Following Senate President, Senator Vicente Sotto III’s efforts, House Deputy Speaker and Batangas 6th District Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto said she is passing a bill for ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.
In the Senate Bill 1967, Sen. Sotto cited free TV’s value with a December 2019 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released in September 2020, stating that 49% of Filipino adults or 45 million individuals use television. Additionally, he also cited Kantar Media’s findings stating that ABS-CBN registered an average audience share of 45% compared to GMA7 with 31%.
Once passed, the Senate bill will renew ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation’s franchise, allowing the company to construct, install, operate, and maintain television and radio broadcasting stations in the Philippines.
In July 2020, Congress denied the media giant’s franchise, with 70 solons backing the decision. It resulted in ABS-CBN’s shutdown, affecting 11,000 employees of the Network. Due to such, the company retrenched many of its assets and talents. To adapt, ABS-CBN moved to digital platforms such as YouTube and facebook.
The media giant returned to free TV through their block time deal with Zoe TV 11 producing A2Z channel 11.
In related news, Buhay Partylist Representative Lito Atienza teased hope for ABS-CBN’s return in 2021 last December 2020. According to Rep. Atienza, with the new Congress leadership, former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano won’t have a say on the matter.
Additionally, Atienza disclosed that the new House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco awaits the restarting of discussions for ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.