entertainment, news, Philippines, public affairs, television

Video on Board: Buses Tune In to ABS-CBN Shows But Avoid Afternoon Koreanovelas

A bus bound for Quiapo showing ABS-CBN’s ‘It’s Showtime’. (Photo courtesy of the author)

Sometimes life is unfair.

Such is the case for airconditioned buses that ply the streets of Metro Manila. These buses offer more than just relief from the sweltering heat, they also provide riders with a show or movie to watch while going from one destination to another.

Most airconditioned buses are equipped with a television set that hangs atop the windshield. At first, the viewing experience was severely limited thanks to poor signal reception (most buses opt to air movies from their USB outlets or pirated DVDs due to these conditions), but the launch of the ABS-CBN TVPlus made it much better for riders to watch a show comfortably.

As a commuter I can attest to the varying trends of television viewership inside airconditioned buses. Prior to the launch of TVPlus, the preferred channel of Metro Manila buses is GMA Network due to its clearer signal and greater reach.

But as TVPlus became readily available to the public, bus companies began to take advantage of it by equipping their sets with these devices. As a result, more and more buses were tuning in to ABS-CBN programs especially  during ‘It’s Showtime’, ‘TV Patrol’ and ‘Ang Probinsyano’, simply because Channel 2 is always the first to open on TVPlus.

However, there is still one GMA show with which these buses would rather tune in to. In one of my more recent in-city trips, I looked at some of the buses that ply the metro during the late afternoon, and surprisingly, these buses were tuning in to ‘Wowowin’ instead of a Koreanovela from ABS-CBN.

Simply put, these bus drivers and conductors are not Koreanovela fans. They would rather tune in to Willie Revillame and his antics with sexy women instead of cheesy love scenes from Korean actors because it seems like they are boring

Not to mention that it is rush hour for people going home. If they are tuning in to a Koreanovela on the way home on a slow-moving afternoon, chances are they could be put to sleep.

While viewership inside buses do not influence ratings performance (at least for now), the general trend is clear. ABS-CBN is the most preferred network among airconditioned buses all-day long, but on the late-afternoon rush hour, GMA’s ‘Wowowin’ is the most preferred show.

Unfair as it sounds, but the best entertainment while inside the bus is when things either become tense and gut-wrenching (as in the case for teleseryes) or humorous and fun (as in the case for variety shows). It is what bus rides are made of, and keeping riders awake and invested in entertainment is a bus company’s way of making themselves comfortable.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

SerenoSerye Over: Sereno’s Ouster as Chief Justice Now Final

Consider it final, official and irrevocable.

Over a month after Supreme Court justices voted in favor of ousting erstwhile Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno via quo warranto, the court decided to formally vacate the position of Chief Justice after rejecting Sereno’s motion for reconsideration to reverse the ruling. President Rodrigo Duterte will now have 90 days to pick a new Chief Justice.

The saga surrounding Sereno had been well-documented for the past several months. It began in August when Atty. Larry Gadon filed articles of impeachment to Congress that questioned Sereno’s missing assets, liabilities and net worth.

A lengthy series of hearings followed at the Batasan Pambansa that ran from September 2017 to February 2018. Throughout the course of the hearings, Supreme court justices and staff testified in front of the House Committee of Justice and they added further detail to Sereno’s misdeeds in the years prior to becoming Chief Justice.

In March, the Justice Committee overwhelmingly approved the articles of impeachment filed against Sereno. But just as the impeachment process began to roll along, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto petition that seeks to invalidate Sereno’s appointment.

Last May, the Supreme Court voted 8-6 in favor of the quo warranto, removing Sereno from the Chief Justice post. Later that month, Sereno filed a motion for reconsideration that sought to reverse the court’s original ruling, which was then quashed by another 8-6 vote Tuesday afternoon.

With the court’s ruling now final, Atty. Gadon’s impeachment complaint is now deemed ‘moot’ and ‘academic’ by the House of Representatives, and is expected to be terminated. It also means that the possible third Senate impeachment trial of the current millennium will no longer materialize.

Had the quo warranto not been filed and approved, viewers would have had a field day watching the proceedings at the Senate. But as it stands now, there will not be a repeat of what happened in the impeachment trials of former President Joseph Estrada and former Chief Justice Renato Corona, in which high drama and tension filled the Senate.

Now that Maria Lourdes Sereno is no longer the Chief Justice, the so-called “SerenoSerye” is officially over. It was a long and exhaustive procedure to say the least, but for the many people involved in the drama, it was worth telling.

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drama, entertainment, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, television, Thailand

FTT Wonders: Who Really Aired the First Asianovela in the Philippines?

Taiwanese drama ‘Amazing Twins’ was considered by some viewers to be the first Asianovela to air in the Philippines when it was broadcast on IBC-13 in early 2003. (Photo credit: CTS)

Tagalized Asian dramas are a thing these days.

Also popularly known as ‘Asianovelas’, these programs are imported from neighboring Asian countries such as Taiwan, Japan and Korea. Although the initial wave of Asianovelas were of Taiwanese origin, Korean dramas (colloqiually known as Koreanovelas) became a more common sight on Philippine television as the years pass.

