Solar Entertainment Corporation
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Solar Entertainment Corporation (simply known as Solar or SEC) is a Filipino media company founded and owned by the siblings of the Tieng family (Wilson, William and Willy Tieng) which also engages in property development, and distribution of imported products and generic pharmaceutical products.
|Founded||January 3, 1976 (as a TV movie company)|
July 15, 1988 (as a film distribution company)
June 17, 2000 (as a cable television network)
January 1, 2008 (as a broadcast company)
|Founder||William Y. Tieng|
Willy Y. Tieng
|Wilson Y. Tieng (President and CEO)|
Gidget Lao (Chief Executive for Business Operations)
|Products||ETC, Front Row Channel, Solar Sports, Solar Pictures, Solar Scoop, Sinag Maynila Film Festival|
|Services||Free-to-air TV channels and shows, radio broadcasting, cable television, local and international film distribution, film-making, entertainment, television programs and production, news, sports, websites|
|Revenue||PHP1.372 billion (FY 2015)|
|PHP124.43 million (FY 2015)|
|Owner||Solar Films Inc. (38%) |
Wilson Y. Tieng (21%)
William Y. Tieng (15%)
|Subsidiaries||ETC Productions |
Southern Broadcasting Network
Solar Digital Media Holdings
Domestic Satellite Philippines, Inc.
Solar Entertainment operates two digital free-to-air channels and two cable channels. Solar also owns a film distribution company (Solar Pictures) and defunct freemium digital television service (Easy TV Home).
Film production and distributionEdit
Solar Entertainment was founded and established by the brothers William Tieng, Wilson Tieng and Willy Tieng in 1976. Solar Films was then formed in 1988 (one of the first films that distributed by Solar Films is Rambo III of Sylvester Stallone), bringing international films (and later, local films since 2009) to the Philippines. Since 2012, Solar has collaborated with independent film director Brillante Mendoza for a multiple film contract. On March 18, 2015, Solar launched the Sinag Maynila film festival is, which featured five films from a talented group of directors, each with a different vision and approach. The films were shown in select SM Cinemas from March 18 to 24, 2015. The winners were announced at the “Gabi ng Parangal” on March 22.
On January 1, 1994, Solar launched on cable television as the Solar Entertainment Channel.
In 2000, DOMSAT became Solar's subsidiary. As a result, DOMSAT’s teleport is being used by Solar to produce, originate, and distribute its various television program services. Its full service digital broadcast teleport features server technology facility located in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Sumulong Highway, Antipolo City, Rizal. It is built around two encoder platforms, Scientific Atlanta Power Vu Classic(DVB) and Motorola Digicipher II(MPEG-@). Program origination is done on a SeaChange Media Cluster Server System. The facility includes a 500-square-meter studio and various linear and non-linear production bays. Solar Entertainment first launched its namesake entertainment cable channel in the early 2000s, one devoted to American programs. This channel was later known as Solar USA (the acronym stands for "Ultimate in Suspense and Action"), and then later simply as USA before it was replaced by two separate channels.
In January 2004, Solar launched on cable sports alternative channel as Sports Plus.
On August 23, 2004, Solar Entertainment launched ETC or Entertainment Central, which is positioned as the country’s premier cable female entertainment channel. ETC is a platform that brings its audience closer to their aspirational lifestyle, as embodied by their idols.
On May 5, 2005, it test launched delivering debuting service. Intended for a predominantly male audience, the company launched the country’s leading general entertainment cable channel, Jack TV, in July.
On October 15, 2005, Solar Entertainment launched a crime and action cable channel, Crime/Suspense or C/S.
On December 15, 2005, Solar Entertainment launched a spin-off channel to ETC, ETC 2nd Avenue, a lifestyle and general entertainment channel. Started as a test broadcast on December 15, 2005, and had its full launch in 2006. The channel was later renamed as 2nd Avenue on January 17, 2007.
As a broadcast companyEdit
On January 1, 2008, Solar Entertainment Corporation began to lease block airtime with terrestrial TV networks, RPN, SBN and RJTV. The move was a result of SkyCable pulling out C/S, ETC, and 2nd Avenue from the cable company's lineup at their own right. Those three started carrying shows from Solar's, with C/S on RPN, ETC on SBN, and 2nd Avenue on RJTV.
