The year 2018 marked a changing of the guard in ABSCBN as it continues to undergo transformation to better serve the Filipino.
Leading ABS-CBN into the future is new chairman Mark L. Lopez (MLL) with Eugenio Lopez III (EL3) being elected as chairman emeritus.
Addressing the employees in his first speech as the leader of the country’s leading media and entertainment company in the “Just Love Araw-Araw with the Chairman” event, MLL vowed that ABS-CBN will continue to fulfill its vision to be in the service of the Filipino.
“We will carry on with the projects that bring meaningful interaction and give Filipinos an advantage in how they conduct themselves in a heavily connected world and make sure that no Filipino will be left behind in this digital revolution. This is a time when we need to bring everyone into the fold and to give them the access to new opportunities, to great information and to content that empowers and inspires,” MLL affirmed.
He also paid tribute to his predecessors and mentors in the company “who took risks and empowered people to achieve goals that could benefit not just the ABS-CBN organization but more importantly, the Filipino as a nation and as a people.”
EL3, Eugenio “Geny” Lopez Jr., Atty. Jake Almeda-Lopez, former presidents Freddie M. Garcia and Charo SantosConcio, and current president Carlo L. Katigbak (CLK) not only built the foundation and pillars of ABS-CBN, but also lived up to the company’s vision, MLL noted.
He also highlighted the contributions of other Kapamilya: the journalists who risk their lives in pursuit of stories, the production crew who set up equipment and studios for shows, and employees who sacrifice personal and family time to volunteer during times of crises.
MLL, 45, is the youngest of the four children of Lopez Group chairman Manuel M. Lopez and Maritess Lopez. He joined ABS-CBN’s Business Development group straight out of Menlo College before moving to Meralco, where he stayed for the next 13 years. He was named chief technology officer of ABS-CBN in 2011,a year after rejoining the company’s Information Technology group.
‘Fly high, Kapamilya’
Meanwhile, EL3 in his speech quoted his father Geny, known in ABS-CBN as “Kapitan,” who said “broadcasting is for the young.”
“That statement is as true today as the fact that change is the only constant, for the young has the courage to go where no one has ever been,” EL3 said.
“‘Why not?’ or ‘Bakit hindi?’ has always been one of the defining attributes of our organization. The demographic profile of the Philippines has always been biased towards the youth. Who better to assess the needs of our audience than like-minded young managers?”
The new chairman emeritus said MLL and CLK, who are both in their 40s, will “carve out their roles in a way that will hopefully cater to their individual strengths.”
EL3 concluded by quoting Kahlil Gibran: “‘Your children are not your children/They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself/They come through you but not from you.’
“And so it is with ABSCBN. I spent most of my life with you, but you are not an extension of me. As a wise man once said, if you love them, set them free. So fly high, Kapamilya. Never be afraid to dream, never be afraid to venture where no one has gone. I remain with you always.”
EL3, then also 45 years old, had taken over the chairmanship of ABS-CBN from his father in 1997.
He not only took the company into the new millennium, but also steered it over speed bumps and guided it through its unwavering transformation.
The new ventures under EL3’s watch included interactive and online media, international and domestic cable and satellite channels, broadband services, sports programming, consumer products and licensing, digital TV and immersive experiences.
EL3 also quarterbacked the rollout of products such as SKYcable, The Filipino Channel, TFC.tv, iWant TV and ABS-CBN TVplus.
As ABS-CBN continues its transformation, it does so guided by five commitments.
According to CLK, the company pledges to grow its core broadcasting business even as it seeks its place in a digital world; to go beyond offering content experiences; to continue to serve and connect families; to deliver impactful public service and help Filipinos achieve their dreams; and to give ABS-CBN employees the opportunity to be the best they can be.
ABS-CBN in 2017 brought in its highest post-election net income yet of P3.2 billion.
Total assets have steadily expanded over the past three years, from P69.9 billion in 2015, to P72.7 billion in 2016 and P75.1 billion by 2017.
“While the TV advertising industry continues to face challenges, we are encouraged by the growth of other sectors of the company,” CLK said during the ASM. “Our digital advertising is gaining substantial traction, our broadband business in SKY continues to deliver robust growth and our movie business continues to churn out box office records.”
ABS-CBN reaped dividends from its digital transformation as revenues generated by the sector ballooned by a whopping 95%. Among digital assets, abs-cbn.com has collected almost four billion page views to catapult it to the number one spot among Philippine-based websites. The digital terrestrial television product, ABS-CBN TVplus, has sold five million units to date, almost 50% of which were moved over the last year alone.
Among ABS-CBN’s new initiatives in 2017 were the pioneering Kapamilya Thank You customer loyalty program and the Kapamilya Accounts single sign-on service KTX, which galloped to 8.2 million unique users by the end of the year.
With its 17 movies picking up P2.5 billion in gross receipts in 2017, Star Cinema accounted for almost 76% of the year’s domestic gross receipts.
SKY’s subscriber base expanded by 22% in 2017, while the SKYdirect direct-to-home service which was rolled out in May 2016 ended the year with almost 400,000 subscribers.
Meanwhile, ABS-CBN through Bantay Bata 163 acted upon an estimated 8,500 reports and tips, and helped 24,000 families affected by the five-month Marawi siege. More than 100,000 Filipinos affected by various natural calamities received aid, while 7,000 individuals in need of medical, legal and other assistance found relief at the Tulong Center in Quezon City.
Ensuring that no one is left behind, especially its own people, the company continues to invest in employee education and training. Last year, 2,500 participants signed up for 58 courses and learning events at ABS-CBN University.
As the new leadership moves to bring ABS-CBN into the future, CLK underscored the company’s fundamental objective.
“If we continue to focus on giving our customers a service that is meaningful, relevant and valuable to them, we will continue to exist and thrive as a company” said CLK. “And if we offer this service genuinely and sincerely, authentically and correctly, I’m sure ABSCBN will continue to play an important role in Philippine society.”