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MediaQuest block time agreement with IBC ends in May, MVP says means BUSINESS

MANILA - The operator of TV5 will no longer extend its block time agreement with state-run IBC 13.

At the sidelines of the turnover ceremony of the Road Safety Research of the University of the Philippines-National Center for Transportation Studies, MediaQuest Holdings Inc chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said the company would let the agreement lapse in May, adding that the deal was expensive.

"Hindi na siguro. Hanggang Mayo lang yunMasyadong mahal. Lugi kami dun," Pangilinan, who also chairs TV5, told reporters.

Pangilinan stressed to that MediaQuest is committed to continue its airing and coverage of programs and leagues to which it remains a partner, including the Philippine Basketball Association, and is in fact  considering airing the finals of the current season of the PBA live on TV5.

But Pangilinan noted that MediaQuest Is paying P150 million a year for the right to air over Channel 13.

In 2011, MediaQuest, which holds the media assets of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT), entered a one-year block time agreement with Interisland Broadcasting Corp for the 5-11 p.m. timeslot seven days a week for sports shows. After a year, MediaQuest renewed the block time agreement only until May.

Because of this, "we will have to make adjustments in terms of the coverage of PBA, NCAA and other sports events," Pangilinan said, referring to the Philippine Basketball Association and National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Asked if the PLDT group is interested in acquiring IBC 13 once the government privatizes the network, Pangilinan said, "We will look at it, but I'm not sure."

The Aquino administration plans to privatize two of its TV networks, which apart from IBC 13 also includes RPN-9, to raise more revenues. The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) earlier said it will sell the assets and franchise of IBC for P3.7 billion.

In 2009, MediaQuest bought TV5 from the Cojuangco family for P4 billion, and acquired MPB Primedia of Malaysia, a TV5 major block-timer, for $16 million. is the online news portal of TV5, which is a member of the PLDT group.