By Edd K. Usman
With competition in the home entertainment market becoming more intense, local operator PLDT has deemed it wise to strike partnerships with prominent local and international entertainment heavyweights.
Firstly, PLDT signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with ABS-CBN to bring the broadcast firm’s iWant TV service to Smart Communications, Sun Cellular, and Talk ?N Text subscribers.
iWant TV lets users stream their favorite ABS-CBN shows, both past and presently airing. Popular teleseryes like On The Wings of Love, Dolce Amore, Ang Probinsiyano and Till I Met You are accessible on-demand so avid followers can catch up on the latest plot twists and turns. News and current affairs shows are also available for streaming.
PLDT and Smart chair Manuel V. Pangilinan and ABS-CBN chair Eugenio Lopez III signed the cooperation deal on Sept. 26 in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.
A short while later, PLDT signed another pact, this time with US-based online store Amazon in a closed-door ceremony. Aimed at book-lovers, this tie-up will soon bring to mobile screens the popular Kindle e-book reader.
The telco firm also formed an alliance with US video streaming platform Roku and global internet television network Netflix for an extensive library of TV and movie titles.
The Roku streaming platform allows users to easily stream their favorite TV shows and movies on their TV screens. It is the streaming platform with the highest engagement in the US because of its diverse content offerings and user-friendly interface.
Notably, Roku?s partnership with PLDT is its first streaming deal in Asia, making the Philippines the first country in the region to join the ranks of Roku?s international markets including Canada, Mexico, Europe and Australia. Roku services will be launched commercially in the country early next year.
With Netflix, users can watch today?s top original Netflix series such as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Marvel?s Daredevil and Stranger Things. Depending on the subscription plans, members can create up to four profiles within a single Netflix account.
Pangilinan described the collaboration as “a good start in terms of partnering with content providers… the creativity element is prominent.”
“So, I think this is the beginning of more and more partnerships with local content providers. It does not make sense for PLDT to restrict itself,” he said.
Pangilinan emphasized that the ultimate goal of PLDT and Smart and Sun Talk and Text is give the “ultimate experience that the Filipino consumer wants in the digital age.”
Oscar A. Reyes Jr., head of PLDT Home, said the local and global tie-ups were aimed at enhancing the digital experience of Filipino consumers.
On the other hand, Carlo Katigbak, ABS-CBN president and CEO, said its partnership with PLDT will allow the network to provide content to even more Filipinos, particularly with online viewing still increasing in the Philippines.
“The strategic partnership between ABS-CBN and PLDT underscores our vision to make our content available online to more Filipinos,” said Katigbak.
ABS-CBN launched iWant TV in 2007 and has turned it into “the leading source of local content online with over six million subscribes and an average of 27 million monthly page views on the website and 16 million screen views on the iOS and Android iWant TV app.”