How ABS-CBN fast tracked its digital transformation
The Head of ABS-CBN News in the Philippines, Regina Reyes, speaking at ABU-RAI Days, told the story of how her broadcast company lost its broadcast licences two years ago because the previous president “didn’t like our content”.
At the point of licence renewal, the regulator did not grant a new licence for the company’s continued operation and it was issued with a ‘cease and desist order’ which forced the company of 11,000 staff to close its radio and tv transmitters after 34 years of operation.
While it was extremely painful for the company it also “fast tracked the digital transformation to social and digital platforms”, Ms Reyes said.
The independent news outlet has grown its digital audiences. For example its news channel has 14 million subscribers on YouTube. Overall it has increased its audience from previously. However, while revenue is “significant” from the online platforms, it is still “well below” the previous broadcast revenue.
As the organisation fast tracked its transformation to digital delivery there were several key challenges, including getting everyone to buy into the digital mind set from the old broadcast mindset, regaining public trust and fighting disinformation.