On May 22, 2009, a victory party for Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao, who just became the new IBO (International Boxing Organization) and Ring Magazine Light Welterweight Champion, was held at the Renaissance Hotel in Makati City, in partnership with GMA Network Inc. Solar and GMA executives at that time signed for a partnership in TV coverage of Manny Pacquiao's upcoming boxing matches.
On November 29, 2009, Solar rebranded C/S9 as Solar TV at 11:00 am with a slogan It's A Bright New World on RPN. On October 31, 2010, it changed some of its programming content to English/Tagalog with a new slogan Kung Saan Lahat Panalo!.
In mid-2010, GemCom sold all of its 97% equity share in SBN to Solar for Php 368.8 million. Since then, SBN became a fully owned subsidiary of Solar.
On February 11, 2011, SEC partnered with ABS-CBN Corporation to air National Basketball Association (NBA) games over free TV starting February 19, 2011. The games are aired on Studio 23 (now ABS-CBN Sports and Action later known as S+A) and ABS-CBN, but Solar still airs the games daily on BTV.
On March 2, 2011, after SEC acquired 34 percent of RPN's shares from the Philippine government as part of RPN/IBC privatization in 2011, Solar TV finally ventured into news at the end of 2011. On that same day, ETC moved to RPN while TalkTV launched over SBN. TalkTV was formed by then Solar-owned Solar Television Network. The first programs that aired on the channel were Dateline NBC, Today Show, Today's Talk, NBC Nightly News, Inside Edition, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Show with David Letterman.
On April 8, 2011, Solar Entertainment Corporation launched The Game Channel on Destiny Cable. It conducted its initial test broadcast from April 8, 2011, until September 29. It then began airing on BEAM Channel 31 on August 15, 2011, after BEAM and Solar signed an affiliation deal, which gave the latter the use of the former's facilities. Full broadcast started on September 30, 2011.
In May 2011, ETC launched the slogan "Young and Loving It". It also saw new programs such as the reality series The Rachel Zoe Project and Bachelor Pad, drama series Nikita, and The Secret Circle, US reality series The Glee Project, comedy shows like New Girl and 2 Broke Girls, and local lifestyle show Etcetera. In 2012, ETC includes the reality show American Idol, local programs like Project Runway Philippines (season 3), drama series The Lying Game, Emily Owens MD and Beauty and the Beast, and local infotainment show ETC HQ. In 2013, ETC aired comedy-drama series The Carrie Diaries, sitcom series Super Fun Night, supernatural drama series Ravenswood, horror fantasy drama series The Originals and among others.
Solar News, known for its back-to-basics and unbiased journalism,[according to whom?] was formed in January 2012 during the coverage of the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona. Post-EDSA revolution ABS-CBN newsmen Pal Marquez, Jing Magsaysay and Pia Hontiveros together with former ANC anchors Claire Celdran, Mai Rodriguez and Nancy Irlanda, known as the pillars of Solar News.[according to whom?] Most of its news reporters are from ABS-CBN and ANC, as well as from RPN NewsWatch.
On December 24, 2011, The Game Channel limited its broadcast on daytime sharing with a new programming service called CHASE which takes over the evening block. In February 2012, both services aired a promotion, announcing the split of CHASE and TGC to form themselves as separate channels. On February 15, 2012, The Game Channel finally shuts down on free TV and was relaunched as a cable channel; CHASE was also relaunched as a separate channel, now occupying the entire BEAM broadcast airtime on Free TV.
On April 3, 2012, Solar transferred its former Salcedo Village facilities to their new facility in Worldwide Corporate Center in Mandaluyong City. It also featured a newly constructed set for Solar's then-news division, which would become fully functional three months later.
On July 16, 2012, Solar News launched its first local newscast Solar Network News, followed by Solar Nightly News, an hourly Solar News Update, Solar Daybreak, and Solar Newsday.
On September 7, 2012, Jack TV plugged their announcement through CHASE programs bearing the title "Another Jack TV is rising, coming soon on this channel" (BEAM Channel 31). This indicated that CHASE was being replaced; finally, on October 20, 2012, Jack City was then launched, marking October 19 as the end of CHASE's broadcasts. Jack City still does carry some of CHASE's programs however.
