CNN Philippines, the only predominantly English-language channel on free TV in the Philippines, is expected to shut down its operations by the end of 2024, due to financial losses and the expiration of its licensing agreement with CNN.
The shutdown of the network, which has been delivering world-class journalism for nine years, is a blow to journalism and press freedom in the country, as it reduces the variety and quality of news sources available to the public.
The reasons for the shutdown
CNN Philippines is a joint venture between Nine Media Corporation, a local TV company, and Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific, a subsidiary of WarnerMedia, which owns CNN. The two companies signed a licensing agreement in 2014, which allowed Nine Media to use CNN-branded materials and programming for five years. The agreement was renewed in 2019 for another five years, or until December 31, 2024.
However, according to a report by Media Newser Philippines, a news website that covers the media industry, Nine Media has decided to terminate the agreement early, due to substantial financial losses that have made it difficult to pay the licensing fees to CNN. The report cited sources who said that the financial strains were caused by several factors, such as a decline in ad revenue, a decrease in ad placements, and an increase in operating costs.
CNN Philippines has not yet confirmed or commented on the report, but it has scheduled a general assembly on Monday, January 29, to inform its employees and talents of the network’s future. The network employs about 300 people, including notable anchors and reporters such as Pia Hontiveros, Pinky Webb, and Rico Hizon.
The impact of the shutdown
The shutdown of CNN Philippines will have a negative impact on journalism and press freedom in the Philippines, as it will reduce the diversity and credibility of news sources in the country. Some of the effects of the shutdown are:
CNN Philippines is known for its high standards and professionalism in news reporting and analysis, as well as its adherence to the CNN’s code of ethics and editorial guidelines.
The network has covered various issues and events that affect the country and the world, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the Duterte administration, the South China Sea dispute, and the US elections. The network has also produced original and award-winning programs and documentaries, such as Newsroom, The Source, Politics as Usual, and Profiles.
CNN Philippines is the only predominantly English-language channel on free TV in the Philippines, which caters to a niche but significant audience of educated and urban viewers, who prefer to consume news in English.
The network also serves as a source of information and education for the Filipino diaspora and the international community, who want to learn more about the Philippines and its culture. The shutdown of the network will leave a gap in the English-language news market, which is already dominated by online and cable platforms, such as Rappler, ANC, and GMA News TV.
CNN Philippines is one of the few independent and critical media outlets in the Philippines, which has been facing increasing threats and challenges from the government and its allies, who have been accused of undermining and attacking the media freedom and democracy in the country.
The shutdown of the network will further strengthen the media monopoly and censorship of the government and its allies, who own or control most of the major media outlets in the country, such as ABS-CBN, the largest broadcaster that was forced to close in 2020, and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the largest newspaper that was sold to a Duterte ally in 2017.