Once a rival, always a rival.
ABS-CBN recently announced that the popular children’s anime ‘Princess Sarah’ (Filipino title ‘Sarah, Ang Munting Prinsesa’) will be re-aired on the Animazing block starting October 13. The series, based on the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel ‘A Little Princess’, was first aired in Japan in 1985, and was later picked up by ABS-CBN in the early 90s.
The rebroadcast of ‘Princess Sarah’ was intended to capitalize on the recent popularity of internet memes that are related to the series. Most of the memes focus on Sarah, Becky, and potatoes.
In addition to ‘Princess Sarah’, ‘Marcelino Pan Y Vino’ will also be re-aired on Animazing. The two shows’ timeslots will be announced within the weekend.
In a reversal of roles, ABS-CBN is beginning to copy rival GMA’s own style of re-airing old animes in the early morning slot. And a lot of it has to do with their lack of success in this particular viewership period.
Whether it is Kantar or AGB Nielsen, ABS-CBN always falls prey to a more unconventional approach that GMA employs in this slot (sorry ‘Kris TV’ viewers). Even though GMA’s rebroadcasts of old animes deserve a whole lot of criticism, the fact that anime loyalists continue to enjoy such shows over and over again attests to their continued success.
On the other hand, new animes (or new seasons of existing animes) on ABS-CBN failed to garner any viewership, mainly due to constant preemptions in favor of events like the recently concluded 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. Worse, the Tagalized ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ and ‘Mr. Bean’ are heavily edited, giving additional reason for viewers to tune out.
As a result, ABS-CBN decided to do the most unthinkable way possible, by re-airing ‘Princess Sarah’ and ‘Marcelino Pan Y Vino’. In doing so, they realized that in order to win back viewers in this timeslot, they need to copy someone else’s style and re-air some of their classic animated series, something that GMA has always been doing for years.
Whether or not they will succeed in the imitation of another station’s style remains to be seen. But for ABS-CBN, desperation is starting to sink in.