TV Patrol makes surprise comeback via ABS-CBN’s units, subsidiaries

May 7, 2020 - 8:41 PM
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ABS-CBN
An ABS-CBN employee wearing a protective face mask works in a control room at the broadcast network's headquarters, following orders by telecoms regulator to cease its operations in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, May 6, 2020. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

Embattled broadcast giant ABS-CBN on Thursday announced that its flagship news program, “TV Patrol” can now be streamed on its online platforms and other properties not affected by the closure order. 

The country’s largest broadcaster went off the air on May 5 in compliance with the National Telecommunications Commission’s cease-and-desist order to the network due to the expiration its franchise. 

Its former franchise which was granted to ABS-CBN in March 1995 expired last May 4.  

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said the NTC has the authority to decide on whether it would allow the network to continue its operations beyond its license’s expiration date 

READ: Who will decide on ABS-CBN’s franchise? Palace and Calida have opposing views on this

Days after its radio and television signed off, ABS-CBN’s social media accounts suddenly posted TV Patrol’s logo with the caption: “May magbabalik. Abangan mamaya.” 

The hashtag #TVPatrol immediately made it to the top trends on Twitter Philippines following the online announcement. 

As of writing, the hashtag has more than 20,200 tweets. 

TV Patrol also had a successful comeback at the scheduled 6:25 p.m. on the platforms mentioned with more than 170,000 viewers on the network’s Facebook page live stream.

Screenshot by Interaksyon

The news program can be streamed in the following platforms, starting Thursday evening: 

  • Official website: news.abs-cbn.com 
  • Official Facebook page: Facebook.com/abscbnNEWS 
  • Official YouTube: youtube.com/ABSCBNNews 
  • Video-streaming service and app iWant.PH 
  • ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) 

While ABS-CBN’s radio and television operations remained closed until their franchise gets renewed, its other units and subsidiaries are still allowed by law to continue running.  

These are all of ABS-CBN’s online websites in news, entertainment and sports, and iWant, where Filipino subscribers can still watch its most popular shows and stream new ones.  

The iWant app, which can be downloaded for free, can easily be accessed via app stores such as Google Play and Apple’s App Store. It already has more than 10 million downloads.  

ANC, on the other hand, is a cable news channel, therefore not covered by NTC’s order to stop broadcasting.  

Star Cinema, ABS-CBN’s film production unit, will also continue operating.  

ABS-CBN reporters previously expressed hope that they will continue delivering news updates and information amid being off the air.  

Calls to defend press freedom and bring ABS-CBN back on the air also dominated social media.  

Some lawmakers also denounced the decision to cease the network’s operations, which first happened when martial law was declared in the country in 1972.  

Meanwhile, as TV Patrol returned online and on ANC, the news program asked its viewers to share photos of them watching the news cast’s comeback.

Television host Gretchen Ho also thanked the public for their support for the news program’s return.