ABS-CBN, creating content for global audiences

KAPAMILYA DAY - Kane Errol Choa - The Philippine Star
ABS-CBN, creating content for global audiences
ABS-CBN Films is entering into a deal with India’s Global One Studios for a Bollywood remake of five of its blockbuster hits starring Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla.
STAR / File

ABS-CBN’s heartfelt Filipino stories are enjoying popularity in different parts of the world. Dubbed in various languages, Kapamilya teleseryes have struck a chord with audiences in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Recently, ABS-CBN Films announced that it is entering into a deal with India’s Global One Studios for a Bollywood remake of five of its blockbuster hits starring Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla. The news elicited excitement and a sense of pride among netizens that Filipino content is going global.

Kapamilya stars continue to gain a following even among non-Filipinos abroad, who follow our teleseryes religiously and talk about the plot, characters and stars on social media. African viewers of our shows have created communities on Facebook, where they actively exchange information and share their reactions.

Undoubtedly, the 68-year-old media and entertainment company ABS-CBN has successfully transformed itself from a leading broadcast giant in the Philippines into a global multimedia content company collaborating with various partners to tell meaningful stories to millions of Filipinos and non-Filipinos worldwide on different platforms.

“Without our own broadcast platform, we have evolved into being primarily into a content company, providing content even to outside platforms, productions, and partners,” said ABS-CBN Films managing director Olivia Lamasan at the DigiCon POP last week.

While the pandemic, the broadcast shutdown and the eventual denial of a franchise brought many challenges, ABS-CBN found strength from its audiences and partners who stood by the company and believed in what it could do.

ABS-CBN head of digital Jamie Lopez said they found hope in the many possibilities and opportunities that presented themselves to the industry and to the company.

“We continue forward. Our game plan is simple: Tell the most meaningful stories and tell them to as many people as possible. Hence our renewed focus in digital,” shared Jamie at the IMMAP’s digital conference recently.

ABS-CBN is reaching more people globally by producing content and making them available on different streaming platforms like iWantTFC, Netflix, kumu and WeTV iFlix. In the coming months, ABS-CBN is producing two original Filipino series for the Asian entertainment streaming platform iQiyi. It is also seeing success in its digital events platform KTX, where movies, concerts, fan conferences and stage plays are accessible worldwide.

“We recognize the need to innovate and create memorable experiences to keep our Kapamilyas coming back for more,” he said.

This year, one of ABS-CBN’s big successes is the iWantTFC original He’s Into Her, which brought in a highly engaged and younger audience. The series’ digital concert broke the ticket sales record on KTX by breaching the 35,000 mark and a second season is in the offing.

According to Jamie, ABS-CBN also leverages the engagement on third-party platforms for reach, access and discoverability of its content.

“In the Philippines, 40 million people visit YouTube daily, and ABS-CBN accounts for 10 million of the daily active users who consistently deliver over a billion impressions a month, 1.34 billion in August,” he shared.

Venturing into online programs also became the track for ABS-CBN’s film group. Direk Olivia shared, “We just couldn’t sit there, and we felt we had to do something to reconnect with our audience. We had to make our presence felt.”

With cinemas closed, ABS-CBN Films accelerated its digital pivot. It produced online talk shows featuring Toni Gonzaga and Angelica Panganiban, variety show We Rise Together, visual podcast The Four Bad Boys and Me, Boys Love online series called Hello Stranger and digi-movie series The House Arrest of Us, which was a blockbuster success.

“The success made us recognize the rise in digital series production, and so we also dabbled into that,” she said.

According to direk Olivia, the crises changed how they do things. They needed to act fast, adapt to changes, collaborate and partner with other groups. Those were key to the company’s success while staying true to the reason for its existence.

“We needed to strategize and come up with the best ways to adapt, thrive and survive. That means that we need to share our assets, knowledge or expertise,” said direk Olive.

“The main idea is to make available good content to all audiences who want them — content that still carries the ABS-CBN brand and values. In that way, I’d like to believe we can fulfill our commitment as ABS-CBN of being in the service of the Filipino and audiences worldwide.”

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