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When content is king: Jane Basas

Television service provider Cignal TV has had many firsts in the Philippines. The company’s president and CEO, Jane Basas, explains that it was the first to offer direct-to-home (DTH) Pay TV; the first to offer high definition; and, with the launch of its over-the-top service CignalPlay, the first to offer multichannel streaming of local and international channels. These are significant milestones for a company that was founded just nine years ago.

Jane joined Cignal TV in 2016, bringing a strong emphasis on innovation. Since then, the company has built new sales and distribution channels, introduced a variety of local channels and products, and forged strategic partnerships with businesses such as mixed media company Epik Studios.

But one of the company’s biggest highlights occurred in 2017, with the launch of Cignal Entertainment – a platform focused on original content production.

Jane Basas, President & CEO of Cignal TV
Jane Basas, President & CEO of Cignal TV

“Being a multichannel network, we recognised that, at the end of the day, content is our product,” Jane tells The CEO Magazine. “Providing a way for us to develop content we owned made perfect sense, allowing us to maximise the reach and mileage from our investments.

“From a customer experience perspective, Cignal Entertainment allows us to address our market’s growing demand for more quality Filipino content, since we are involved in the selection and production of the stories that we deliver though our broadcast and digital platforms.”

Cignal Entertainment has had a huge amount of success since its inception.

“We have been able to create brave, compelling and thought-provoking miniseries such as Tukhang and Tabi Po,” she continues. “These have increased our ratings by as much as 4,000%.

“We also recently held our film festival, CineFilipino, in May, where we supported eight new full-length films and 26 short feature films by talented young writers and directors.

“We are looking at creating at least 200 hours of original entertainment content, some through collaboration with the biggest international networks and content producers.”

Media Woman of the Year
Jane was named Asia’s Media Woman of the Year in 2017, an accolade she is very proud of. “The award recognises the role women leaders play in an industry that has been traditionally dominated by men,” she says. “It validates that women’s voices are worth listening to.

“In the short time that I have been in industry, I have strived to introduce new concepts and business models that I believe are necessary to ensure the sustained growth of Cignal, in a global environment where similar companies are experiencing growth challenges. I was just doing my job. And being recognised for doing my job is both validating and humbling.”

Keeping up with change

To keep up with the latest consumer habits, Jane ensures she is in touch with the latest trends. “I talk to our customers across our value chain, so I hear their perspectives directly from them,” she says.

“With the ever-changing landscape in the content and media spaces – enabled by constantly evolving technologies – it is also critical to closely follow and understand the industry trends happening globally.

“However, we do not blindly follow what’s happening outside the Philippines. We adopt trends in accordance with the local market’s needs. By effectively marrying global trends with my strong local knowledge of the Filipino consumer, I am able to make the necessary adjustments to our strategy to ensure we are constantly creating value for our consumers in the most relevant way; that we are constantly ahead of our game amid unprecedented business disruption.”

Cignal TV

The leader of the pack

Jane has spent most of her professional career in the telecommunications industry. Prior to Cignal TV, she held positions at Globe Telecom, BayanTel and Smart Communications. Jane believes one of her primary responsibilities as a business leader is to define the future of the company and pave the way for it to get there in the most seamless way. Once that direction is identified, it is up to the whole team to work towards the goal.

“I make sure I work with best and most committed people who share my passion for delivering results and who believe it is only by working together we can achieve something truly awesome,” she says. “As a leader, I am not always ahead of the pack. Sometimes, I see the need to stay in the middle and, oftentimes, at the back. As long as the pack is moving consistently forward, I am happy.”

“As long as the pack is moving consistently forward, I am happy.”

“There’s this proverb that says, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’. At Cignal, we go forward together, always.”

Looking towards the future, Cignal TV wants to transition into a content company rather than remain solely focused on television. “Our primary job is to distribute content pervasively. That means delivering premium content to homes and individuals, in whatever devices and platforms our consumers use,” Jane says.

“We will stay committed to discovering great Filipino storytellers and producing great local content, because we believe that by doing so, we are not only adding value to our consumers, we are also helping build this media industry that we all love.”

“We will stay committed to discovering great Filipino storytellers and producing great local content.”

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