Corporate News

ABS-CBN soundstages ready by end of 2017

Date issued: April 17, 2017

ABS-CBN Corp. is spending around P700 million for the modern soundstages it is building in Bulacan, which is set to open by the end of the year.

The Lopez-led media giant is initially building two soundstages, measuring around 1,500 square meters each, in San Jose del Monte, to be used for the production of its film and television shows.

“[W]e are constructing two soundstages, [it should] be ready by the end of the year,” ABS-CBN Chief Financial Officer Aldrin M. Cerrado told reporters in a recent interview.

Soundstages are sound-proof buildings that are designed for shooting TV shows and films. These type of facilities are commonly used by Hollywood studios such as Warner Bros. Entertainment or Paramount Pictures.

ABS-CBN earlier said it is also looking at constructing back lots, or areas adjacent to a soundstage that would enable them to shoot exterior or outdoor scenes.

“If you look at the requirement [for soundstages], there’s a lot, [but] we want to learn from this first before we dive into building more,” Mr. Cerrado said, noting that currently, the network is renting warehouses and turning them to “soundstage-like” facilities as part of its testing stage.

Building its own soundstage is expected to generate savings as ABS-CBN reduces production costs.

A single ready-to-use soundstage -- complete with all the equipment and sound-proofing -- would cost the broadcast giant around “P300 million to P350 million,” Mr. Cerrado said.

“We’re looking at between 10% and 15% savings. [O]ur production cost is about P10 billion [last year],” he added.

The funding for the soundstages has already been included in the P8-billion capital expenditure for 2017, although bulk will still be used for its investments to expand its broadband infrastructure.

ABS-CBN earlier said it pioneered the construction of state-of-the-art soundstages among local networks and was the first to build state-of-the-art TV studios in the 1990s.

ABS-CBN Chief Strategy Officer Raymund T. Miranda, for his part, said the soundstages will increase the network’s efficiency by around “20%” which in turn means more savings for the company.

“We’re pretty excited about it because it really changes the game in terms of production quality and production efficiency,” Mr. Miranda said.

“The reason for the soundstages is because when you shoot on location, you’re subject to a whole lot of external variables. Just moving from location to location is quite difficult. A real soundstage system will help us increase efficiency. It will allow us to shoot more, be able to be protected against the elements, and avoid having to move whole production teams and equipment around,” he added.

Savings from production cost as well as other streamlining efforts are expected to allow the company to still hit around P3 billion in profit this year.

The profit target is lower than the P3.5-billion net income recorded in 2016, which saw a spike in revenues from election-related advertising.

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