television industry

With closure of Sky Cable, ANC offers paid subscription online in bid to stay afloat

Isagani de Castro Jr.

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With closure of Sky Cable, ANC offers paid subscription online in bid to stay afloat

ANC PRESTIGE. Lopez-led ABS-CBN Corp.'s ABS-CBN News Channel is now offering paid subscription of all its shows via ANC Prestige, with Sky set to end its cable operations on February 26, 2024.

ABS-CBN Corporate Communications

(1st UPDATE) The ABS-CBN News Channel offers paid subscription on YouTube

ABS-CBN Corporation and PLDT Incorporated disclosed on February 22, Thursday, that they would no longer proceed with the sale of Sky Cable to PLDT. 

In a joint press release on Thursday, February 22, the two companies said they have “mutually decided not to proceed with the sale of Sky Cable to PLDT under the Sale and Purchase Agreement signed by and among the parties in March 2023.”

No reason was cited in their stock exchange disclosures. Regulators had approved that transaction last month.

Rappler was informed that the ANC Prestige subscription offer will continue, despite this development. 

Read the latest development herePLDT-Sky Cable deal not pushing through

MANILA, Philippines – With the closure of Sky Cable just before midnight (11:59) on Monday, February 26, ABS-CBN Corporation’s ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) is now offering paid subscription on YouTube for its whole program line-up in the hope that this will help keep it afloat. 

After the Philippine Competition Commission approved PLDT Incorporated’s acquisition of Sky’s broadband business last month, the Lopez family’s Sky Cable will no longer be a cable tv provider effective February 27, Tuesday, but its Sky Fiber broadband will continue as part of tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan’s PLDT’s broadband business.

This means that ANC, which started in 1996 as the Sarimanok News Channel, will lose a key source of funding. Sky Cable was supporting ANC to the tune of around P100 million yearly for ANC’s content, although the amount had to be reduced as ABS-CBN faced financial difficulties following the loss of its broadcast franchise in 2020, a source told Rappler.

Without this support, ANC will have to find other revenue sources to survive as a news channel. 

ABS-CBN previously said the sale of Sky Cable to PLDT was a “strategic decision” to maintain competitiveness, and to allow it to focus its resources on content creation.

On January 29, ABS-CBN issued a statement saying that ANC will continue its operations even with the end of Sky Cable’s operations. 

“ANC programs will continue to be seen on air through our partner cable TV providers nationwide and online via the ANC 24/7 YouTube channel, the ABS-CBN news website (, and on social media. It will also be on iWantTFC and The Filipino Channel,” it said.

In a press release on February 20, Tuesday, ABS-CBN said the following shows that used to be “exclusive only to cable subscribers” will now be available via a “livestream member subscription called ANC Prestige” on its YouTube Channel: 

  • Headstart 
  • Market Edge 
  • Dateline Philippines 
  • Business Roadshow 
  • Top Story 
  • Business Outlook 
  • The World Tonight 
  • ANC Headlines 
  • Executive Class 
  • Insight with April Lee Tan 
  • At The Moment
  • Rev+ 
  • Dayaw 
  • LSS: The Martin Nievera Show

Among its most popular shows is Headstart hosted by veteran journalist Karen Davila, who has 3.6 million followers on X (formerly Twitter), 823,000 on Facebook, 624,000 on Instagram, and 1.83 million subscribers on YouTube. 

ANC’s morning show Market Edge, hosted by business journalist Michelle Ong, has a following in the business community.

Veteran journalist Tony Velasquez, aka “Kakan Turing” on X (formerly Twitter), also has a fan base.

ABS-CBN said the subscription fee for ANC Prestige varies per country or territory. In the Philippines, it is P99 per month.

Those who want to subscribe should look for and tap the “Join” button and enter the payment method as prompted. 

ABS-CBN said ANC Prestige members will also have “exclusive access to on-demand business news, lifestyle, and exclusive members-only perks like photos and videos, badges, and emojis.” 

Even with ANC Prestige, there will still be videos on demand (VODs) as well as livestream of some ANC programs starting Tuesday “until further notice,” an ABS-CBN source told Rappler.

Sky Cable pioneered in cable services over 30 years ago. For a long time, it was the Philippines’ leading cable provider until PLDT’s cable business, Cignal TV Incorporated, overtook it in 2015.

Prior to the rise of the internet as source of news, ANC was the go-to news channel of many overseas Filipinos via ABS-CBN’s The Filipino Channel (TFC). Many subscribed to cable providers in order to watch news about the Philippines on TFC. 

ABS-CBN also sold ANC’s news program The World Tonight to foreign news organizations like Japan’s NHK, which aired the show nightly and also translated it to Japanese.

The rise of the internet, however, allowed people to watch shows without having to pay for cable, leading to the decline of cable tv worldwide. 

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News organizations struggle

Many news organizations, not only in the Philippines but around the world, are having difficulties as revenues from Meta (formerly Facebook) fell in 2023 after it ended its support for Instant Articles, Bulletin, and breaking news indicators. 

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These tools used to be one of the main sources of revenues for news publishers as these allowed them to “sell ads in their articles and keep the revenue,” Meta said when it was launched in 2015. 

Meta, however, gave it up saying it wanted to focus on its “core business.” It also said this was in response to what its “users want,” which, it said, was “creator-driven content, especially video.” 

Meta said in March 2023 that netizens’ habits were changing, noting that the proportion of adults using Facebook for news fell from 45% to 30% from 2016 to 2022. 

“Only 13% of US adults prefer to use social media for news, with 33% preferring television, 23% news websites or apps, 7% radio, and 5% print,” Meta had said.

It also said many Facebook users “think there is ‘too much’ news on Facebook.” –


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Isagani de Castro Jr.

Before he joined Rappler as senior desk editor, Isagani de Castro Jr. was longest-serving editor in chief of ABS-CBN News online. He had reported for the investigative magazine Newsbreak, Asahi Shimbun Manila, and Business Day. He has written chapters for books on politics, international relations, and civil society.