business, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

A Look at the ‘New and Improved’ ANC

The ABS-CBN News Channel continues to get better.

The past few months saw a gradual makeover in ANC’s programming lineup. It all started in late January when the sports-centric newscast ‘Gametime’ premiered with ABS-CBN Sports analyst Migs Bustos at the helm.

To give way to ‘Gametime’, ANC needed to make some sacrifices. First, the network’s flagship newscast ‘The World Tonight’ was shortened back to its original 30-minute duration, then ‘Market Edge with Cathy Yang’ made some slight changes to their running time; the 9:00 a.m. edition was cut to 30 minutes, while the 3:00 p.m. edition was extended to an hour.

Late February saw another new addition to the ANC family, as longtime international news anchor Annalisa Burgos joined the network. Her arrival also led to a rebrand of ANC’s early morning newscast, with ‘Mornings @ ANC’ morphing to ‘Early Edition’.

The following week, ANC shored up its afternoon and primetime lineups as well. Here is a look at the 4:30-8:00 p.m. weekday schedule:

  • 4:30 p.m. – Hot Copy on Headstart
  • 5:00 p.m. – ANCalerts
  • 5:30 p.m. – Top Story
  • 6:30 p.m. – Hardball (M), Green Living (TU), Mukha (W), Dayaw (TH), Cityscape (F)
  • 7:00 p.m. – The Bureau
  • 7:30 p.m. – Talkback (M), Beyond Politics (TU), Future Perfect (W), The Boss (TH), Shoptalk (F)

To summarize, ‘ANCalerts’, ‘Top Story’ and ANC’s human interest shows were bumped by 30 minutes, while ‘Hot Copy on Headstart’ was moved two hours earlier. A primetime edition of ‘The Bureau’, anchored by Ron Cruz, was added, while ‘Talkback’, ‘Beyond Politics’ and ‘Shoptalk’ were shortened to 30 minutes.

Finally, the ‘Early Edition’ segment ‘Matters of Fact’ was given replay schedules as well. Hosted by Christian Esguerra, ‘Matters of Fact’ replays are aired on weekdays at 11:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m.

The weekend schedule was slightly tweaked as well. Other than replays of ANC’s talk and human interest programs, the only significant move by the network came when ‘On the Money’, a financial advice program hosted by Edric Mendoza and Salve Duplito, was moved to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

After all that analyzing, it is pretty clear that the ABS-CBN News braintrust has done a very good job improving what has been a very superior product. Kudos to Ging Reyes and Nadia Trinidad for once again playing key roles in maintaining ANC’s status as the Philippines’ premier news network.

The process, of course, was a long and carefully thought one. But at the end of the day, there is no stopping the ABS-CBN News Channel in their continuous quest to innovate and satisfy the needs of business leaders and decision makers.

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TVplus Sells 2 Million Units, Plus GMA Continues DTT Preparations

A cheaper price tag of P1499 and the expansion to other key areas in the country has helped ABS-CBN TVplus reach the two million mark. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN)

A cheaper price tag of P1499 and the expansion to other key areas in the country helped ABS-CBN TVplus reach the two million mark. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN)

The ABS-CBN TVplus black box continues to sell like pancakes.

Parent company ABS-CBN recently announced that the sale of the TVplus box has reached two million units, thus surpassing its year-end target. The swift rise in sales was helped by the product’s cheaper price tag of P1499 (originally P2500, then P1999), as well as national expansion to key regions in the country.

ABS-CBN CEO and president Carlo Katigbak shared his enthusiasm for the TVplus box. According to Katigbak,

ABS-CBN TVplus continues to improve the Filipino’s viewing experience though digital quality broadcast and a transformative entertainment experience by offering more choices of channels and even opportunities to watch special TV events, greatly supporting our mission to serve the Filipino people.

Launched in February 2015, ABS-CBN TVplus carries a select number of major free TV networks, including ABS-CBN and S+A. It also carries ABS-CBN’s exclusive digital channels Yey!, CineMo, Knowledge Channel, and DZMM TeleRadyo, as well as pay-per-view channel Kapamilya Box Office (KBO).

Meanwhile, rival network GMA continues its planned transition to digital television. The network revealed that it plans to invest P416 million on transmitter facilities to aid in the migration process.

Previously, GMA announced its plan to invest P1.5 billion on digital equipment, which was lower than the P3 billion that ABS-CBN spends for its own digital migration. GMA also unveiled a prototype of its upcoming digital television product, which is expected to combine the capabilities of a digital receiver and a set-top box.

While ABS-CBN continues to make strides in the development of its digital television arm, it is clear that GMA is taking things slow. Considering that the Kapuso network has had a history of questionable investments and a poor management reputation, Felipe Gozon’s ‘conservative’ approach may be the hopeful solution for now.

Still, with the target towards shutdown of analog broadcasts in 2019 within reach, GMA may not have enough time to deal with the impending migration. Sooner or later, the Kapuso network must act now, otherwise every household may end up with an ABS-CBN TVplus box, leaving GMA with little room to grow.

