Rabu, 02 Februari 2011

ABS-CBN leads with 40% TV audience share in January

Multimedia conglomerate ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. opened the year ahead of the race for supremacy in national TV ratings, garnering an audience share of 40 percent in January, or nine points higher than its perennial rival.

ABS-CBN’s closest competitor, GMA Network Inc., reported a national audience share of 31 percent last month.

Overall, nine ABS-CBN programs made it to the country’s top 10 most-watched programs in January, according to Kantar Media, a global market research group that offers audience research measurement systems in 32 countries.

ABS-CBN posted an audience share of 43 percent last year as against GMA’s 33 percent.

The company shifted to Kantar Media/TNS after filing a case against AGB Nielsen Media Research for failing to comply with its request to investigate alleged cheating and data tampering in TV ratings. The case is still pending in court.

Kantar Media released its Philippine television audience measurement data in February 2009 with panels composed of 1,370 representative households covering urban Philippines and reporting on seven sectors namely, the National Capital Region, North Luzon, Central Luzon, South Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

The media giant posted a net profit of P2.9 billion in the nine months ending September 2010 or more than double the P1.3 billion recorded in the same period a year earlier.

ABS-CBN earlier obtained a P10-billion syndicated term loan which it planned to use to refinance debt. Among the financial institutions that signed the loan agreement were Bank of the Philippine Islands, Banco de Oro, Security Bank, Insular Life, Allied Bank and AlliedBank Savings, and Philippine National Bank and PNB Life.

Of the P10-billion total loan, P6.6 billion will be used to refinance debt while the remaining P3.4 billion will help fund the network’s capital expenditures in digital terrestrial TV infrastructure and continued expansion of its cable TV and other services.

The loan was structured as an unsecured and unsubordinated bullet and partly amortizing loan maturing in 2017, priced at a 65 basis point-spread over the seven-year benchmark for the fixed rate portion of the loan, and over the three-month benchmark for the floating rate portion.

Consequently, ABS-CBN’s effective interest cost on all its interest-bearing debt goes down by about two percentage points, from which the company expects to generate savings in annual interest expenses of about P92 million.

Apart from the savings that will be generated, the new loan agreement also incorporates more relaxed covenants.