CNN Philippines: Big Transformation Coming on January 2015
For an initial partnership contract of 5 years, 9TV in the Philippines will pay monthly brand licensing fee to CNN to have access to its programs and expertise. Every thought it was a joke, but it suddenly became a strategic partnership on both sides.
This was how former ambassador and the chairman of Nine Media Corporation, Antonio Cabangon-Chua, described how negotiations for the deal with the Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific, owner of CNN, began. The negotiations started early June 2013, Cabangon-Chua said, and it took months of "courting each other" before both groups reached a deal.
The initial brand licensing agreement will run for an initial period of 5 years that is according to the 9TV senior vice president for news Jing Magsaysay.
According to the agreement, 9TV agreed to pay CNN a certain amount monthly in exchange for access to its programs and expertise, The Inquirer reported.
Cabangon-Chua declined to disclose the amount. He also declined to disclose any amount allocated for 9TV's expansion. "We are paying them a certain fee. There is nothing free in this life. But that is confidential. It involves business," Cabangon-Chua said.
CNN Philippines was formally launched last Tuesday, October 14, in Solaire Resorts and Casinos in Manila, Philippines, just days after it was reported that 9TV had acquired the CNN brand, Kicker Daily News has learned.
9TV targets to rebrand as CNN Philippines in the first quarter of 2015. The next months will be used to prepare for the big transformation of the company.
Magsaysay said present employees will remain with the company. As part of the deal, some reporters will be sent to the US to be trained by CNN staff while some CNN consultants will also come to the Philippines to extend their expertise. CNN Philippines is localized version of CNN and it's separate from CNN International. The CNN Philippines will air in Free TV as CNN International continues their airing on cable TV. CNN Philippines will be a combination of locally produced news and content sourced from CNN US, which usually does not air on CNN International.
"We will define over the coming months what the content will be but it will be predominantly news with current affairs and Filipino-based lifestyle news," Magsaysay said.
CNN Philippines will be available in 2015 on free TV in Manila RPN-TV9, Cebu RPN-TV9, Davao RPN-TV9, Zamboanga RPN-TV5, Baguio RPN-TV12, and Bacolod RPN-TV8, according to ABS-CBN News.
It will also be available on cable TV via Sky Cable in Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, Iloilo, and Baguio as well as Destiny Cable, Cablelink, and Cignal.
"It started just like a joke. Nag-usap sila (CNN) nung presidente namin si Reggie (Galura). Parang biru-biruan lang. Nag-materialize kasi maganda ang intensiyones ng isa't isa (It started just like a joke. CNN and our president talked. They were just joking. It materialized because each side had good intentions)," Cabangon-Chua said.
The joint venture is the latest in CNN's partnerships with other countries. Just in February, 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. There are also similar CNN partnerships and joint ventures in Chile, India, Japan and Turkey.
Asked why CNN chose to partner with 9TV, CNN International vice president for content, sales, and partnerships Greg Beitchman said:
"It's a great moment for CNN to come in countries and when we do that, we look around to see who's in the market. We look around at the environment and see who will allow free and transparent journalism and we talk to all kinds of partners. With Nine Media, we really felt a sort of synergy with their values. We spent a long time talking to them about where they felt journalism was going and where they thought their business was going and we felt very comfortable," he said.
The entry of CNN Philippines is seen to boost the standing of 9TV, which has struggled for ratings in a television landscape dominated by the big three networks today - ABS-CBN 2, TV 5 and GMA 7. But Cabangon-Chua said CNN Philippines does not intend to compete with other networks.
"We'll do it on our own. We'll set our own example. It's public service," he said, declining to give a timeline on when he expects to recover his investment in the business.
What about CNN? CNN International Asia Pacific senior vice president and managing editor Ellana Lee said the prospects are bright.
"I'm pretty confident that when you bring in the brand of CNN that's been around for 34 years and has a strong know-how about the standards and practices - it will shake up the landscape and I think it will be a very interesting prospect and it will be a lot of fun," she said.
Now, everyone is looking forward on how this joint venture will work out. Everyone's hoping for the best of course, all in the name of public service.
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