Philippines’ ABS-CBN sells pay TV and broadband unit to country’s largest telco

Philippines broadcaster ABS-CBN is to sell its cable TV and broadband subsidiary Sky Cable to the country’s largest telco, PLDT, for PHP6.75 billion (€116 million).

The move marks a definitive shift for the rump of ABS-CBN from mass broadcasting. The company was once the country’s largest broadcaster but its long-term licence was not renewed in 2020, during the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte is believed to have intervened to influence the decision following perceived criticism of his administration on ABS-CBN’s channels and refusal to air campaign videos. However, the closure did not impact the pay TV outfit.

The company has since turned its focus to programme creation and distribution and streaming.

Under the deal with PLDT, the Sky cable and pay TV business will be shut down to avoid regulatory scrutiny. Sky’s subscriber base will be transferred to PLDT, which currently operates pay TV outfit Cignal, Sky’s main competitor in the market.

PLDT’s TV5 service last year attempted to forge an alliance with ABS-CBN that met with strong political opposition.

In January last year the country’s media watchdog gave the licences lost by ABS-CBN to rival broadcaster AMBS, a new outfit backed by Duterte supporter and former senator Manuel Villar.

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