Philippines DTT News: ABS-CBN is spending P600 million this year to expand the coverage of its digital terrestrial television (DTT) service.
During Wednesday night’s launch of the its TV set-top box called TVPlus, ABS-CBN Corporation chief financial officer Ron Valdueza said the company would invest more as it goes nationwide.
“I think this year we have to go to other provinces like Cagayan, Cebu, Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao and Naga. Based on our estimate it would be around P600 million this year,” Valdueza said.
Since 2008, the company has spent P3 billion to roll out digital TV service. At present, the service covers only Mega Manila, Central Luzon and some areas in Northern Luzon.
“We are still looking at the investment to cover nationwide. We will see how the market responds first,” Valdueza said.
Lopez-owned ABS-CBN’s launch of what it has been promoting as the “mahiwagang black box” comes after the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) issuance last December of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the country’s shift to digital TV. The Philippines’ has adopted Japan’s Integrated Services Digital Broadcast-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) standard.
Shifting to digital would entail costs for 17 million TV households, 50 percent of which do not have a clear TV signal. The ABS-CBN TVPlus costs P2,500.
Valdueza said the company aims to sell a million set-top boxes this year, adding that the shift to digital would improve ABS-CBN’s ratings as well as ad revenue.
“DTT is an investment in the Filipino people. We believe that the inspiration and the information that digital TV will beam into their homes will help open new windows of opportunity for every Filipino family,” ABS-CBN head of access Carlo Katigbak said.
“Through Philippines DTT, we hope to create and offer more information and entertainment content for viewers in order to give them more choices, serve them better, and enrich their lives,” he added.
Alvin Bernard Blanco, chief of the NTC Broadcast Services Division, had said the country would shut off analog TV as early as 2020.
Rivals GMA Network Inc and TV5 Network Inc have yet to commercially offer digital TV services.
Besides Japan and the Philippines, other countries that use ISDB-T are Brazil, Peru, Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Paraguay.