Farewell, CNN Philippines

Since the channel’s launch in March 2015, Nine Media has reportedly incurred losses of over P5 billion.

CNN Philippines is set to shut down its operations across all platforms effective January 31, 2024, citing “serious financial losses,” according to CNN Philippines president Benjamin Ramos. Its closure is another blow to the Philippines’ weakened media climate bogged by misinformation.

Ramos posted the official announcement on all its social media platforms today, ending shutdown speculations that broke out over the weekend. 

CNN Philippines’ official announcement on Facebook.

“Turning the final page of the CNN Philippines newsroom’s story. We are forever grateful for the stories we’ve shared, the audience we’ve served, and to our dedicated team for their commitment to uphold the values of truth, accuracy, fairness, and accountability. Thank you for the privilege to tell the story of the Filipino,” writes CNN Philippines in their formal statement. 

Various reports have mentioned that Nine Media Corporation, the company who owns the rights to CNN locally, has had trouble paying the licensing fees and lack of advertising revenue. Since the channel’s launch in March 2015, Nine Media has reportedly incurred losses of over P5 billion. 

As such, the company has decided not to renew its contract with its international partners, CNN International and Turner Broadcasting International, ahead of the contract expiration on December 31, 2024. The termination affects around 300 professionals employed by the network. 

CNN staff, including their prominent anchors such as The Final Word’s Rico Hizon, took to social media to express their gratitude and parting messages for the broadcaster. Other users have lamented the move as another great loss to Philippine journalism, alluding to the shutdown of the ABS-CBN broadcast franchise. 

“The collaborative spirit has been a driving force in making every show of the award-winning The Final Word and The Exchange a fulfilling experience and I carry with me the invaluable lessons and friendships that we have forged through the years,” writes Hizon in a Facebook post addressed to his colleagues, friends, and guests of his shows on the network.

More than going off-air, the move also spells the shutdown of CNN’s online assets, notably CNN Philippines Life, which has produced insightful and creative features—covering everything from the arts, politics, to pop culture—by the country’s leading writers, photographers, and creatives.

As such, the shutdown not only decommissions the employees of the network, but also removes another opportunity for media practitioners and freelancers to showcase their creative work. 

The diversity of CNN Philippines Life’s covers reflect not only the scope and depth of the title’s stories, but also the myriad of creatives—writers, photographers, stylists, and the like—that collaborate to produce them.

While seemingly unrelated, CNN Philippines’ closure brings to mind the recent developments at Condé Nast and other media conglomerates in the United States, where work stoppages and digital strikes have been conducted to protest the recent layoffs and budget cuts by upper management. 

The movements have been cited as a threat to democracy, as fewer journalists and media titles get to practice fair and balanced reporting amid the rise of misinformation. It should also be noted that the Philippines has been on the global spotlight as a case study for misinformation networks, especially on social media. 

As of writing, there are no further reports on the future of CNN Philippines—whether other entities are interested to take over the network or if CNN International will host their own operations in the country. However, sources have confirmed that channel 9 will return to the old Radio Philippines Network (RPN) branding by the end of the month.

Features Associate

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