MANILA, Philippines – The group behind media network TV5 will continue a deal that allows it to have a foot inside a state-owned TV station, which the Pangilinan-led group is eyeing when it is finally put up for sale.
The top officials of MediaQuest Holdings, the media arm of the Pangilinan-led groups, said they will extend its block time agreement with government-owned and controlled International Broadcasting Corp. (IBC) channel 13.
“I think we will extend it for another year,” said Ray Espinosa, MediaQuest president, as well as TV5 president and CEO.
“The one-year agreement signed last 2011 would have lapsed late March or April this year,” he added.
IBC-13, as well as another state-owned Radio Philippines Network (RPN) channel 9, are both sequestered assets that are up for privatization as part of efforts to raise revenues for the state.
However, since the privatization process has been delayed, IBC-13 and MediaQuest entered into a block time agreement in the meantime.
Under the agreement, MediaQuest upgraded the facilities of IBC-13, which is transforming itself into a non-stop news and sports channel. The upgrade included new transmission systems, among others, as well as the rehabilitation of IBC-13’s assets.
In turn, the revenues from the block-timed shows — which run from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. seven days in a week — go to Mediaquest.
The shows are predominantly sports-related, including the PBA Development League, as other channels could no longer carry the said program given that all primetime slots are already full.
“TV5 is already full. I think neither [ABS-CBN Channel-] 2 or [GMA-]7 can carry it as well. You do need a UHF or VHF channel to carry sports on primetime so that’s why we went for IBC13,” explained businessman Manuel Pangilinan.
Foot in the door
Pangilinan has been vocal in saying that his group would bid for IBC-13. He had told reporters in 2011 that “the bid schedule is out of our hands. It depends on the government when it will be privatized.”
This foot-in-the-door strategy of the Pangilinan group is similar to its strategy with the light rail service, the MRT-3, which the government is also eyeing to put up for privatization in various stages.
Pangilinan-led infrastructure firm Metro Pacific Investment Corp (MPIC) has a stake in MRT Corp, the private consortium that has economic interests in the train project.
The Aquino government, however, has decided to bid out the project.
MPIC and conglomerate San Miguel Corp. are both interested to participate in the MRT-3 bidding.
San Miguel has also expressed interest in IBC-13 and RPN-9 when these are put up for sale. – Rappler.com