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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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TV5 Pulls Out Cartoon Network Shows, Refurbish Lineup Anew with NFL, Cockfighting, Japan Japan and Amo

What is Chot Reyes thinking?

When viewers tuned in to TV5 on the first week of September, one noticeable aspect of their programming is missing. It turns out that the Tagalized cartoons from Cartoon Network and Boomerang have been pulled out of the network, possibly due to the expiration of a contract between the two parties.

As a result, the network is once again living and dying with Tagalized movies and TV shopping blocks in the morning and afternoon. However, this latest development is not the only surprise that greeted viewers.

Tomorrow morning, TV5 will bring the NFL anew to the small screen. Except that the game is not the Super Bowl but an opening night contest between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs.

It can be recalled that it was ABS-CBN’s S+A that aired Super Bowl LI last February when TV5 could not accommodate said game. Now that TV5 has opened a gigantic hole in the morning, it is highly likely that they will carry some NFL football live all season.

Continuing the ‘Choose Courage’ theme that Chot Reyes implemented this year, TV5 also acquired a pair of refugees from the beleaguered IBC-13. Anyone who is a fan of sending roosters to the cockpit may remember ‘Tukaan’ and ‘Bakbakan’ right?

Both shows were long-time staples of IBC-13’s seemingly moribund lineup. But with the network poised to take its long-overdue process of privatization, they had no choice but to give up the two programs, and luckily TV5 was there to save them from extinction.

Another new show in TV5’s lineup is ‘Japan Japan’, a travel and lifestyle reality show starring Yachang and the Kawaii Pinays. Produced by the same company that brought ‘Amachan’ to the network, ‘Japan Japan’ takes a look at the various scenic destinations in Japan from the perspective of Filipino travelers and Yachang himself.

Finally, TV5 will bring the long-awaited Brillante Mendoza mini-series ‘Amo’ to the small screen. This 12-episode take on the country’s drug-related killings was originally slated to begin August 20, but the network’s coverage of Gilas in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games pushed back its premiere to this Sunday night.

Chot Reyes’ ‘Choose Courage’ vision is indeed alive and well, sort of. However, it’s still baffling to see more of the same old ‘Shop Japan’, ‘EZ Shop’ and Tagalized movies on the same roof, and unless TV5 can find a way to minimize said programs, they will not be perceived as being ‘courageous’ as their CEO emphasizes.

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In 100 Words: TV5’s ‘Choose Courage’ Station ID

TV5 under Chot Reyes is all about ‘courage’.

The network’s latest station ID was unveiled two weeks ago, and it featured the network’s newest offerings summarized in a one-minute film. The message of the station ID was simple: people should always overcome challenges and find the strength to escape fear.

As far as the station ID goes, the message may be prophetic, but what is the point when there are still some weaknesses to address. Remember the talk about TV shopping and News5 show reruns, not to mention all the problems that AksyonTV faces?

That said, unless Chot Reyes addresses these glaring issues, the ‘Choose Courage’ slogan that TV5 projects this year will not apply today. Until then, TV5 must take the long road in order to prove that they are indeed ‘courageous’.

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ABS-CBN Wins All Timeslots Last Monday According to Kantar

Not even AlDub’s much-anticipated primetime debut can stop ABS-CBN from reaching an immaculate record.

On Monday, February 27, all ABS-CBN programs defeated their respective GMA counterparts in the ratings, according to Kantar Media. This includes a rare victory for ‘Magandang Buhay’ (8.1%), as it swept all of GMA’s Astig Authority block (‘Ghost Fighter’ (5.9%), ‘Pokemon XY’ (6.7%) and ‘Bleach’ (7.3%)) and the European fantasy series ‘Wolfblood’ (6.8%).

As always, ABS-CBN’s usual suspects dominate the list, with the network continuing to prevail from late morning to late night. Six of the top ten slots belong to ABS-CBN programs, with ‘Ang Probinsyano”s 42.8% leading the way.

Even the network’s programs in the wee hours earned a victory as well. The 4:00-5:30 a.m. slot was won by ‘O Shopping’ (0.4%) and a rerun of ‘Mga Kwento ni Marc Logan’ (1 %) over ‘Reporters Notebook’ (0.9%), while the 11:45-1:00 a.m. slot was won by ‘Mission Possible’ (1.8%) and ‘O Shopping’ (0.9%) over ‘The 700 Club Asia’ (1.2%) and ‘EZ Shop’ (0.6%) respectively.

But the highlight of the day was the matchup between newcomer ‘Destined to Be Yours’ and ‘My Dear Heart’. The former, starring Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza, entered the night with high expectations, and considering the duo’s popularity in the last two years, the series was poised to get off to a sizzling start.

Instead, it was fellow young star Ria Atayde who turned heads. Her debut as Margaret’s (Coney Reyes) daughter Gia helped ‘My Dear Heart’ defeat ‘Destined to Be Yours’ 29.1 to 20.2%.

And finally, two shows that are normally affected by ABS-CBN Regional’s own programming managed to beat the odds. Both ‘Umagang Kay Ganda’ (5.2%) and ‘Minute to Win It’ (14%) prevailed over ‘Unang Hirit’ (4 %) and ‘Wowowin’ (13.7%) respectively, despite getting preempted by ABS-CBN Regional morning shows and ANR-produced ‘TV Patrol’.

