MANILA – Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific and Nine Media Corporation are set to launch CNN Philippines in the first quarter of 2015, replacing news channel 9TV and further expanding CNN's reach in the region. The channel will be available on free-to-air and cable and pay television.
Explaining the partnership, Nine Media president Reggie Galura said: "The new channel will be distinct in its look and feel from CNN international."
"CNN Philippines will have local content," he continued. "We will continue to produce our local newscast but tweaked to meet the standards of CNN. The arrangement is basically that CNN will provide technical expertise and consultancy so we can train our people so we can improve the on-air look and feel and most especially to elevate our news standards to that of CNN."
CNN Philippines will base operations in Manila studios, replacing 9TV on the RPN Network nationwide. It will be a primarily English-language channel offering a combination of local and international news, as well as current affairs, feature programming, and documentaries.
Nine Media News and Current Affairs senior vice-president Jing F. Magsaysay explained that the new channel will target "the median Filipino" in terms of socio-economic class, with audiences from the C1, C2, and D segment.
"News you can use"
Magsaysay shared that they will be keeping the current programs of 9TV, but are developing more. They will also be adding anchors to 9TV's line-up.
Telling reporters at a media event Tuesday, Magsaysay said that CNN Philippines is not looking to compete with already established local news outlets.
"We don't think in terms of competition, because if you think in terms of competition, you're going to be thinking about what the other guy is doing...we want to do what we think should be delivered to the Filipino consumer, news consumers, and we will aspire to do that," he said.
He also pointed out that content-wise, the channel is very different from the other news networks.
"By design we are very different from them. We don't have police reports, we don't have news about the lives of other people, artistas. [We have] news you can use. If you can't use it, then it's not important," Magsaysay said.
Banking on the strength of the CNN's global online presence, the new partnership will also include a digital component, CNNPhilippines.com.
The website will offer news, business, science, technology, entertainment, and sports, as well as opinion and analysis, special reports, exclusive interviews, and videos.
"The global news gathering power of CNN combined with the local perspective Nine Media Corporation brings, enables us to provide first-class news and information to millions of FIlipinos in a way that we have not been able to previously," said CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker. "I couldn't be happier to welcome CNN Philippines to the CNN family."
At the same time, Turner Broadcasting International president Gerhard Zeiler added, "This agreement is yet another example of Turner's commitment to growth in the Asia Pacific region. We are thrilled to partner with Nine Media Corporation – a news organization that shares our vision, mission, and values – to serve this hugely important audience."
With the launch of the new channel, Magsaysay shared that they are expanding their team and looking for talents.
"We're looking for people who aren't looking for jobs. We're looking for people who want to do this," he said. "People think 8 to 5. Journalism isn't 8 to 5. You eat, sleep, breathe journalism. It's really very basic. Journalism is a commitment."
CNN Philippines will be available on free TV in Manila and Davao on RPN-TV9, in Zamboanga on RPN-TV5, and in Baguio on RPN-TV12. It will be available on cable through Destiny Cable channel 14, Cablelink channel 14, Cignal channel 10, Sky Cable channel 14 in Metro Manila, and Sky Cable channel 6 in Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, Iloilo and Baguio.
In photo: Reggie Galura, President of Nine Media Corporation