Chinky de Castro-Alcedo head of Digital Terrestrial Television DTT for ABS-CBN CorporationChinky de Castro-Alcedo, head of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) for ABS-CBN Corporation, is a balikbayan to the Lopez Group.
She headed Marketing at Sky Cable Corporation from 1998 to 2002 before moving on to head Marketing for a mobile phone company, Marketing then Commercial Leadership for the Philippine division of a leading beverage brand, and the Philippine market for a multinational food manufacturer. In between she took a year off to focus on being a full-time mom to her two kids which, to her, was the most important part of the last 12 years.
Alcedo rejoined the Group in June 2014 to head DTT, grappling with the challenge of starting the commercial service of a totally new technology. It took a while for her to fully appreciate the opportunity at hand, but she finally concluded that DTT was a “very exciting piece of responsibility.” Even so, she had so many questions: “What precedent market is there to study? What are the rules of engagement? What are the parameters and measures of success?”
But there were no fast and easy answers. Consistent with its pioneering and entrepreneurial heritage, ABS-CBN started investing in DTT infrastructure as early as 2007. However, the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the DTT were only issued by the National Telecommunications Commission in December 2014. By that time, building on the groundwork and preparations done in previous years, Alcedo and her team had already finetuned what they believed to be the appropriate strategy to roll out the new service.
“A number of other markets has already made the shift to digital such as Japan, Australia, Europe, North America, Korea and South America, but the shift has been primarily government-led. ABS-CBN has developed its own commercialization strategy for this innovation, considering our particular business opportunities and potential,” she said.
One of the things that really encouraged her to take on the DTT challenge was her belief that the innovative service would really improve the lives of Filipinos audiences.
“I saw the direct link to the ABS-CBN mission to be of service to the Filipino. Our viewers are in the marginalized segment and have limited viewing options. If you don’t have cable, there are very few channels to choose from. On top of that, you have to contend with poor signal quality.”
For her, the critical work is articulating in the simplest terms what a very technical service like DTT can do for the average Filipino home.
“We must be able to tell our consumers how their viewing experience will improve, not only in terms of crystal clear images and sound, but also in terms of more and richer programming options because we are adding four channels to the basic free channels,” she said.
Alcedo and her team believe that DTT is the greatest innovation vation to hit free TV since the invention of TV itself, engaging the team to demonstrate primarily the values of a pioneering entrepreneurial spirit and social justice.
“There was no existing business model we could copy from other markets. We are taking a bit of risk launching the service in a big way, but this only compels us to study our market well and to back up our decisions with science, meaning research and analysis.
“This service is an equalizer in terms of education and entertainment. Before, only those who could afford to pay monthly cable subscription fees had access to kids’ shows like ‘SpongeBob’ and ‘Dora,’ or all-day movies, or a 24-hour news channel. Now, with a one-time payment, anyone can enjoy channels which range from kids’ entertainment, mostly Tagalized (Yey); movies featuring their Pinoy idols (CineMo); kids’ education (Knowledge Channel); and news (DZMM TeleRadyo). These are on top of free-to-air channels ABSCBN and ABSCBN Sports and Action. The one-time payment for the DTT box is, in a sense, liberating because they are not tied to a monthly obligation that would interrupt their service if left unpaid,” Alcedo explained.
Supportive of Lopez Values
Her message to LopezLink readers: “Our team is very thankful and honored to bring this innovation to the Filipino masses to transform their TV viewing experience. We are counting on the usual support of the Lopez Group to help evangelize the public on the benefits of DTT, which we will brand as ABS-CBN TV Plus. We believe this is a service that is supportive of the Lopez Values, and we believe it can be a meaningful contribution to the ABSCBN and the larger Lopez Group portfolio." (Story/photos by Carla Paras-Sison)