MANILA, Philippines – Radio Philippines Network channel 9 (RPN9) has acquired international cable news channel CNN's brand. With the partnership, the 9TV network, formerly Solar News, will soon be rebranded into "CNN Philippines." This comes just months after Solar News was reformatted to 9TV.
Solar TV network Inc. and BusinessMirror president Benjamin Ramos announced this on Monday, October 13. "We confirm [the] report that 9TV will be rebranded as CNN Philippines," Ramos told reporters.
Media Newser Philippines, which first reported the development, said the partnership will see 9TV carry CNN's international news coverage and current programs to free TV. In return, 9TV will generate reports on the Philippines for CNN.
The deal is expected to be formally announced in a press conference in Manila on Tuesday, October 14.
Solar News rebranded to 9TV in August after former ambassador Antonio Cabangon-Chua bought Wilson Tieng's 34% shares in Solar Entertainment Group.
The government, which owns a minority 20% stake in RPN 9 has been moving to privatize the network, along with IBC-13, but financial constraints have prevented it from doing so. The rest of the shares in RPN9 are owned by the Benedicto family, former cronies of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The entry of CNN Philippines through 9TV could provide some competition to leaders ABS-CBN and GMA Network.
Both networks each own 24-hour news channels similar to the CNN cable brand - ANC, the ABS-CBN News Channel, which is available on cable TV, and GMA News TV, which is available on free TV.
The partnership, seen to favor 9TV which has struggled for ratings in an industry dominated by the top 2 networks, was met with mixed reactions online.
I am excited for this! First on MNP: 9TV to rebrand as CNN Philippines: http://t.co/bSRK6LwZNR — Roger Cacayorin (@myrogerph) October 12, 2014
It's gonna be a lot of work but congrats and goodluck, 9TV (formerly Solar TV, soon to be CNN Philippines) http://t.co/yZ0xh9mB6o — Anna Lorraine Reyes (@annanymousbosch) October 12, 2014
What? Please don't try to ruin the name of CNN. | 9TV to rebrand as CNN Philippines: http://t.co/Adv41DbnKN — Neil Enore (@neilke93) October 13, 2014
Cabangon-Chua's group earlier said it will be "creative" in its bid to put the ailing RPN 9, which was once a premier television station before the People Power Revolution, out of the red.
Cabangon-Chua also owns newspaper BusinessMirror and radio station Aliw Broadcasting Corporation.
The deal is CNN's latest venture in Southeast Asia.
In February this year, Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific entered into a deal with PT Trans Media Corpora to launch CNN Indonesia, described as a "localized" version of CNN. CNN Indonesia also launched an accompanying website in Bahasa.
It remains to be seen how 9TV will reformat once it relaunches.