BIZ BUZZ: Nope, no ABS-CBN franchise in the works

BIZ BUZZ: Nope, no ABS-CBN franchise in the works

/ 02:24 AM February 01, 2024

Media giant ABS-CBN Corp. has truly moved on from seeking a television franchise.

Speculation swirled after the group issued a cheerful Christmas message promising employees that 2024 will be its best year yet since free TV broadcast operations were shut down by former President Duterte’s allies.

What was meant to be a statement to rally and inspire the group instead fueled misplaced rumors about a potential plan to reapply for a TV franchise, causing the company’s stock price to soar earlier this year.


ABS-CBN CEO Carlo Katigbak and chief operations officer Cory Vidanes swiftly quashed the rumors via an internal message to employees that was seen by Biz Buzz.


“We want to make this clear. There are no plans to apply for another broadcast franchise,” they said in a letter dated Jan. 31. “Moreover, there is no simple solution or quick fix that will miraculously result in a banner year for ABS-CBN. While we continue to believe this will be a special year for us, it will by no means be an easy year,” the company executives said.

Even without a TV franchise, they upheld their view that 2024 will be the “best year for ABS-CBN since 2020.”

“Last year was the third straight year of improving ad sales. January will be a strong month for us and we are confident that with the sustained growth of our audiences, advertiser support for our stories will continue to flourish as well,” the executives said, while thanking their various broadcast and digital partners.

The company’s programs on streaming platforms are another bright spot while its movie Rewind became the highest grossing Filipino movie in history with total sales of almost P890 million.

“This year will be a great year, not because of any extraordinary measures, but because of the important contributions each of us will bring to ABS-CBN,” the executives said. —Miguel R. Camus

Surprise, Swifties!

By now, Swifties have already figured out Cebu Pacific’s Easter egg surprise for passengers flying to Singapore this March to watch Grammy-winning pop icon Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour” concert at the National Stadium.


The budget carrier recently changed the flight code for the first flights out on March 1 to March 9 to “5J 1989.” And yes, it is a reference to Taylor’s fifth studio album 1989, which includes hits like “Bad Blood,” “Blank Space” and “Shake It Off.”

Biz Buzz learned this was actually an idea from the airline executives themselves. But to make this work, Cebu Pacific worked with Singapore Changi International Airport to make sure no other airline will have the same flight code number.

The flight code was originally “5J 813.”

If you are a Swiftie, these numbers will probably also mean something for you. The number 8 may refer to the eighth month, which is August, the title of the eighth track in the “Folklore” album. And 13, well, is Taylor’s lucky number.

If you already find this exciting, Biz Buzz also learned Cebu Pacific will also be giving out friendship bracelets—a staple for “The Eras” concertgoers—on some flights to Singapore. In-flight music, of course, will feature the singer-songwriter’s discography.

Now, the question is: Are you ready for it? —Tyrone Jasper C. Piad

Iloilo port prospects

Bagging the P10.53-billion Iloilo Commercial Port Complex (ICPC) rehabilitation project is not only a big win for International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) but also for the economy, especially in western Visayas.

READ: ICTSI bags 25-year Iloilo port rehab deal

Former Senate President Franklin Drilon, an advocate for the privatization of the Iloilo port, estimated that P1.1 billion in investments would pour in during the first two years of the 25-year concession deal.

Of course, the port upgrade will also translate to more cargo movement and busier operations.

“With the substantial investment that ICTSI is poised to inject, we are now on the path to realizing our shared aspiration of restoring Iloilo to its former stature as an international gateway, as it was at the turn of the 20th Century when Iloilo was dubbed the ‘Queen City of the South,’” Drilon said.

The lawmaker stressed the need to improve the sea terminal, saying it “had endured neglect during the past administration.” He said this resulted in “lack of capacity and inefficient operations that deterred shipping companies from using Iloilo as a port of call.”

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Upon takeover, ICPC will be renamed Visayas Container Terminal. The port has 627 meters of operational quay length and 20 hectares of land for container and general cargo storage, warehousing and other cargo-handling activities. —Tyrone Jasper C. Piad INQ

TAGS: ABS-CBN, Biz Buzz, Cebu Pacific, ICTSI

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