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Revisiting CNN Philippines’ History as Predominantly English-Language Channel in the Philippines

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On Thursday, January 25, 2024, it was reported that Nine Media Corporation and CNN (Cable News Network), a multinational news channel based in the United States, had reached a mutual agreement to close down CNN Philippines. CNN Philippines is a television network in the Philippines that operates on free-to-air television. It collaborates with Radio Philippines Network (RPN) as its primary content provider, operating under a license from Warner Bros. Discovery. It was introduced on March 16, 2015, as a replacement for 9TV. CNN Philippines marks the fifth local franchise of CNN in Asia, following CNN Indonesia, CNN Türk, CNN Arabic, and CNN-IBN (now CNN-News18 in India).

Photo courtesy: CNN Philippines

The decision stemmed from financial difficulties, low viewership ratings, and a decline in advertiser support. It was mentioned that RPN branding would be reintroduced to its stations at some point, while CNN deliberated its future course of action.

The next day, D. Edgard Cabangon, Chairman of ALC Group of Companies, confirmed the closure of their operations, citing financial losses. The focus would shift to their sister channel, Aliw Channel 23. However, it was later revealed that Nine Media was postponing the termination of its licensing agreement with CNN to a later date in the same year. 

In response to rumors about the potential closure of CNN Philippines, it was reported by GMA News Online that an internal memorandum was circulated to all staff members of the media organization, requiring their attendance at a General Assembly scheduled for Monday, January 29, 2024. There was no agenda indicated in the memorandum.

Employees voiced apprehension regarding the stability of their employment in light of reports suggesting an imminent shutdown of the network.

Photo courtesy: CNN Philippines

Let’s revisit the brief history of CNN Philippines.

It can be read on their website, “CNN Philippines is the Philippines’ only predominantly English-language channel on free-to-air television. It is also available on cable and pay television. CNN Philippines provides first-class news and information drawing on the strength and worldwide newsgathering power of CNN, and the local perspective and expertise of Nine Media Corporation. It offers Filipino viewers a global perspective on key issues and trending stories from around the world, together with in-depth local coverage.”

Its frontline news anchors included Pia Hontiveros, Pinky Webb, Rico Hizon, and many others. In April 2016, CNN Philippines received 6 awards from the Golden Dove Awards of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas. One notable achievement was the Best Newscaster Award presented to Mitzi Borromeo, anchor of Newsroom. 

Photo courtesy: Media Newser Philippines

On June 30, 2016, CNN Philippines was honored as the “Television Station of the Year” at the Rotary Club of Manila Journalism Awards. During the 6th EdukCircle Awards, Pia Hontiveros and Pinky Webb were recognized and given a special citation for their work as moderators on the controversial vice presidential leg of the PiliPinas Debates 2016.

Two of its news programs have been awarded by the Asian Academy Creative Awards for national categories on October 15, 2020. “The Source with Pinky Webb” won as “Best Current Affairs Programme or Series” while “The Final Word with Rico Hizon” won as “Best News Programme” in the country.

Photo courtesy: Facebook/Pinky Webb Fan page

CNN Philippines is the Philippines’ only predominantly English-language channel on free-to-air television. It is also available on cable and pay television. CNN Philippines provides first-class news and information drawing on the strength and worldwide newsgathering power of CNN, and the local perspective and expertise of Nine Media Corporation. It offers Filipino viewers a global perspective on key issues and trending stories from around the world, together with in-depth local coverage.

*Cover Photo/Thumbnail Photo from CNN Philippines

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