Shuttered ABS-CBN’s Newscast Gets 8 Million Facebook Views

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(Bloomberg) -- ABS-CBN Corp., the Philippine media giant shut by the government, aired its flagship newscast on social media on Thursday night, generating 8 million views on Facebook Inc. and YouTube Inc. and potentially expanding the shuttered broadcaster’s platform.

Its prime time news program “TV Patrol” which has been on free TV for more than three decades until it signed off on May 5 also resumed airing via ABS-CBN News’ website, its cable channels and streaming service that weren’t covered by the regulator’s closure order.

The newscast had 8 million views on Facebook and 784,000 views on its Youtube channel, which has 9.16 million subscribers. Rival GMA Network Inc’s top news program which mainly airs on its free TV channel had 950,000 views on Facebook and 369,000 on YouTube Thursday.

Shuttered ABS-CBN’s Newscast Gets 8 Million Facebook Views

ABS-CBN has seven of the 10 most-viewed television shows in the Philippines, including the most popular drama “Ang Probinsyano” with a 30.3% audience share, the broadcaster said in February, citing data from Kantar Media. ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol was also among the Top 10 with a 24.5% viewership.

ABS-CBN, in its petition asking the Supreme Court to stop the closure, said it is losing as much as 35 million pesos ($694,000) for each day it’s off the air. Because of the order, the company “will not be able to service its debt, and this would constrain its creditors to require collateral for its loans,” it said.

Lawmakers will hold hearings on ABS-CBN’s franchise, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said in a Facebook post, without saying when. He said the House of Representatives was “ambushed” by the telecommunications commission when it shut ABS-CBN. The commission’s chief told lawmakers in March that ABS-CBN will be given provisional authority for its continued operations even as Congress has yet to renew its franchise.

ABS-CBN shares remain suspended from trading since the bourse halted it on May 6.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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