Overall, it was thorough domination on the part of ABS-CBN. No one knows when will this rare wire-to-wire win will take place again, but one thing is for sure: ABS-CBN continues to reign as the Philippines’ top network.

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Examining Chot Reyes’ Plans for TV5

The Chot Reyes era on TV5 is indeed underway.

Upon his ascension to the position of chief executive officer late last year, Chot vowed to make some sweeping changes to TV5. After all, 2016 was a poor year for the Kapatid network, one marked by the ill-fated VIVA partnership, loss of revenue and programming quality, and streamlining of operations.

This year, TV5 has a new set of programs coming up, one that will include the return of the beloved AniMEGA block. However, this is only a portion of a much-needed overhaul, one that will also include sister UHF station AksyonTV and FM radio station Radyo5 92.3 News FM.

More on AksyonTV and Radyo5 in an upcoming article. In the meantime, here is the master plan that Chot Reyes conceived for TV5 this 2017.

AniMEGA

AniMEGA has long been a staple of TV5’s programming, having been aired since the rebrand in 2008. Unfortunately, it has run on and off for the past several years, to the point that anime fans were increasingly fed up by TV5’s constant mishandling of the block.

Its return this year should give anime fans a new reason to watch, with series such as ‘Attack on Titan: Junior High’, ‘Kantai Collection’, ‘Myriad Colors Phantom World’, ‘Knights of Sidonia’ and ‘Uta no Prince-sama Maji 1000%’ airing on TV5 soon. Hopefully TV5 will no longer regret about reviving AniMEGA ever again.

Brillante Mendoza Presents

The dissolution of TV5’s entertainment department forced the network to rely on outside sources. One of them will be director Brillante Mendoza, who will produce several made-for-TV films and mini-series as part of the ‘Brillante Mendoza Presents’ umbrella.

These days, TV5’s entertainment fare is exclusive to digital media under the Digital5 banner (e.g. ‘Kontrabando’, ‘Forever Sucks’). The addition of Brillante Mendoza, however, made it clear that TV5 is not done collaborating on homegrown entertainment fare on TV.

Philippines’ Next Top Model

It had been nearly a decade since ‘Philippines’ Next Top Model’ aired on TV (via RPN-9). This year, TV5 will revive the said modeling reality show, though it remains to be seen if TV5’s version will be a second cycle or a rebooted first cycle.

TV5 is no stranger to the ‘Top Model’ series, having aired ‘Asia’s Next Top Model’ a few years ago. However, PNTM’s status as either a TV5-produced show or a blocktimer remains to be seen, so stay tuned.

More Tagalized American Series

Finally, TV5 will air new American action series, which will obviously be dubbed in Filipino. Two of them, ‘Supergirl’ and ‘Quantico’, are expected to air during the first quarter of this year.

Of course, TV5 will still air other ongoing series such as ‘Smallville’, ‘Supernatural’ and ‘The Walking Dead’. But for 2017, the women of ‘Supergirl’ and ‘Quantico’ will be in charge.

TV5 is expected to unveil more game-changing programs in the months to come. But at this point, the pieces are now firmly in place, as TV5 vows to be a different station this 2017.

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What If: Action Movies and Programs on AksyonTV?

TV5's Tagalized American action films and programs could give AksyonTV a little boost given the latter's irrelevance of late. (Photo courtesy of TV5)

AksyonTV’s airing of Tagalized American action movies and shows from TV5 could give S+A a run for its money, if they want to proceed with this plan. (Photo courtesy of TV5)

Action movies and canned shows on AksyonTV? Why not.

Much has been said about AksyonTV’s increasingly declining quality in the six years since its debut. From its glory days as the first 24/7 all-Filipino news channel, to the current channel that lacks any identity whatsoever, the short but informative history of AksyonTV has been well-documented.

But other than the occasional outpouring of live or tape-delayed sporting events, not to mention a few surviving Radyo5 and TV5 simulcasts, AksyonTV has nothing else to offer. Every day, the station fills its vacant hours with infomercials from EZ Shop, Shop Japan and Shop TV, as well as defunct News5 original programs, much to the dismay of this writer.

As time went by, many proposals to reinvent the channel were made, with the rebrand of AksyonTV into the all-sports channel AKTV (the former name of the IBC-13 blocktimer) the most prominent of all. But like all proposals, any hope of materializing could fall into deaf ears.

If the proposal of turning AksyonTV into an all-sports channel doesn’t work out, perhaps a more radical programming change is needed for this seemingly moribund channel to survive. And that means bringing in a piece of TV5’s entertainment shows to AksyonTV.

With so many vacant hours to offer during idle periods, AksyonTV could use these times to air Tagalized foreign movies under the MovieMax sa AksyonTV banner. Modeling it after S+A’s Action Movie Zone block with an emphasis on action and superhero films is a more likely scenario given AksyonTV’s possible rivalry with ABS-CBN’s sister channel.

AksyonTV could also use this time to reair TV5’s canned foreign programs, if not add new titles. Considering that shows such as ‘Supernatural’, ‘Arrow’, ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Teen Wolf’ fall into the action category, this seems like a perfect fit as well.

These are just possible scenarios, but if AksyonTV wants to survive, these shows could help them do so. After all, no one wants to see a channel that is ‘walang kwenta’ and irrelevant in this day and age.

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