RPN 9 rebrands to Aliw Channel, Solar News to 9TV

Media magnate Antonio Cabangon-Chua ventures into television with the acquisition of Solar TV and a majority stake at former state-owned network RPN 9.

Initial local reports last week said that Cabangon-Chua is now the chairman of RPN 9 after securing a 34% stake in the company, replacing Solar Entertainment’s Wilson Tieng who previously held the share.

However, BusinessWorld later confirmed with Benjamin Ramos, president of Business Mirror that Cabangon-Chua actually bought the entirety of Solar TV Network, Inc. (STVN), which led him to gain the 34% interest in RPN 9. Business Mirror is a newspaper owned by Cabangon-Chua.

The deal will see the rebrand of RPN 9 to Aliw Channel, named after Aliw Broadcasting Corp, a radio network that Cabangon-Chua also owns. Founded in 1991, Aliw Broadcasting has Natural! FM (formerly known as Home Radio) and DWIZ as flagship radio stations.

Solar News Channel has followed suit, now known as 9TV, which ends Solar’s airtime agreement as main content provider of RPN 9. Solar News officially dropped its iconic yellow logo from its online and offline assets last 23 August.

STVN will also forego the Solar name and change its corporate name before year end, according to a statement released by the ALC Group, Cabangon-Chua’s umbrella firm.

Ramon clarified that Solar Entertainment Corp, which produces franchised and original local programs including ETC, 2nd Avenue, Jack TV, Jack City, Solar Sports, Basketball TV and NBA Premium TV, will remain with Tieng.

San Miguel Corporation president Ramon Ang had initially expressed interest in acquiring a controlling stake in Solar. However, he has secured a participating minority equity interest GMA Network Inc. last June.

Another 32% in RPN 9 is held by the Benedicto family’s Far Eastern Managers and Investors. The government holds 20% while the remainder is owned by private individuals.

Presidential Communications Operations office secretary Herminio Coloma said in 2011 that the administration is looking to sell the government’s stake in RPN 9, which operates seven TV stations and 11 radio stations.