Bloomberg TV to launch Philippine channel
(UPDATED) Bloomberg to bring its brand of business reporting on Philippine cable TV through a partnership with the Pangilinan-led TV5 and Cignal Digital TV

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Manuel V. Pangilinan expands his media empire anew.

The Pangilinan-led MediaQuest Holdings’ TV5 and Cignal Digital TV signed a deal with Bloomberg, the American-based international cable and satellite news network, on Wednesday, March 25.

To be called Bloomberg Television Philippines, the local channel will be the first 24/7 business news channel in the country, with a target launch this 2015.

“This partnership with Bloomberg heralds a new era in Philippine television, in which business information is set to be in the front and center of a rising Philippine economy,” said Pangilinan in a statement released by Bloomberg.

Cignal Digital TV Philippines Chief Operating Officer Oscar A. Reyes Jr said during the announcement that the tri-partnership will propel the country into becoming the next business capital for Southeast Asia.

Bloomberg Television Philippines will be distributed exclusively via Cignal Digital TV, the Philippines’ direct-to-home (DTH) satellite provider with about 844,000 subscribers.

Reyes added that the partnership aims to bring a 360-degree experience to subscribers. Talks are also going on with TV5 to curate about 35 to 40 minutes of content to be available on free TV, Lorenzana added.

“We are very excited to be partnering with Bloomberg and believe their global experience will be invaluable in taking business television programming to the next level,” said Noel C. Lorenzana, president and chief executive officer of MediaQuest.

Adding firepower

Bloomberg has localized channels across countries, with over 15,500 employees in 192 locations.

Prior to the Philippine signing of the deal, the business news network signed with Canadian media company Channel Zero for a rebranding also set this year, online resource Media Newser Philippines reported.

Bloomberg will be the second global network to go local in the Philippines.

CNN Philippines, with local brand licensed to Nine Media Corporation, has already started airing this March 15 – a “glocalized” version with a combination of locally produced news and content sourced from CNN in the United States that usually does not air on CNN International.

The latest deal continues Bloomberg’s momentum in Asia, complementing local partner channels in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Mongolia.

“This gives us more firepower in the country and the television landscape. Finding the right partner was very important to us,” said Parry Ravindranathan, Bloomberg Media managing director for the Asia-Pacific.

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Pangilinan has always wanted an all English-language business news channel.

Back in 2013, he announced the launching of CEO TV, originally planned to compete with ABS-CBN News Channel, but it never pushed through, Media Newser Philippines wrote on March 2.

“We just feel like going with Bloomberg is the right way to go. It’s a multi-year contract so hopefully this becomes a long-term relationship. We want Bloomberg Television Philippines to become the best Bloomberg news channel country in the world. That’s our aim,” Lorenzana said.

To be presented in English, the local extension of Bloomberg Television will expand the reach of its market-moving news, the company said in a statement.

“The Philippines is fast becoming a premier broadcast destination because of its strong subscriber growth,” said Gary Groenheim, commercial director of Bloomberg Television, Asia-Pacific.

“Being in the third largest English-speaking country in the world will help us reach a vast new audience by combining elements of our daily global broadcast material with unique, tailor-made local content,” Groenheim added.

“Our financial markets are rapidly growing in size and sophistication and we saw room for a premier business channel that can inform, educate, and showcase the best of business and finance in the Philippines,” Lorenzana said in a statement.

Lorenzana added that MediaQuest Holdings is also committing its latest technology to the production of Bloomberg TV Philippines, with resources like high definition (HD) cameras, studio controls, HD OB vans, and HD ENG vans to be readily deployed.

“We always strive to provide the best experience we can to our subscribers,” he added.

Talent-wise, Bloomberg Television Philippines will leverage on the talent and production expertise of News5, TV5’s news and information arm, to produce local content for the channel.

Bloomberg, in turn, will help its local partners to reach the editorial and production standards of its global enterprise, Ravindranathan said.

“I believe that every country goes through a point where they need a business channel. We want to give actionable news to do business in the Philippines,” Ravindranathan added.

“This partnership with Bloomberg shows what value pay TV can give Filipinos that they have never gotten before,” Reyes said.

“Business literacy is an advocacy for us. The wider the audience, the better,” Lorenzada stressed.

Ravindranathan sees the partnership as a long-term endeavor.

“As long as we have the same goals, the partnership is there. Term is not important for us,” Ravindranathan said.

Apart from Cignal Digital TV and TV5, MediaQuest Holdings also has interests in Nation Broadcasting Corporation, and broadsheets The Philippine Daily Inquirer, The Philippine Star, and Businessworld.  

TV5 has been fledging in terms of ratings competition, while Pangilinan’s cable TV arm, Cignal Digital TV, announced early this March that it is anticipating its subscriber base to reach 1 million in 2015. –