The shutdown of the ABS-CBN network affected the total revenue and earnings of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) due to the limited television operations of the network along with the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was announced by MTRCB on Friday, October 2, that about 40% of its earnings were reduced due to the shutdown of the Kapamilya network.
In 2019, it was revealed that MTRCB’s total earnings reached about P136 million in which the ABS-CBN network and its subsidiaries contributed to about 20% of the agency’s earnings by remitting P22.74 million worth of review fees.
The said remittance amount by the Kapamilya network does not include fees paid by ABS-CBN’s Star Cinema according to MTRCB’s Executive Director Ann Marie Nemenzo during the agency’s budget hearing in the Senate.
The drop in the agency’s revenue was also the outcome brought by the global pandemic because the entertainment industry is getting less amount of review fees from movies.
“Also because of the pandemic now, mas konti pa ‘yung [review fees na galing] sa mga movies,” MTRCB chair Rachel Arenas said.
“‘Yung mga networks, mas konti ang pinapa-review nila so mas bababa po ‘yung aming income this year,” she added.
In 2020, the embattled Kapamilya network remitted only P7.4 million to MTRCB that’s why MTRCB chair Rachel Arenas said that the review board is planning to resume the operations of cinemas in the provinces to cater the income loss brought by both the ABS-CBN’s shutdown and the pandemic.
“Inaasahan po namin sa last quarter magpi-pick up ‘yung magpapa-review sa amin at magpi-pick up na ang industriya,” she said.
“Hopefully by December magbubukas na ang cinemas sa provinces. Siguro it (income) would pick up by the end of the year,” she added.
It can be remembered that the ABS-CBN network did not make any violations with its franchise but House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano defended the decision of the congress to shut down the network by directly assailing the owners of the media giant, the Lopezes, for their wrongdoings which led the network to shut down.
“Yes, their methods for avoiding taxes in the billions of pesos may appear ‘legal,’ but how can you argue that putting that much money in the pockets of one family, instead of having it benefit the millions of Filipinos who desperately need it, is in any way right or moral?” Cayetano wrote in a Facebook post.
“Ultimately, people will come to understand that this was never an issue about press freedom. That despite the best efforts of the owners’ to use it as a shield for their abusive corporate practices, Filipinos will see that this is – first and foremost – simply part of this season’s uprooting of the weeds and a reclaiming our patrimony from the oligarchs,” he added.
Recently, MTRCB legal affairs chief Jonathan Presquito appeared at a Senate hearing and said that the agency should be allowed to regulate the content of online streaming platforms.
MTRCB has been pushing for regulating content online with the launch of its Matalinong Panonood campaign earlier in the year. Presquito said that their main concern is whether they can compel iWant TFC, Netflix, iFlix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services—which he referred to as video-on-demand (VOD) platforms—to register with the MTRCB.
“Our concern is how we can enforce compliance for VOD platforms to register with the MTRCB to be regulated without coming into conflict with other laws of the country,” citing conflicts with BIR, SEC, and local government units for the necessary paperwork.
“Netflix is not physically in the Philippines, but they are clearly doing business in the Philippines under SEC law,” Presquito added.
He also said that selling videos without an MTRCB classification is illegal. “The MTRCB law is clear: no material shall be sold or distributed in the Philippines without being passed upon (sic) by the MTRCB.”