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business, drama, entertainment, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Explaining the Disappearance of GMA’s Teleserye Episode Teasers

Notice something different on GMA these past few weeks?

Anyone who tuned in to Channel 7 should take a look at the commercial breaks during every program. There are the usual episode teasers, programming trailers and advisories, product advertisements, and for election season, political advertisements for national candidates.

But there is one aspect that is missing from these commercial breaks of late, and that is the episode teasers for all GMA teleseryes. So what happened to them?

As April got underway, GMA elected to stop airing episode teasers for their teleseryes, and instead create repetitive 10-second advisories for each program. Even in the network’s official YouTube page, the said episode teasers were nowhere to be found of late; their most recent upload was that of ‘Poor Señorita’ (see above), and that was two weeks ago.

The motive of GMA, it seems, is to save money, particularly since the upcoming national elections will require a heftier budget for GMA News coverage and teleseryes take a majority of the network’s overall production cost. While GMA appeared to have increased their income by 111%, as far as they were concerned, it was still not enough.

Remember, an episode teaser’s purpose is to preview the upcoming episode that will air on that day. But since GMA decided to remove this approach for their teleseryes, this left viewers without any information on what will happen to the upcoming episode of a particular series.

That said, with the lack of any promotional effort for their teleseryes, GMA’s continued decline is once again becoming evident. And it didn’t help that they are also a non-factor in the ratings and on social media.

It will be interesting to see how this latest conservative effort will pay off for GMA. With elections drawing near, GMA needs to step up their game, otherwise they might fall even further behind ABS-CBN and TV5 as far as technological resources go.

And yes, there’s still the new ‘Encantadia’ to worry about, so this is definitely now or never for GMA. Good luck.

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How Did Encantadia and Other Fantaseryes Hurt GMA in the Long Term?

GMA’s big investment on fantaseryes took its toll on the network’s long-term plans. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

The upcoming requel of ‘Encantadia’ is worth watching, that is, if you’re really a die-hard Kapuso fan.

But while anticipation is high on the new ‘Encantadia’, the broadcasting and financial aspect of GMA leaves a lot to be desired. It’s already 2016, and yet GMA is still way behind its competitors as far as their broadcast standards are concerned.

Much of the blame was due to the numerous big-budget primetime fantaseryes that GMA produced in the mid to late 2000s. With so much money invested on these projects, their ability to spend on updated equipment, facilities and other production and talent matters was compromised in the long term.

From 2004 to 2011, GMA produced big-budget fantaseryes such as ‘Mulawin’, ‘Darna’, the ‘Encantadia’ trilogy, ‘Captain Barbell’ and ‘Dyesebel’, among others. They were able to succeed in the ratings, but the high costs of making these series soon took its toll on GMA.

Looking at how GMA currently stacks up with ABS-CBN and TV5, it is clear that they have a lot of catching up to do. In fact, there were some key factors present on ABS-CBN and TV5 that were absent on GMA, such as:

  • An independent sports division (Shakey’s V-League and Manny Pacquiao fights, among others, were co-produced by other outfits)
  • Experimental 16:9 HD broadcasts (GMA still airs its programs in 4:3 standard definition, save for recent imported programs and TAPE-produced ‘Princess in the Palace; GMA also lacks an HD channel of its own)
  • Sister digital TV channels (ABS-CBN has CineMo and Yey!, while TV5 has Catsup)
  • Cable and satellite TV subscription service (ABS-CBN has SkyCable, while TV5 has Cignal)
  • Video-on-demand, livestream and digital-exclusive online service (ABS-CBN has iWanTV, while TV5 has News5Everywhere and Digital5)

Factor in the ongoing problems within the Artist Center, GMA’s regional networks, sister station GMA News TV, GMA Films and the public relationship department, and you have a network that is now standing on just one leg. Poor GMA.

It’s a pity to see GMA struggle at almost everything in recent years, and now that they’ll produce a requel of ‘Encantadia’, more problems lie ahead. That said, if GMA continues its ongoing slide, they will be in for a rude awakening.

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FTT Year 2015 in Review: Television’s Best

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2016, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 10 best moments in Philippine television this year.

AlDub Invades Eat Bulaga and the World

The now-popular Kalyeserye segment of ‘Eat Bulaga’ began on July 16, as a then-unknown Maine Mendoza (under the Yaya Dub character) caught the eye of rising Kapuso star Alden Richards. Since then, AlDub grew into a social media phenomenon, and it culminated into a slew of advertisements, magazine covers, a supporting role in ‘My Bebe Love: #KiligPaMore’, and a sold-out ‘Sa Tamang Panahon’ live episode at the Philippine Arena.

While the popularity of AlDub had some negative effects on GMA and its rivals, there is no denying that the duo became the key ingredient that introduced ‘Eat Bulaga’ into a new generation. The 36-year-old variety show is now enjoying its best ratings in years, thanks largely to AlDub.

