ABS-CBN's O Shopping to shut down this year

Ian Nicolas Cigaral - Philstar.com
ABS-CBN said the joint venture firm's balance sheet has been in the red since 2018, and the situation was worsened by CJ ENM's decision to move its business out of Southeast Asia completely.
O Shopping / Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — An ABS-CBN television channel will permanently go off-air this year as a result of persistent losses that hounded the company way ahead of its mother network’s franchise woes.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Wednesday, the Lopez-led media giant said ACJ O Shopping Corp., a joint venture with Korean firm CJ ENM Company Ltd., will cease operations “towards the end of the year” after being in the red since 2018.

ACJ O Shopping runs the O Shopping Channel aired in various ABS-CBN platforms such as TVPlus since 2013. Apart from financial challenges, ABS-CBN said business disruptions from the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) did not help ACJ O Shopping’s viability.

“The past two years have been challenging for the company as it experienced financial losses. The COVID-19 outbreak has and will continue to take a toll on the business this year,” ABS-CBN said.

“As it winds down its operations, the company will make further announcements regarding the selling of its goods on-air and online. ACJ will continue to serve its customers as best it can despite the reduction in manpower in the next few months,” the network added.

ABS-CBN said ACJ O “has made the difficult decision” to start letting go of its employees by August 7. The retrenched workers will receive separation packages, the network said.

Apart from COVID-19, ACJ O’s decision to stop operations comes as its embattled parent network feel the financial burden of losing its franchise to air free TV and radio channels since May 5. 

The Duterte government shut down ABS-CBN due to its lapse franchise, ignoring numerous precedents that allowed broadcast networks to operate pending the passage of a new franchise bill.

Legislators, who have delayed hearing ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal since 2016, are expected to vote whether to pass or reject the new 25-year license bill at the committee level on Thursday.

ABS-CBN shares fell 0.14% to close at P14.96 apiece on Wednesday.

“Even as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Philippine and global economy is yet to be fully realized, the Order will put additional financial burden on the Company,” ABS-CBN said.

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