In October 2012, it was found out that Solar News would replace the government-controlled RPN News, as a result of RPN's privatization, making Solar TV covering the entire network's airtime. More than 200 RPN employees, particularly those from the labor union and the NewsWatch staff, were retrenched and RPN News was closed down on October 29, effectively axing NewsWatch and NewsCap. Some retrenched government employees were relocated to either People's Television Network (PTV 4) or Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC 13) (both State-run broadcasters).
On October 30, 2012, at 5:45 am, TalkTV was replaced as Solar News Channel on Channel 21 via SBN. The channel saw the relaunch of sports news program Solar Sports Desk (now known as CNN Philippines Sports Desk), as well as the initial telecast of the Solar News and Current affairs block in November 2012 comprising five public affairs programs (Legal HD, MedTalk, News.PH, Opposing Views, Elections 2013 and News Cafe), 60 Minutes, Top Gear, Undercover Boss and the "Stories" documentaries block. In January 2013, Solar News Cebuano (now known as CNN Philippines Cebuano News) made history as the first national newscast delivered in a local dialect. In 2014, it also launched the Kapampangan national newscast, Kapampangan News and the public service program Serbisyo All Access, which is shown in Filipino language.
Prior to the channel's transfer to RPN, SNC's flagship newscast (Solar Network News) simulcasted on RPN 9 (free TV only) from the SNC's launch. The news content for RPN (then affiliated with ETC), however, was switched to Solar Nightly News on January 14, 2013, onwards, to avoid backlash from free TV viewers, particularly Free TV viewers of American Idol (in which the original plan was to replace the 6 pm via satellite broadcast to Free TV viewers by Network News, then airs the AI episodes at the 8 pm rerun in simulcast with cable and satellite viewers). Throughout the American Idol season, as the episodes are repeated at 8 PM on cable, Solar used the separate free TV-only feed, that contains reruns of selected ETC shows (but with advertisements replaced by ETC teasers and promotions) at 8 pm and Nightly News at 9 PM (with additional ETC programs, if necessary) to be used by RPN after each AI via satellite episode before RPN returns to the main ETC feed at 10 PM. This is to retain RPN's news content as it then has no newscast since the axing of NewsWatch.
On January 3, 2013, SEC launched Blink Cinema (later renamed as My Movie Channel) with the full broadcast taking effect later that month.
On April 14, 2013, TV5 Network Inc. and Solar Entertainment Corporation joined to broadcast the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship in Manila on Philippine television on August 1–11. Aside from TV5 and its sister channel (AksyonTV), the games were also broadcast over Solar’s cable channel Basketball TV.
On May 22, 2013, Solar Entertainment Corporation appointed two officers to manage its broadcasting and cable businesses: Manuel “Meckoy” Quiogue as chief commercial officer and Maria Theresa “Mitos” Borromeo as chief operating officer (COO). However, Quiogue suddenly died on May 31, 2013 prior to assuming his position.
On June 28, 2013, Jack City reduced its free TV broadcast to 18 hours a day on BEAM in compliance with the National Telecommunications Commission's guidelines. However, it still continues to air as a cable channel 24 hours a day.
On November 9, 2013, San Miguel Corporation's president and COO, Ramon Ang, explored the possibility of acquiring a controlling stake in Solar Entertainment Corporation in his personal capacity. However, no further announcements were made after this and Ang subsequently reached an agreement to acquire a minority stake.
Solar News Channel and its partnership moved to RPN 9 on December 1, 2013, while ETC returned to SBN Channel 21 a day before. (ETC was aired on SBN-21 from 2008 to 2011 then to RPN-9 from 2011 to 2013), as well as the launch of Solar's video-on-demand website Blink. As a result of the channel swap (on RPN's part), Network News and Nightly News became newscasts on its own right.
In 2014, Solar Entertainment's Solar One Boracay happened during the Labor Day weekend to showcase its channels (ETC, 2nd Avenue, JackTV, JackCITY, My Movie Channel, The Game Channel, Solar Sports, BTV and NBA Premium TV) through various summer activities all over the island.
