digital television, movies, online, Philippines, television, video on demand, VOD service

iWhat?: iWant Encounters Loading Issues Upon Launch

The new iWant is off to a rather inauspicious start.

Hours into its highly anticipated launch last November 17, iWant encountered a temporary slowdown caused by high volume of users. Many of them downloaded the new iWant in order to watch some of its new and original content, which included the hotly-discussed film ‘Glorious’ featuring a viral kissing scene involving lead stars Angel Aquino and Tony Labrusca.

In response, iWant issued a statement saying that they are increasing capacity in order to meet the demands of its users. As of 10:00 p.m., the iWant app is now updated to version 4.0.2.

iWant also reported that the app now has over one million downloads and is used by over 10,000 users per hour. But with so many consumers knocking on the door, it was clear that ABS-CBN is not prepared for such high demand.

If the old iWant TV was smooth sailing to watch at times, then the same cannot be said to its successor. With some additional content such as the aforementioned original films and music to complement on-demand programs, films and live streams, ABS-CBN’s digital team found themselves in a conundrum over the possible increase in consumer demand.

Suffice to say, they failed to anticipate what took place next. And unfortunately for users of iWant (myself included), they took notice by bombarding iWant’s social media pages with plenty of complaints.

This is already the third day of iWant’s official operations and so far the ‘temporary slowdown’ that was revealed Saturday continues to linger. Even I began to question the capabilities of the new iWant, especially after my attempt to watch ANC’s live stream was constantly disrupted despite enjoying a strong internet connection.

Call it growing pains or simply impatience. For now, ABS-CBN’s digital team is working round the clock to improve and increase the capacity of iWant, but this is going to be a painful ordeal, so users must wait and see what happens in the next several days.

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online, Philippines, Sports, television

PVL Returns to S+A After Controversial Livestream Issue

ABS-CBN has finally heeded the call of disgruntled PVL fans.

It was announced earlier this week that ABS-CBN Sports would air weekend Premier Volleyball League games on S+A in addition to the standard livestream broadcasts online. This came after last weekend’s livestream of the PVL on Tour in Tuguegarao was plagued with technical difficulties that led to many complaints from volleyball fans on social media.

Despite the good news, Wednesday PVL matches will remain exclusive to livestream while S+A will continue to reair UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball games. The full televised slate will only arrive once the semifinals and finals roll around.

The first televised PVL matches since opening day two weeks ago was the second stop of the PVL on Tour, this time in Batangas. Unlike last weekend in Tuguegarao where only four teams saw action, all eight teams, including Batangas native Alyssa Valdez’s Creamline Cool Smashers, participated in the provincial meet.

The next few weekends in the PVL Reinforced Conference schedule will take place in yet-to-be-determined venues. That said, there is a possibility that these matches will remain part of the PVL on Tour series, with the announcement to take place within the next several days.

Despite a partial television schedule, volleyball fans should feel more than satisfied with the response that ABS-CBN Sports gave to them. After all, the PVL has suffered long enough that the need to air more games on television will be key towards restoring the league’s credibility.

Because when the PVL has crowd drawers like Alyssa Valdez and Michele Gumabao, chances are the league will thrive if only they are given the proper exposure and treatment by its broadcast partner. So far, however, the PVL had been on the wrong end of ABS-CBN Sports’ stick, being drowned out by reruns of last season’s UAAP women’s volleyball matches.

To their credit, ABS-CBN Sports listened to its viewers for the sake of the PVL broadcasts, which is a good thing. Now it will be up to them to keep the dice rolling.

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news, online, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Interaksyon.com to Close Operations This March, But Wait…

Shutdown or merger: The fate of InterAksyon.com is currently being debated between TV5 and PhilStar management. (Logo courtesy of TV5)

Another online news outlet is in the headlines, but for a different reason.

Newsbytes.ph reported that Interaksyon.com, the online news website of TV5, will shut down its operations later this year. This comes just as news of competitor Rappler’s revocation of registration and ongoing legal battle grip the entire nation.

