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ABS-CBN shutdown changes media landscape

And with ABS-CBN’s shift to digital platforms which GMA Network has also followed suit, digital advertising is likely to be the new normal for advertisers.

With ABS-CBN’s exit from free TV, the Philippine media industry has been altered big time.

According to a report by Rappler, ABS-CBN’s shutdown last May had a big effect on Filipinos’ TV viewing habits.

During the 1st week after ABS-CBN Channel 2 went off the air,  TV viewing in the Philippines dropped 24% from May 6 to June 5. The length of viewing is said to have decreased also by almost an hour prior to the Kapamilya network shutdown.

This was corroborated by the data from Kantar Media which showed that 36% of ABS-CBN viewers have shut off their televisions sets after the last airing of TV Patrol on Channel 2 on May 5.

GMA Network initially benefited from the shutdown, with some ABS-CBN viewers switching to the network and its other channel GMA News TV after the ABS-CBN shutdown.

In the same data from Kantar, 30% of Kapamilya viewers switched to GMA Network after TV Patrol’s last airing on free TV.

GMA Network’s audience shared has also increased by almost double during the Kapamilya closure. From 32% pre-shutdown, the Kapuso network audience share grew by 23% at 55%. It’s subsidiary network GMA News TV also grew by 100% from 2% to 4%.

However, after the launch of Kapamilya Channel on cable, satellite, and direct TVs, cable viewing saw an increase especially in the rural areas which is known as ABS-CBN bailiwick.

During the week of its launch on June 14, Kapamilya Channel immediately ranked 4th in terms of audience share, following GMA Network, CineMo!, and TV5.

Meanwhile, aside from additional audience share, GMA Network also benefitted from additional ad spots.

Immediately after ABS-CBN’s shutdown, advertisements on GMA Network have increased by 44%. From the previous 3,627 advertisements, the Kapuso network landed at 5,212 ads post rival’s closure.

Advertisers, however, said it’s not enough to transfer to other channels as some brands were able to meet or even exceeded targetted reach and rating while others did not.

ABS-CBN’s shutdown coupled with the current pandemic has shooked the advertising industry heavily.

And with ABS-CBN’s shift to digital platforms which GMA Network has also followed suit, digital advertising is likely to be the new normal for advertisers.

“The TV advertising industry will likewise have to adapt to the recent changes in audience behavior and channel landscape by looking at possible alternative digital platforms which seem to be the likely substitute for TV as an advertising medium,” said Jay Bautista, Kantar managing director.

And while the internet is somehow difficult to control, audience migration from TV to other media platforms will be a big consideration for advertisers and it will be interesting to watch out in the coming months according to Venus Navalta, CEO of media agency IPG Mediabrands Philippines.

“Advertisers had to again adjust campaign plans (after factoring in the COVID-19 impact) to take into account the audience migration from television, shifting media mix, as well as TV channel mix.” 



“COVID-19 and the ABS-CBN shutdown have accelerated digital adoption, with a decade worth of usage rate happening in a few months. The internet by its very nature is stateless and difficult to control,” Navalta said in an e-mail to Rappler.

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