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6 Ways ABS-CBN can operate without a franchise

Update: In a vote of 70-11, House Committee on Legislative Franchise denies renewal application of ABS-CBN franchise. Two representatives inhibited and one abstained. Read here.

Two authors of a previous bill have withdrawn their bill which brings down the total renewal bills from 16 to 14.

Just a quick recap, ABS-CBN’s 25-year legislative franchise is about to expire in March 2020. Bills have been filed as early as 2014 but those didn’t come thru. ABS-CBN had sought the renewal 6 years before the expiration of its franchise because it didn’t want to risk having to go through the process under an unfriendly administration.

There are currently 11 pending bills in Congress addressing this renewal but they have not even passed thru committee hearings. By all accounts, it looks like these bills will not meet the March 30, 2020 deadline.

Legal and political issues aside, the franchise covers the ability of ABS-CBN to broadcast over the airwaves. This means no airing on free-to-air TV (Channel 2) and radio (DZMM 630KHz, MOR 101.9) because in order to use these frequencies, one needs a franchise.

Other channels of ABS-CBN do not need this, including cable channels like ANC, Myx, Metro Channel, C1, and Jeepney TV.

So yes, no more Channel 2 on free TV or DZMM over the radio when this happens. But, that does not mean ABS-CBN will cease to operate. They can still partially/fully operate. In fact, they have to continue operating because they have so many customers or viewers outside the free-to-air TV and radio channels.

Simply put, the Kapamilya network’s problem is content distribution so here are 6 ways that ABS-CBN can continue to operate and digitally broadcast all of its shows and news programs even without a legislative franchise.

Facebook. With over 70 million users in the Philippines, ABS-CBN can broadcast all of its news programs and shows over Facebook (FB Live). This would be the easiest way to continue its regular programming that will reach the highest number of audience.

By doing a Facebook Live session, ABS-CBN can stick to the usual schedules and all Kapamilya fans can watch it live or just do a replay from the saved sessions. With more than 75 million mobile phone users in the Philippines and around half of that are smartphones, ABS-CBN can virtually increase its footprint and reach many more people.

YouTube. Just like with Facebook, ABS-CBN can live broadcast all its daily programs over YouTube. They can either do a YouTube Live session for the entire day’s programming or upload a separate video for each time slot or program so that viewers can easily sift thru and watch them at a later time.


There are actually tons of videos of ABS-CBN shows that are being uploaded on YouTube every day by different users or YouTube channels but ABS-CBN immediately shuts them down with copyright strikes (intellectual property claims). ABS-CBN also has a few official YouTube channels with millions of subscribers but not all shows and news programs are uploaded there.

Netflix. Cardo Dalisay need not have to suffer a horrible end come March 30, 2020. This long-running Kapamilya series can live on with Netflix, along with many other series that ABS-CBN is broadcasting. They can even serve it at a crispy 4k resolution. There are already hundreds of thousands of Netflix users in the Philippines with many more Filipinos abroad.

iWant.ph ABS-CBN has been operating the iWant TV as a stand-alone streaming website for ABS-CBN, ANC and DZMM shows along with many other movies it produces and they’re already making money (P15/day, P60/week, P120/month) from subscriptions for these (iWant TV was rebranded as iWant last November 17, 2018).

They also have an app for this in the Apple iTunes Store and Google Play Store (just search for iWant).

TFC.tv The Filipino Channel is an online platform originally developed to cater to the OFW market. Its online component is TFC.tv that streams a lot of ABS-CBN shows including TFC, ANC, DZMM Teleradyo, ABS-CBN Regional Channel, Lifestyle Network, Cinema One, CineMo, and S+A.

It comes with a free version with limited streaming shows and movies but at Php375/month, you can watch the entire library of 500 Filipino movies and one KBO movie of your choice per month.

Apple TV. Just like Netflix, Apple users might rejoice if ABS-CBN content will be readily available on Apple TV.

As for DZMM and MOR, they can also stream via Spotify.

In a way, if and when the ABS-CBN franchise is canceled (due to the quo warranto case) or not renewed in time (legislative franchise), the most affected viewers would be the ones who solely rely on the free-to-air TV and they are still in the millions. But as we mentioned above, there are many ways to distribute these content for free and without affecting the ability of the network to continue operating. We are pretty sure ABS-CBN has already thought of all these solutions and perhaps many more.

So don’t worry, Cardo Dalisay will not meet his untimely end any time soon.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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8 Responses

  1. Jeian Neuva says:

    Is IPTV also regulated? I believe this can be a path for IPTV instead

  2. Abiel says:

    The franchise is needed in order to use the broadcast frequency, which is owned by the Government. If the Admin will not allow ABS-CBN to use these broadcast frequencies then they can go to full digital, which is feasible. Just like what you mentioned, the company will even increase its footprint and reach many more people, and this not just in the Philippine but around the world. They may even save a lot of money, since they’ll be using an already establish distribution network; FB Live, Youtube, Netflix, etc.

  3. Kristoff says:

    True. But the problem is ABS won’t be able to show commercial/ads through mentioned platforms which they rely heavily to generate income. They will be able stream/upload their shows but the money that will fuel them to do the contents will stop if they don’t air on free TV. Unless, of course they won’t mind providing “service to the Filipino”.

    • mrericx says:

      And also if the internet in our country are very fast, cheaper & very accessible but for now we have only 2 telco companies in the Philippines that are available [and one telco had been delayed for their launch this year due to this pandemic crisis] which are too slow & expensive unless if 5G bandwidth is now available in our country right now.

  4. Ramon Tapawan says:

    Watch Abs
    P50 a day internet
    Or P350 a week
    Or sa vpn mga P300 a month. Still sa probinsya at sa mga d makaya medyo malaki at mabagal na serbis pa.
    Sa mga makakaya mga subs congrats. Laking bagay na nawala ang ch2. Sana me divine intervention para makabalik sila.


    You know very well that ABS CBN goes beyond providing content. They need to stay on airwaves because they want to monopolize ideas, control the government, even “capture the regulatory bodies”. Haha! If it takes a new platform, they’re eating a small part of the cake. Good luck.

  6. Mabuti nalang hindi nangangailangan ang isang tv station ng franchise basta eired able ang ginahamit. Buti nlang avid fan kasi ako ng ABS-CBN. Thank you, Basta Kapamilya May Forever!

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