According to editor-in-chief Roby Alampay, Interkasyon.com will end its run in March and all of its digital news properties will be consolidated to News5.com.ph. This consolidation will also lead to a rationalization of manpower, which means that Interaksyon.com’s 20 regular employees may be given their walking papers.

However, a report by The Philippine Star later claimed that Mediaquest is studying its options for the future of Interaksyon.com, according to PhilStar Global CEO Kevin Belmonte. Mediaquest CEO Ray Espinosa also added that there is a possibility that Interaksyon.com would continue as part of PhilStar Global while they “determine the feasibility of implementing this plan in a cost efficient manner”.

This latest news regarding Interaksyon.com is indicative of TV5’s ongoing transformation. Its embattled news division, in particular, is in hot water for the loss of manpower and programming, and while it is true that declining revenue and streamlining of operations are the reasons behind these moves, watching News5 go down in flames is not a good sight for the Philippine media community.

And with TV5 joining forces with ESPN for its sports content, it became clear that News5 is now the odd one out. Dissolving this division may be the next best thing, but as far as its remaining staff are concerned, they would rather continue the fight than concede to reality.

Regardless of the decision, one can only hope that TV5, Mediaquest and The Philippine Star will do the right thing when it comes to confirming the fate of Interaksyon.com. Best of luck to the braintrust of each outfit, this is worth the wait.

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entertainment, internet, movies, news, online, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

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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digital television, entertainment, lifestyle, news, online, Philippines, television, video on demand, VOD service

At Last: GMA Enters Digital Territory with Online-Exclusive Shows

Better late than never.

After witnessing rivals ABS-CBN and TV5 establish their online presence with a slew of internet-exclusive programs the past few years, GMA finally decided to join in the fun by penetrating the digital world. The start of 2018 saw GMA launch three online-exclusive shows as part of its GMA ONE series.

They are:

Adulting 

Hosted by Atom Araullo, this program teaches young viewers some tips and advice in making adult life meaningful. It also takes a look at Atom’s daily life where he deals with the various trials and tribulations of being an adult.

#Goals

Hosted by Gabbi Garcia, this program tackles various fashion and lifestyle-related topics that young viewers can relate to. It will also look into Gabbi’s everyday life as she goes deep into her kikay kit and explore her personal goals, beliefs, desires and tastes.

Fact or Fake

Hosted by Joseph Morong, this program divulges deep into the news and determines whether or not it is factual or fictitious. Joseph’s role as a news reporter will come in handy as he sorts out which news is true and which is not.

The three online-exclusive shows were first streamed on the official GMA Network website and on GMA’s official YouTube channel last Monday. It will stream every Monday at 5:00 p.m. thereafter.

About the only thing missing from the launch of the three programs is GMA’s own online video-on-demand service similar to ABS-CBN’s iWant TV platform. Although the Kapuso network joined forces with YouTube to bring in full episodes of classic teleseryes from years past, it was still not enough to satisfy its need to create its own website/app that would house most, if not all of its programs both on TV and online.

Still, step one of perhaps an even bigger objective for GMA is worth a start. Now if they can start looking towards a bigger picture in order to be at par with what ABS-CBN is doing.

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online, television, video on demand, VOD service

In 100 Words: iWant TV Now Available to Smart, PLDT Subscribers

ABS-CBN’s iWant TV video on demand service continues to grow.

Just recently, the Lopez-owned media giant joined forces with Manny V. Pangilinan’s PLDT and Smart Communications for a game-changing agreement. Beginning in October, PLDT and Smart subscribers can now watch ABS-CBN shows anytime and anywhere through the iWant TV service.

Shows that air on ABS-CBN and its sister channels (e.g. S+A, ABS-CBN News Channel, DZMM TeleRadyo) are readily available on iWant TV. However, not all shows are free to watch, as some will still require an assigned fee to access.

Regardless, this is just another step in the right direction for ABS-CBN. As the network’s push for a more digital approach continues, one must wonder how will its competitors respond with this move.

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