LizQuen, KathNiel and JaDine Dominate Primetime Ratings

While AlDub dominated noontime, primetime belonged to ABS-CBN’s three hottest love teams.  The year began with LizQuen (Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil) of ‘Forevermore’ continuing their winning run, before handing it over to KathNiel (Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla) of ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’, and JaDine (James Reid and Nadine Lustre) of ‘On the Wings of Love’.

The success of LizQuen, KathNiel and JaDine were crucial in Primetime Bida’s thorough domination of Telebabad in the national ratings. Although GMA responded with BiGuel (Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix) in ‘Once Upon a Kiss’, and GabRu (Gabbi Garcia and Ruru Madrid) of ‘Let the Love Begin’, they were unable to make an impact.

A New Sunday Afternoon Habit

August 9 saw a new rival for the 20-year-old ‘ASAP’, but they did not expect it to be different. In came ‘Sunday PinaSaya’, GMA’s newest variety show that emphasized more on comedy than musical performances.

The presence of ‘Eat Bulaga’ hosts Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola and Alden RicRhards (with Maine Mendoza later added) helped ‘Sunday PinaSaya’ defeat ‘ASAP’ on a consistent basis. In response, ABS-CBN moved ‘Banana Split: Extra Scoop’ to Sunday afternoons as ‘Banana Sundae’, but it still failed to reverse the trend.

Willie Revillame Returns 

Speaking of Sunday afternoons, May 10 saw the return of Willie Revillame to the small screen with ‘Wowowin’. Initially airing every mid-Sunday afternoons, it later moved to an earlier timeslot after ‘Sunday PinaSaya’, where it has since flourished.

Even though Willie faced an arrest warrant over the ‘Willing Willie’ macho dancer kid case, this didn’t stop him from receiving accolades for ‘Wowowin’. The rebirth of the controversial host was capped off with a pair of awards for best game show and host in the PMPC Star Awards.

Wattpad Presents Turns 1

The teleserye dominance of ABS-CBN and GMA did not deter TV5. Following the cancellation of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ in early November, ‘Wattpad Presents’ became the network’s longest-running active entertainment program, having been on the air for over a year.

Under-appreciated by most television viewers, ‘Wattpad Presents’ was able to make it over a year thanks to an endless supply of new stories and a dedicated fanbase. It is considered a perfect alternative to the long and dragging storylines that a teleserye usually provides.

ABS-CBN Goes Digital and HD

February 11 saw the much-awaited launch of ABS-CBN TVPlus, the first-ever digital terrestrial television service in the country. The so-called ‘mahiwagang black box’ quickly became popular, selling nearly a million units.

Then on October 3, ABS-CBN HD was launched, bringing virtually every program on Channel 2 into crystal clear high definition. And finally, ABS-CBN announced that they will replace Balls HD with ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD starting January 1, ending a six-year run for the network’s first-ever HD channel.

Kapamilya Gold Reloaded

Teleseryes made their return to Kapamilya Gold on January 13, as ‘Flordeliza’ and ‘Nasaan Ka Nang Kailangan Kita’ premiered on the afternoon block. This was followed by four other series: ‘Doble Kara’, ‘All of Me’, ‘Walang Iwanan’ and ‘And I Love You So’.

Since then, the battle between Kapamilya Gold and Afternoon Prime dramas became a tight one, both in ratings and momentum. However, it didn’t stop ‘The Half-Sisters’ from achieving the one-year milestone in June.

NCAA Returns to Channel 23; UAAP Extended

After a fruitless three-year tenure with Sports5, the NCAA returned to ABS-CBN Sports in late June. The renewed partnership featured new innovations, such as social media interaction and high-definition broadcasts.

ABS-CBN Sports also signed a fresh five-year deal with the UAAP, following another successful season. The network now plans to extend its coverage to other UAAP tournaments, in addition to full coverage of men’s basketball and women’s volleyball.

The Big Two-0

November 27 saw ‘Bubble Gang’ celebrate its 20th anniversary with a documentary special. The 20-year-old gag show continues to defy time, maintaining its status as a Friday night habit despite an evolving cast of talents and advancements in technology.

Also reaching its 20th year is ‘Saksi’, the second longest-running active free TV newscast in the country. So is ‘ASAP’, who despite fading ratings with the entry of ‘Sunday PinaSaya’, remains a fixture on Sunday noontime.

Janella, Jana Shine on Lunchtime

Following up the success of ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ was a difficult task, but Janella Salvador and Jana Agoncillo proved that they were able to thrive with this challenge. Janella’s ‘Oh My G’ and Jana’s ‘Ningning’ flourished as one the country’s top-rated programs on weekdays, despite a stiff competitor in ‘The Ryzza Mae Show’.

In response, the TAPE-produced talk show starring Ryzza Mae Dizon was rebooted into a drama series as ‘Princess in the Palace’. However, the reformat did not produce the desired results.

2015 was another year to remember for television viewers. Although ABS-CBN continued to reign this year, GMA and TV5 enjoyed their own share of moments as well, and with digitization now underway, the preparation for a full-digitized television signal in the Philippines is on.

So what is in store for 2016? Find out as From the Tube continues to look at events and changes that shape Philippine media.

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