MANILA, Philippines — Broadcasting firm TV5 on Wednesday formally launched Kristn.com, dubbed as the Pinoy’s “digital go-to girl,” its foremost attempt at carving its own niche in the emerging digital space in the Philippines.
Touted as an online lifestyle hub where users can search for the latest trends in fashion, food, movies, and technology, among others, Kristn.com answers PLDT Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan’s call for the group to embrace the oncoming “digital tsunami.”
The Pangilinan-led broadcasting firm on Wednesday also presented several of its digital initiatives in the past, including InterAksyon.com, the news portal of TV5; InterAKTV.ph, the company’s sports website; and the PBAonAKTV app, which allows Pinoy mobile users to keep track of the latest updates in the local basketball league.
TV5 VP for Marketing Jane Walker also gave a sneak preview of an upcoming Pinoy online music portal called Balut Radio, which she said is part of the station’s “advocacy for OPM.”
“Balut Radio is launching early next year, and it will allow users to select and play songs and share them on social media,” Walker said.
Today, however, Kristn represents one of the company’s best efforts in leading the digital revolution in the Philippines.
At its initial form, Kristn takes the shape of an online portal housing articles, reviews, and user recommendations on a variety of topics including food, fashion, travel, movies, night-outs, events, and gadgets, among others.
But Carlo Ople, digital publishing business unit head of TV5, stressed in an earlier interview that the plan is for Kristn to transcend conventional digital mediums and cross over to traditional ones such as TV and radio.
“Our main question [when we were conceptualizing Kristn] is, what if digital products were made with TV as a part of its core?” Ople explained. “So in the brainstorming process, the TV people, the producers, and the TV executives were part of conceptualizing the product.”
Now an online portal, Kristn will soon be invading smartphones through iOS and Android apps; mobile phones through a unique SMS service; TV sets through a 30-minute show still under development; and possibly radio, through TV5′s Radyo Singko 92.3 FM.
Kristn is MVP’s brainchild
Kristn was actually borne out of the speech Pangilinan gave during the 2011 Advertising Congress in Camarines Sur, where he identified a hypothetical woman named “Christine,” a 22-year-old city girl whose life revolves around her digital connections.
“The first thing Christine does when she awakens is, of course, open her Facebook,” Pangilinan said in his speech. “She quickly changes her status to ‘I got a feeling tonight’s gonna be a good night.”
Pangilinan went on to describe a day in the life of the imaginary Christine, where her views on the latest Pacquiao fight were posted on Twitter; where she first catches wind of news through Facebook, while her parents still rely on trusty old newspapers; and how she obsesses about her boyfriend not commenting or liking her latest status.
“So that’s Christine not of the past, but the present and the future. And that’s our market today and of the future,” the PLDT chairman said.
Immediately after the speech, Ople said executives and officials at TV5 came together and started thinking about what they can offer to “Christine,” the company’s new target market.
And thus, Kristn was born.
“We ripped the speech apart, and thought, what if we put them all in one place, and in different mediums?” Ople shared. “It can be present on TV, on websites, on mobile phones, and via SMS. We envisioned to truly make a service that’s ubiquitous.”
At the heart of digital convergence
With this new venture, TV5 is slowly shaping to become the content provider that Pangilinan hoped it would be, as parent company PLDT, a long-time telecom infrastructure provider, bids goodbye to its decades-old business model.
InterAksyon.com is the online news portal of TV5.
In his speech addressed to attendees of the recent Asian Carriers Conference in Cebu, Pangilinan underscored how it is “the end of the world for our old business model” and its new focus on delivering multimedia content over telecom pipes.
“Our intention is to deliver both traditional and new media content over our mobile and fixed platforms to complement our legacy and new communications services,” Pangilinan said.
The shift, evidenced also by the group’s recent moves to provide high-bandwidth connectivity services such as LTE and Fiber Internet that allows delivery of more media-rich content, is likewise prompted by the popularity of over-the-top players such as Skype and Facebook, which threaten the old business models of PLDT.
“To ignore them is perilous; but to surrender their space is unsafe,” the PLDT chairman said. “We must therefore find a balance where we can partner with OTT suppliers and evolve our business model in an independent yet cooperative way.”