The Butcher | Is this a blessing in disguise for ABS-CBN?

Right now, ABS-CBN is still kept alive through ANC, Cinema One, Jeepney TV and its other platforms that don’t require a franchise from the government to operate. As of this writing, nobody is being asked to leave – yet. Its regular employees  are still going to get their pay for the next three months. Some on-cam talents, in fact, still get to collect their paychecks even if there is no production work – given the lock-down.

Right now, ABS-CBN is still kept alive through ANC, Cinema One, Jeepney TV and its other platforms that don’t require a franchise from the government to operate. As of this writing, nobody is being asked to leave – yet. Its regular employees are still going to get their pay for the next three months. Some on-cam talents, in fact, still get to collect their paychecks even if there is no production work – given the lock-down.

It was actually politics that gave birth to ABS-CBN in 1953. To be very brief about it, ABS-CBN was initially created to serve as campaign platform for then already ailing President Elpidio Quirino in his re-election bid vs the young and energetic Ramon Magsaysay.

Is ABS-CBN just part of history now? All legal measures, of course, are being prepared by management at the moment in its attempt to reopen the network.

Right now, ABS-CBN is still kept alive through ANC, Cinema One, Jeepney TV and its other platforms that don’t require a franchise from the government to operate.

As of this writing, nobody is being asked to leave – yet. Its regular employees  are still going to get their pay for the next three months. Some on-cam talents, in fact, still get to collect their paychecks even if there is no production work – given the lock-down. 

There is actually a possibility that new episodes of Ang Probinsiyano and other programs would be seen again by making full use of the network’s cable system. But perhaps not yet. It is difficult to move in this quarantine season.

The cancellation of the ABS-CBN franchise may actually be a blessing for its owners, the Lopezes. The franchise cancellation, in fact, came at the right time -  if you look at it from a financial point of view.

Since the lock-down, the network had been operating at a loss. Sure, it had its replays that were sold to advertisers at no cost to production. But whatever advertising revenues those gathered were mere pittance since ad rates had always been significantly lower for replays. Some commercials were even aired as bonus – a goodwill gesture to loyal sponsors.

Before Channel 2 went off the air, TV Patrol no longer got to air its usual load of commercials – unlike in pre-COVID 19 days. There are fewer advertisers these days because who could even launch a new product in this pandemic season?

Now, when the lock-down is lifted, the existing major network GMA will surely have a difficult time producing those soap operas that bring in huge revenues. Its production think-tank would have to be even more creative to be able to devise ways to shoot soaps without breaking quarantine protocol.

Supplying everyone with alcohol and face masks will drain production budget. Why, as early as a decade ago, the two big networks had already been scrimping on costs. In ABS-CBN, those who wanted free coffee had to bring their own mugs.     

This global pandemic is expected to last two years. Powers would have changed by then and ABS-CBN can make a spectacular comeback – just like it did in 1986. Unfortunately, some employees may have to be sacrificed.

It’s just sad that even the renewal of a network franchise had to be marred by politics – with members of Congress blaming each other in the ABS-CBN aftermath. 

In this country, political practices are deadly. It’s not COVID-19 that will kill us. It’s politics that will decimate us all in the end.

 

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