencies also cutting jobs
Kantar Philippines is laying off around 50 employees and closing down its television ratings service –additional casualties of the spreading fallout from the killing of media giant ABS-CBN Corp.’s franchise in July.
Kantar Philippines managing director Jay Bautista said on Wednesday the company would shutter its media division by Dec. 31 this year, affecting about 16 percent of its 300 employees.
Details of the closure were first reported by Rappler.
In an interview with the Inquirer, Bautista said the division relied on ABS-CBN, one of two dominant TV networks in the Philippines, for nearly all of its revenues.
“The loss of ABS-CBN created a vacuum in the industry,” said Bautista, calling the decision to retrench workers a difficult one. He said the company’s other units would continue “business as usual.”
ABS-CBN and Kantar became close partners over a decade ago in the wake of a dispute between the Lopez-led network and the Nielsen Group over alleged tampered ratings data, a closely watched measure by advertisers.
ABS-CBN eventually tapped Kantar Philippines as its official third-party ratings provider while main rival GMA Network Inc. stayed with Nielsen.
The latest job cuts underscored the far-reaching effects of the loss of ABS-CBN’s broadcast business.
Last July 10, members of the House of Representatives voted to deny ABS-CBN a new franchise, following through with President Duterte’s threats to shut down the network perceived as critical of the administration.
The move crippled ABS-CBN and triggered the layoff of at least 4,000 workers amid a global health crisis and an economic recession.
Allied industries such as advertising are also bracing for the worst. They said the shutdown of ABS-CBN’s broadcasting operations amplified the business downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
An advertising industry veteran told the Inquirer some of the largest advertising and marketing companies in the Philippines have started laying off workers. Those employees who were retained have accepted pay cuts ranging from 10-30 percent.
“We just want to survive the next month or the next quarter,” the executive said.
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