On August 20, 2014, Solar Entertainment Corporation chief Wilson Tieng announced that he ceded his entire share on Solar TV Network, Inc., including its 34% majority share on RPN, to Antonio Cabangon Chua, owner of business daily BusinessMirror and Aliw Broadcasting Corporation. Tieng sold Solar TV because they were losing money for operations after purchasing RPN. As a result of this ownership change, STVNI, Solar News Channel and RPN's majority stake were separated from the Tiengs; while ETC, 2nd Avenue, and Jack City reverted to Solar Entertainment's ownership.
On September 1, 2014, Jack City ended its run on free TV due to the preparations being made by BEAM 31 for the incoming transition to ISDB-T digital television, though it continues to be broadcast as a separate cable channel. However, Jack City continued to broadcast on cable networks until March 21, 2015. After Jack City's closure to free TV, BEAM aired under blocktime programs from various local production and religious companies. On November 15, 2014, BEAM began being carried on SkyCable and Destiny Cable subscribers (per compliance with NTC's "must-carry" basis). This move resulted of Jack City in a change of its channel assignment for SkyCable and Destiny Cable subscribers, as well as several pay TV companies.
In 2015, Solar Entertainment Corporation launched the #1stonPHTV brand of Solar channels for ETC, 2nd Avenue, Jack TV, Jack City and My Movie Channel, with the brand implemented on January 6, 2015. Since then, all SEC channels broadcast first-run foreign television programs with the hashtag #1stonPHTV (First on Philippine TV), which was formerly known as "Match Airing" (ETC), "Playing 1st" (Jack TV), "The Newest in the US" and "FastCast" (2nd Avenue) and "See It First" (Jack City).
On March 22, 2015, Jack City was replaced by CT, thus becoming independent from its parent network. Upon launch, the channel broadened its programming focus by adding talk shows, sitcoms and men's lifestyle programs to its roster.
On March 26, 2015, Solar Entertainment announced its broadcast of the "Fight Of The Century" between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 3, 2015. As stated in a press conference that day, it was broadcast on May 3 via delayed broadcast in three major television stations in the Philippines, ABS-CBN, TV5, and GMA Network (who waived its exclusive contract with Solar to allow its multi-network coverage, but maintained its exclusive live broadcast on its radio division), with Solar Sports as its main content provider for this historic event in boxing.
On July 1, 2015, My Movie Channel ceased broadcasting. The closure or selling was announced by Solar a day before.
Rebranding of the four flagship networksEdit
On October 16, 2016, Solar relaunched its flagship channels ETC, 2nd Avenue, Basketball TV and Solar Sports. The four networks unveiled their new logos, on-air graphics and station IDs, which took effect on that day. CT, Jack TV, Shop TV and NBA Premium TV on the other hand remains unchanged. Also that day, Solar launched its corporate campaign slogan ...There's More To Come, which evolved in 2017 as We go for More.
In 2017, Solar Entertainment became the official Philippine broadcaster of the 65th edition of the Miss Universe in Manila. This led to another deal with ABS-CBN, TV5 and GMA (the second time that such deal happened between Solar and the Big 3 networks). According to some sources, a directive from President Duterte ordered that the major networks must cover the prestige pageant as it happens live in the Philippines. Alongside the Big Three, Solar Entertainment channels etc, 2nd Avenue, Jack TV and CT aired the pageant simultaneously. It was also in the same year when Solar Entertainment forged a joint venture with the Bermuda-based communications satellite company Asia Broadcast Satellite to launch the first nationwide free-to-air direct-to-home satellite television services using the C-band, which is set to launch on the 3rd quarter of the year.
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Solar's channels have ceased airing on Sky Cable, the Philippines' largest cable television provider. An insider[who?] claims that these troubles with Sky Cable started when boxer Manny Pacquiao, whose fights Solar Entertainment has the exclusive right to air and distribute to, moved from ABS-CBN, the flagship television network of ABS-CBN Corporation and the primary owner of Sky Cable Corporation, to rival GMA Network. Another insider[who?] claims that SkyCable wanted to remove ETC and Jack TV to make room for their own channels, Velvet (now defunct) and Maxxx (now defunct). Sky Cable wanted to retain C/S, 2nd Avenue, Solar Sports and Basketball TV, but Solar made a decision that they would only renew their contract if Sky Cable carried all six channels. Thus, Solar decided to pull out all their channels rather than remove ETC and Jack TV.
