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Around the Mediaverse: ARC, TAG Sign Off; Rappler Stripped of Registration

More sad news in Philippine cable television.

At midnight of January 15, the ABS-CBN Regional Channel and TAG permanently signed off the air. According to Creative Programs Inc., they cite a ‘change in business direction’ for the closure of the two channels.

The ARC was launched on August 1, 2016 in another attempt to make ABS-CBN Regional programs available outside its respective regional footprint. However, like the Sarimanok Channel (now the ABS-CBN News Channel), ARC was beset by various problems from the start and its inability to gain support from the mother network eventually led to its downfall.

Two months later, on October 19, TAG signed on, showing Tagalized foreign films. However, it also endured its fair share of problems, the most obvious of which is redundancy due to the fact that the films shown in the channel are also aired on sister channels such as ABS-CBN, CineMo, Cinema One and Yey!.

CPI will also end broadcast of the anime channel Hero on January 31. More on that in a future article.

Rappler Registration Revoked

Later that afternoon, some breaking news involving a rising media outlet shook the world of journalism. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it revoked its registration of Rappler due to an alleged violation of a rule regarding foreign ownership of media companies.

The SEC claimed that Rappler is being controlled by the Omidyar Network, a fund created by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. Rappler denied this statement, saying that the company is ‘100% Filipino-owned’ and that Omidyar is only an investor.

Rappler’s reported revocation of its registration was vehemently criticized by the likes of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines, saying that it violated the rights of freedom of speech and the press. Malacañang denied these claims, saying Rappler violated constitutional rules and that it has nothing to do with President Rodrigo Duterte’s criticism of the outlet.

This said rule regarding the ban on foreign ownership of media companies has been in place since the 1970s. It can be recalled that GMA Network owner Robert ‘Uncle Bob’ Stewart sold the company to Felipe Gozon, Gilberto Duavit and Menardo Jimenez due to said rule, and MPB Primedia was also forced to sell its share of TV5 to Manny V. Pangilinan.

Despite its revocation, Rappler said it will continue to operate and will exhaust all legal efforts in order to reconsider SEC’s decision. Good luck with that.

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entertainment, internet, news, Philippines, public affairs, Sports, television, VOD service

Another Missing Element in GMA’s Repertoire

The lack of a video-on-demand and live streaming online service is another problem that GMA is facing today. (Photo credit: GMANetwork.com)

Online live streaming and video-on-demand services in the Philippines are becoming a useful tool for viewers who want to catch up on their favorite programs.

But while ABS-CBN and TV5 currently have their own VOD and live streaming websites, it is GMA’s lack of a similar website that leaves a lot to be desired.

At the start of the current decade, both ABS-CBN and TV5 took advantage of the internet in order to showcase their television programs. The Kapamilya network launched their iWantv! service starting in 2010, while the Kapatid network followed suit with their own catch-up TV service a few years later. TV5 also launched News5 Everywhere for their news programs.

This left GMA as the only major TV station without a licensed website dedicated to catch-up and live stream programming. As a result, Kapuso viewers were forced to go elsewhere.

Past episodes of GMA programs were uploaded daily on YouTube and other video websites, without any regard for copyright infringement. In addition, the presence of unlicensed live streaming websites made it easier for Kapuso viewers to access GMA programs online and in real time.

Much like the inconsistency and lack of ratings success in their programming, the apparent mismanagement of their contracted artists, the lack of a sports division, and the overt dependence on re-runs, budget concerns are dragging GMA down. And with the lack of any available funds to capitalize on new media, it is no secret why GMA has not been successful of late.

While the partial acquisition of Ramon Ang will help boost GMA’s fortunes, it remains to be seen if his magic touch will pay off. But right now, GMA is an entity with a lot of problems. And the lack of a VOD and live-streaming website is just another dilemma for the embattled network.

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