Cignal TV, Bloomberg launch 24/7 Philippine business channel

Bloomberg Media Asia Pacific managing director Parry Ravindranathan, MediaQuest chief executive officer and president Noel Lorenzana, and Cignal TV chief operating officer Oscar Reyes, Jr. during launch of Bloomberg TV Philippines. Photo by Bernard Testa means BUSINESS

MANILA - Bloomberg Television and Cignal TV Inc on Wednesday launched Bloomberg TV Philippines, the first 24-hour business news channel in the country.

The pay-TV channel is scheduled to begin broadcast in June at the earliest, or in the third quarter of the year, according to MediaQuest Holdings Inc. chief executive officer and president Noel Lorenzana.

Lorenzana, Cignal TV chief operating officer Oscar Reyes Jr. and Bloomberg Media Asia Pacific managing director Parry Ravindranathan today signed a multiple-year contract for their partnership at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel. Cignal TV, the country’s leading direct to home satellite provider, is a subsidiary of MediaQuest.

"We want to be able to tell the story of the Philippines to the world and be able to also get the business voices of the Philippines," said Ravindranathan in a speech. "There's a lot coming from us."

Lorenzana said Bloomberg TV Philippines will provide Filipinos with up-to-date business information to aid in their decision-making, especially as businesses play a "huge role" in the country’s progress.

"The strategic partnership will usher in a new era of financial and biz reporting and financial literacy especially among the young Filipinos in whose hands the country's future lies," he said.

Lorenzana said the partnership could help the country become the next business capital of Southeast Asia.

Reyes said Bloomberg TV Philippines will provide a third choice for Filipinos, particularly those looking for in-depth analysis on business and finance that none of the existing players deliver.

Bloomberg TV Philippines would "elevate the level of finance and business news programming in the country, underscoring the economic gains of the Philippines as one of the fastest growing economies in the world today," he added.

Cignal becomes Bloomberg Television's 5th local partner channel in Asia, following other tie-ups in India, Indonesia, and Malaysia, among others.

Bloomberg TV Philippines will be run by Bloomberg and TV5, which is MediaQuest's free-to-air TV channel.

Cignal TV already carries the Bloomberg Television channel, so Bloomberg TV Philippines will make a difference by carrying more localized content.

"Finding the right partner was the most important thing for us," said Ravindranathan. "Finding someone who understands our culture, understands our brand, and of course, the importance of business news."

Bloomberg chose Cignal TV as its partner because its mother company, PLDT, is "very well known," he said, adding that PLDT's corporate standards are similar to those of Bloomberg, thus making the Philippine telecom giant "a natural partner."

The partners began meeting a year ago to forge the collaboration. Bloomberg Media has begun hiring and training Bloomberg TV Philippines personnel. A senior executive producer is in the country to supervise the operations.

PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan is "a big fan" of Bloomberg, said Lorenzana, adding that the telecom firm’s top management felt that the Philippines should have its own "credible, great" business channel, and there was no other choice than Bloomberg.

"This partnership with Bloomberg Television heralds a new era in Philippine television, in which business information is set to be the front and center of a rising Philippine economy," Pangilinan said in a statement. "This also comes at the time when we are expecting to become the country's biggest pay-TV service provider with more than one million subscribers by the end of this year," he said, referring to Cignal. is the online news portal of TV5.