However, Solar has signed a deal with local terrestrial channels ABC, RPN, SBN and RJTV for block-time programming. C/S, ETC and 2nd Avenue programming are seen on terrestrial TV channels RPN, SBN and RJTV, respectively, while NBA and WWE programming were seen on TV5, now moved to RPN (WWE programming are currently being broadcast thru TV5, while its terrestrial NBA coverage were moved to ABS-CBN Sports under Solar).
Most of its channels were later returned to Sky Cable, while Jack TV would eventually return to its lineup on January 1, 2010 replacing Maxxx.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao's boxing promotion, Top Rank, signed a non-guaranteed contract with ABS-CBN Sports to exclusively air fights promoted by Top Rank, with the exception of Pacquiao fights which are still signed exclusively through Solar Entertainment.
On April 10, 2017, 3 days before the 2017 NBA Playoffs was scheduled to begin (and coincided with the final day of the 2016–17 NBA regular season), Basketball TV, NBA Premium TV, Solar Sports, Jack TV and CT (now defunct) were removed by Solar from Sky Cable (including Sky Direct, Destiny Cable & Sky On Demand thru video on demand) without any prior announcement from Solar. Initially, both Basketball TV and NBA Premium TV were replaced by airing a simulcast of ABS-CBN Sports and Action with a ticker announcing the unavailability of the channels, with Solar Sports, Jack TV and CT (now defunct) also doing the latter albeit with a black screen. Later, almost all of the pulled-out Solar channels were replaced by an imaging card, initially detailing the unavailability of the channels and then later, announcing that they will discuss with Solar on returning the aforementioned channels; while for BTV and NBA Premium TV, a schedule of the NBA games that will air on ABS-CBN, ABS-CBN Sports and Action and Fox Sports within the week and a loop of an NBA promo. Solar did not comment on the situation for the removal of the channels, but sources and some netizens pointed out a carriage dispute between the two parties for not paying an undisclosed price to continue broadcasting these channels, which was later proven true by an article published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
As the dispute continued, some media enthusiasts and netizens raised concerns of whether these Solar channels will return to Sky and/or Destiny. Others pointed that inaction between the two parties could affect the next long-term local broadcast franchise with the NBA, slated to begin at the Association's 2019-2020 regular season. (Currently, Solar and Sky's parent, ABS-CBN, have a shared broadcast agreement to air the NBA games on pay and terrestrial television, respectively. Rumours circulated that both networks may bid separately, if they could not reach renewal, and use their respective infrastructure to broadcast adequate NBA coverage; otherwise, rival networks with a functioning sports department like The 5 Network may also seek their own bidding to steal the 2019 contract from both Solar and ABS-CBN.)
Netizens and viewers were dismayed and frustrated by the removal of the said channels by Sky Cable, most notably for BTV and NBA Premium due to the importance of the Playoffs. Some netizens were angered by the removal of the said channels and asked Sky Cable to return the channels before the scheduled Playoffs would begin, however Sky Cable would respond to angered netizens on social media that they are "fixing the situation with Solar". Other netizens and viewers would otherwise switch providers from Sky Cable to other cable companies that carried these channels or to other satellite providers like Cignal.
On October 16, 2018, Basketball TV and NBA Premium TV returned to Sky Cable, Sky Direct, & Sky On Demand for the first time in 18 months; however it was later removed on October 28, 2018 for unknown reasons.
The carriage dispute officially ended on January 1, 2019 when all Solar channels: Basketball TV, NBA Premium TV, Solar Sports, and Jack TV were restored on Sky Cable (including Sky On Demand & Sky Direct).
Ironically, MTVph, which is a Solar channel, ended its operations on the same day at that time Sky returned the affected Solar channels. As of 2019, Sky Cable's sister company Destiny Cable still does not carry all the aforementioned Solar channels despite its aforementioned return on Sky Cable.
During the aforementioned period, Shop TV, ETC and 2nd Avenue (now defunct) were kept on the air, due to the "must-carry" rules by the NTC. MTVph was also kept on the air (until it was discontinued on January 1, 2019) since it was carried in a separate programming agreement outside of the affected channels despite its ownership.
