iWant head Elaine UyCasipit started as a consultant for ABS-CBN Corporation’s Digital Media Division (DMD) in June 2013. Her immediate task was to streamline and strengthen ABS-CBN’s digital structure. Brought in by Donald Lim, chief digital officer of ABS-CBN from April 2013 to March 2017, Casipit was among the country’s pioneers during the boom of digital agencies.
The De La Salle University-College of St. Benilde Computer Applications major officially became ABS-CBN’s Digital Operations head in September 2013. Under her wing, DMD’s personnel grew by 100%, a testament to ABSCBN’s commitment to further the digital agenda.
Additionally, DMD has reaped numerous local and international awards for its effective digital campaigns, including recognition from the prestigious Lopez Achievement Awards and Walk on Water Awards. After Lim resigned, Casipit became DMD officer-in-charge, and her momentum kept the division growing.
Central to business
“Before, DMD was relegated the role of servicing only a few of ABS-CBN’s lines of businesses (LOBs). While this was an important task, DMD can do more. But with digital becoming central to our business and to our consumers, DMD’s end-to-end services became more critical to most if not all of our internal partners as well,” said Casipit.
By May 2018, Casipit also took on the concurrent role as division head of the new iWant, ABS-CBN’s over-thetop (OTT) service.
“Today, our audiences look for quality content that they can consume easily and conveniently via online streaming, bypassing traditional distribution platforms. That’s why iWant is also important to ABS-CBN’s success.”
She adds: “Thanks to the support, guidance and collaboration from all of ABS-CBN’s divisions and LOBs, we are on our way to making our dream a reality—for iWant to be a big player in the global arena. We are here to experiment and explore. We are continuously learning from our successes and our failures.”
For iWant content management head Ginny MonteagudoOcampo, her main challenge is applying her lean team of 22 to the huge task of end-to-end content management “from conceptualization to archiving.” She says she is “so blessed with hardworking, competent and talented people who make the work enjoyable, exciting and fulfilling.”
The Ateneo de Manila University Communications graduate brings to iWant over two decades of experience in TV production, having joined ABS-CBN straight out of college in 1993. She could easily have been teaching at a Catholic college but after consulting with her mentor, Jesuit scholastic Fr. Ibarra “Nim” Gonzales, she was directed to ABS-CBN which seemed to “need her more.”
“Beyond being a communications graduate, the mission to serve the Filipino was what I needed to be at my center. I accepted the assignment in iWant after 25 years in production, again looking for that center,” says Ocampo, who has seen her role to cover “bridging the gap between production and digital, that is, translating the creativity that is in production into something that works for the digital business."
Casipit and Ocampo note that ABS-CBN’s market for OTT has extended beyond global Filipinos and encompasses all nationalities who have internet service.
“We want to package our artists and shows to make that leap to reach the non-Filipino market, where there are no barriers from country to country. Digital is easier to roll out,” says Casipit.
Ocampo, who credits her first boss Laurenti Dyogi with teaching her to “move mountains” at work, says: “I want iWant to be seen as a global brand, for Filipino content creators to be globally known, and still that would be in the service of the Filipino worldwide. It’s a different platform from TV to digital… but in all of ABSCBN, we are all moving mountains to achieve this vision.”
Ocampo considers iWant as a playground where she can experiment with all kinds of content and see where it goes. “TV production is dictated by ratings. Digital is different.” This is where the values of a pioneering entrepreneurial spirit and unity are very evident.
Casipit reminds “LopezLink” readers: “Don’t be afraid of digital. Digital is not only for the young. As long as you follow what your audience needs, you’ll be okay.”
Ocampo’s message: “Working with millennials can make you feel old. But you bring wisdom and experience they don’t have. Be willing to learn yourself. I had to educate myself with all the digital jargon in iWant. I told them, ‘teach me’. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. You would think having spent 25 years in production that I would know everything. But the uniqueness of the digital platform really wakes up my brain cells and I feel young again.”