Kapamilya ConvergenceThis 2013, the Kapamilya network, through its newest unit ABS-CBN Convergence Inc. (ABS-C), is out to change the game again.
A partnership with Globe Telecom Inc., forged over the summer, “ushered in the media convergence era,” with ABS-CBN flexing its media and entertainment muscles while the Ayala-led telco provides network coverage and capacity.
Carlo Katigbak, president of ABS-CBN, considers the collaboration “one of the most transformative events for ABSCBN.”
“There are no global examples of a broadcast company or content company that successfully made inroads in the telecoms industry. This will be a very exciting service for us,” Katigbak said in a recent interview with LopezLink.
President Charo Santos-Concio, Noli de Castro and Chairmain Eugenio Lopez III during the kickoff of the 60th anniversary festivitiesBy the end of this year, kapamilya will be sending text messages, making calls and surfing the net on mobile devices loaded with ABS-CBN Mobile SIMs.
“Our mission is to create a new way for the consumer to enjoy and experience his favorite ABS-CBN content,” said Katigbak, who is also president and CEO of SKY Cable.
ABS-CBN chairman Eugenio Lopez III (EL3), in his keynote speech at the Internet and Mobile Marketing Summit on August 30, recalled that a few years ago, “we thought…that the digital conduit was not the way for us to reach [ABS-CBN’s] core market.” The network revisited this view when its research indicated that low-income Filipino families painstakingly saved up to purchase computer components and even tablets and smart phones.
A 1990s ABS-CBN station ID with 'Kapitan' Geny Lopez (center, in gray suit)According to EL3, ABSCBN’s online properties, including its YouTube channel, combine for more than 100 million views every month. The video-streaming site iWantv! alone accounts for as much as 42 million page views monthly.
Given this scenario, Katigbak said, it is apparent that wireless internet will become one of the most important platforms for people to access ABS-CBN’s content in the near future: “It’s ubiquitous, the devices are cheap, the service is prepaid and the costs keep going down. The medium lends itself very well to content consumption on demand.”
Content is king
Content will have the starring role in ABS-CBN Mobile.
'Be careful with my heart' is the talk of the town!“What we’re trying to do is not so about networks or technology. People will patronize us not because of the phone service, but because of the unique content they’re able to watch on their mobile devices,” Katigbak said.
“We’re creating the platform for all the different subsidiaries of ABS-CBN to come and populate it with content that is compelling: ABS-CBN Publishing, News and Current Affairs, Star Records, Star Cinema, ABS Global—they’ll all be able to fill ABS-CBN Mobile with content that matters to our audiences.”
As EL3 said in his summit speech, “Good content will bridge the digital divide.” He also went on to invite Filipinos to collaborate with the company on content ideas that will “work on the digital space.” “The digital era is really the great equalizer. You are at par with any studio, any network, any movie company. You only need passion and your idea. And if it works, we can go from there,” the ABS-CBN chairman said.
The iWantv! site gets as many as 42 million views monthlyWith the promise of a wealth of content at their fingertips, Filipinos will be in for an experience that they’ve never had before.
“It means you can make better decisions at any time because the information you need is on hand, when you need it. Never miss your shows because you can watch them anytime you want, wherever you are. Keep in touch with your overseas kapamilya in a richer way because you can now share what made you happy today when you were watching ‘Be Careful with my Heart.” You will have ABS-CBN with you, and a deeper Kapamilya experience, whenever you want,” Katigbak said.
Tradition of firsts
With ABS-C, ABS-CBN continues a tradition of firsts that began 60 years ago.
Philippine TV’s comingout party in October 1953 was literally that: a party. The televised get-together at the home of Alto Broadcasting System (ABS) owner Antonio Quirino in San Juan became the country’s very first TV broadcast. A party guest, the judge-businessman’s elder brother, is considered the first Filipino to appear on local TV: President Elpidio Quirino.
By 1962, ABS, now owned by Eugenio Lopez, Sr. along with his Chronicle Broadcasting Network (CBN), began producing local content in the form of teleseryes. The earliest serials such as “Hiwaga sa Bahay na Bato” starring Ben David and Eva Darren, “Munting Banal” and “Larawan ng Pag-ibig” were developed at the behest of Eugenio “Kapitan” Lopez, Jr. to counter the mostly foreign shows that were then standard TV fare.
Vintage poster of the first teleserye 'Hiwaga sa Bahay na Bato'In 1966, ABS-CBN made another radical leap by broadcasting in color, another first in the Philippines. In 1968, the company was able to triple its assets from 1966 figures to P43.2 million, clearing the way for its move from its Roxas Blvd. studios to the state-of-the-art Broadcast Center on Bohol Avenue (now Sgt. Esguerra).
In 1969, it shifted from Channels 3 (ABS) and 9 (CBN) to Channel 4 and the home that it remains identified with to this day: Channel 2.
In 1988, the rest of the country was able to watch primetime shows at the same time as their Manila counterparts after ABSCBN went on satellite broadcast, fulfilling Kapitan’s “Bridges on the Air” dream anew.
By the early 1990s ABSCBN was snugly ensconced in the No. 1 spot, less than a decade after its frenzied postmartial law rebuilding process. It was the turn of Kapitan’s son EL3 to realize his own vision of ABS-CBN as an integrated media company by diversifying into film, publishing, interactive media and music recording.
More recently, the Kapamilya network rolled out videostreaming sites TFC.tv for Filipinos overseas and iWantv! for local residents.