Dream Satellite TVEdit
Dream Satellite TV ceased carrying three Solar Channels, namely Solar Sports, ETC (which was at that time a cable channel prior to its move to free TV and cable) and 2nd Avenue (now defunct) (except C/S 9) effective 1 February 2009. Dream's carriage contract with Solar Entertainment, which expired on 31 December 2008 was not renewed by Dream, citing financial constraints as its main reason. The three Solar channels were replaced by A&E's The History Channel, Biography Channel and Crime and Investigation Channel. As of 2017, ETC and 2nd Avenue remained on its lineup due to the "must-carry" rules of the NTC.
Unfortunately, Dream Satellite ended its operations on December 31, 2017 due to bankruptcy and its competition with other satellite providers.
Divisions / SubsidiariesEdit
Filmography of Solar PicturesEdit
Notable local films released or distributed by Solar PicturesEdit
- Syota ng Bayan (2001)
- Batas Militar (2006)
- Pacquiao: The Movie (2006) - with Star Cinema
- Anak Ng Kumander (2007)
- Ang Tanging Pamilya (2009) - with Star Cinema
- Kimmy Dora: Kambal sa Kiyeme (2009) - with Star Cinema
- Wapakman (2009)
- Flames of Love (2012)
- Sapi (2013)
- Mumbai Love (2014)
- Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo (2014)
- Kid Kulafu (2015) - with Star Cinema
- Ma' Rosa (2016)
- Mulat (2016)
- Apocalypse Child (2016)
- Ang Larawan (2017, 43rd Metro Manila Film Festival's Best Picture)
- Siargao (2017, 43rd Metro Manila Film Festival's 2nd Best Picture)
- Citizen Jake (2018)
- Mary, Marry Me (2018)
- Rainbow's Sunset (2018)
Terrestrial TV channelsEdit
- ETC (Cable TV: 2004–present, SBN 21: 2008–2011, 2013–present, RPN 9: 2011–2013)
- Shop TV (2005–present, digital platform only)
Cable TV channelsEdit
- Front Row Channel (2020–present, joint venture with Jungo TV)
- Solar All Access (2002–present, formerly Solar Sports PPV)
- Solar Sports (1994–present, formerly Solar Entertainment Channel)
Former subsidiary, divisions and broadcast assetsEdit
- Nine Media Corporation (formerly, Solar Television Network, Inc.; sold to ALC Group of Companies)
- Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (For NBA, Shop TV & Jai-Alai Games)
Defunct cable channels and former digital TV distributionEdit
- 2nd Avenue (Cable TV: 2005–2018, RJTV 29: 2008–2018, formerly ETC 2nd Avenue)
- 9TV (34% joint venture with RPN 9: 2014–2015; owned by Nine Media Corporation)
- Aniplus Asia (2018–2019)
- BTV (2006–2019)
- Boo (2018–2019)
- C/S Origin (2008–2009)
- C/S 9 (Cable TV: 2005–2007, RPN 9: 2008–2009)
- CT (2015–2017)
- Chase (BEAM TV 31: 2011–2012)
- Hallmark Channel/Diva Universal Philippines (2009–2013)1
- Gone Viral TV (2018–2019)
- Jack City (BEAM TV 31: 2012–2014, Cable TV: 2014–2015)
- Jack TV (2005–2020, now on web portal)
- K-Plus (2018–2019)
- Living Asia Channel (2019)
- MTV (2018–2019)
- MTVph (2017–2018, joint venture with Viacom International Media Networks Asia)
- Blink Cinema/My Movie Channel (2013–2015)
- NBA League Pass
- NBA Premium TV (2010–2019)
- Outdoor Channel (2018–2019)
- Playboy TV
- Solar News Channel (34% joint venture with RPN 9: 2013–2014, SBN 21: 2012–2013)
- Sports Plus (2004–2006)
- Solar TV (RPN 9: 2009–2011)
- Solar USA (2001–2005)
- Talk TV (SBN 21: 2011–2012)
- Telenovela Channel (2019)
- TGC (BEAM TV 31: 2011–2012, Cable TV: 2011, 2012–2015)
- SciFi/Universal Channel Philippines (2009–2012)1
- Zee Sine (2018–2019)
- ZooMoo (2018–2019)
1Joint venture with Universal Networks International
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