ABS-CBN News chief: 'Our audience is overentertained, underinformed'

ABS-CBN Integrated News and Current Affairs chief Regina "Ging" Reyes said the Filipino audience are "overentertained and underinformed."

Reyes, one of the panelists at the virtual forum Reality Check: State of Journalism in the Philippines, said this on Friday, October 23, when asked what journalists could do to promote critical thinking and media literacy.

Reyes cited the media and the country's poor educational system as parts of the problem.

"Media fed our audience too much entertainment. We're guilty of that. This may not be a popular observation to some of my colleagues, I do believe our audience is overentertained, underinformed. And that is the thing we need to change," Reyes said.

ABS-CBN, the country's largest broadcaster, is also the biggest producer of entertainment content for many platforms.

Its flagship and primetime newscast TV Patrol was among the highest-rated programs in free TV. Much of its content are crime, national, and entertainment stories.

With the program airing only on cable and streaming online now, Reyes said TV Patrol's ad revenue dipped from P15 million daily to almost P1 million a day.

"We still operate news channels but we've had to compress our programming. We used to be 24/7, now we sign off at 10 pm, as part of cost-cutting," she added.

ABS-CBN was forced to go off-air early May due to a National Telecommunications Commission order. Lawmakers rejected the network's bid for a fresh franchise in July over alleged "numerous violations" – a decision widely condemned as politically motivated

Following its shutdown, ABS-CBN shifted its focus to its businesses that do not require a legislative franchise, including international licensing and distribution, digital and cable businesses, and content syndication via streaming services. (READ: FAST FACTS: Other businesses of ABS-CBN)

ABS-CBN Corporation suffered a massive net loss of P3.93 billion in the first half of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic and the denial of its franchise renewal. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com