Sotto files new bill to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise

Sotto’s Senate Bill No 1967 seeks to grant ABS-CBN a new license to operate its television and radio broadcasting stations for 25 years.

“I noticed the TV stations have been replacing their news programs with animes. It means competition is absent and mediocrity is creeping in because of the absence of a strong competitor like ABS-CBN,” Sotto told reporters in a text message.

“ABS-CBN’s wide reach to Filipinos, alongside with the undeniable advantages of broadcast media relative to mass communication, definitely call for the immediate renewal of the network’s franchise,” he said in the bill’s explanatory note.

The Senate President noted that despite its absence from free TV and radio stations, ABS-CBN continued to enjoy high ratings on its A2Z Channel, cable and online platforms where some of the Kapamilya shows continue to air.

“In September, ABS-CBN is still the top choice of viewers in the Philippines… as the network registered an average audience share of 45 percent or 14 points higher than GMA’s 31 percent,” Sotto said, citing data from Kantar Media.

“Likewise, Filipinos abroad feel a little less away from home due to The Filipino Channel, commonly known as TFC, also owned and operated by ABS-CBN,” he said.

Last year, ABS-CBN lost its license to operate after a House panel denied the renewal of its franchise.

Sotto said the broadcast giant may have a “better chance” of having its license renewed this year due to the change in the House’s leadership.


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