But in order to understand the origin of the Asianovela, one must go back to 2003, the year these Tagalized Asian dramas first arrived. For many years, ABS-CBN claimed that they were the ‘First and True Home of Asianovelas’, given that they were responsible for bringing ‘Meteor Garden’ to the small screen around 15 years ago.

However, there is also an argument that IBC-13, with help from Viva Entertainment, was actually the first station to air an Asianovela. Just months before ‘Meteor Garden’ arrived, IBC-13 aired a Taiwanese action series called ‘Amazing Twins’ (locally known as ‘The Legendary Siblings 2’).

Unfortunately for IBC-13, ‘Amazing Twins’ tanked in the ratings, mainly due to the network’s poor reception and reach that persists to this day. It also did not help that the series aired once a week, which makes some viewers impatient given the daily nature of Filipino dramas.

Meanwhile, ‘Meteor Garden’ became a smash hit, turning F4 and Barbie Hsu into household names. The series also benefited from its near-daily airings on ABS-CBN, thus making viewers wait less for the next episode.

Following the success of ‘Meteor Garden’, ABS-CBN, GMA and occasionally ABC/TV5 began to air more Asianovelas. But as time passed, Korean dramas became the most preferred choice thanks to series such as ‘Jewel in the Palace’, ‘Endless Love’ and ‘Lovers in Paris’.

GMA also made history in 2005 by airing ‘Gokusen’, the first Asianovela hailing from Japan. Then earlier this month, the network premiered the Thai drama ‘You’re My Destiny’.

Given that ‘Meteor Garden’ became popular to begin with, it is safe to assume that this series gave birth to the modern-day Asianovela. As much as people would argue about ‘Amazing Twins’ being the first Asian drama to air in the country, it did not quite fit the mold of today’s Asianovela since it failed to become a hit and was only seen once a week.

Still, the jury is on the viewers to decide. Who really is the first Asianovela to air in the country?

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Messed Up: 24 Oras’ Drastic Graphics Overhaul Perplexes Viewers

Welcome to ‘Extreme Makeover: 24 Oras Edition’.

This past week saw an overhaul of ’24 Oras” on-screen graphics. From the looks of it, though, the newscast seems to imitate the styles of one particular news outlet and another news program that airs on GMA.

Flashback to one week ago. This was how GMA’s flagship primetime newscast looked on-screen last time.

Exhibit A: 24 Oras

Exhibit B: 24 Oras Weekend

On Monday, however, GMA News unveiled an updated graphics package for ’24 Oras’. The newscast’s logo is shrunk in size, moved to the right and is now enveloped in a red square, while the headline/detail text box moved to the left and the digital clock was removed in favor of a longer news ticker.

The initial look did not sit well with viewers as the style was obviously copied from CNN and its affiliates (particularly CNN Philippines). Take a look at the comparison below.

Tuesday saw a minor tweak in ’24 Oras” graphics package. The logo and headline/detail text box changed positions, perhaps in response to criticisms surrounding the previous style.

This update stayed that way the following day, but on Thursday, another new wrinkle arrived. The news ticker went from black to blue while the detail box went from red to blue.

For starters, blue is the main color used on GMA’s late-night newscast ‘Saksi’ (see video below). Which makes it all the more perplexing as to why ’24 Oras’ would use a color that is not distinctly theirs.

Finally, ’24 Oras Weekend’ released its update graphics package this weekend. It was almost the same look as the one used the prior week, except that the digital clock was eliminated and the news ticker was recolored blue.

The newly-updated graphics for ’24 Oras’ were part of GMA’s newest deal with Vizrt, in which the network invested P154 million to improve its news operations. It was no secret why the initial update of its graphics were criticized for being CNN-like because CNN also uses Vizrt for its news gathering capabilities.

After all the experimentation, what will GMA News do next to ’24 Oras’ come this week? While viewers wouldn’t care less about the on-air imagery and focus more on the content itself, the lack of uniqueness and consistency in the graphics deserves lots of criticism, and GMA News must settle in with something distinct and different for ’24 Oras’.

It’s up to GMA to do something right for a change. Good luck.

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action, comedy, drama, entertainment, fantasy, movies, Philippines, suspense, television

Blurring the Lines: Is CineMo Finally Ready to Accept Drama and Romance Films?

The movie ‘Ikaw na Sana’ was aired on CineMo as part of the CineKomedya block, but was classified as a romantic drama film. (Photo courtesy of Video48 and Viva Films)

Talk about a tone shift.

CineMo, an ABS-CBN digital TV channel, has been on the airwaves for the past seven years. However, its content has stayed basically the same, airing comedy, action, suspense, sexy and fantasy films from the get-go.

But in the past few weeks, movies from the romance and drama genres began to air on CineMo as well. Such films were aired on the channel’s CineKomedya block, but for whatever reason they do not feel like comedy films at all.

Take for instance the recent airing of the film ‘Ikaw na Sana’. The movie was an adaptation of the television series that aired on GMA some 20 years ago, and it starred Bobby Andrews and Angelu de Leon alongside Gladys Reyes and Jake Roxas.

Unfortunately for CineMo, ‘Ikaw na Sana’ was labeled as a romantic drama film. And considering the film did not have any funny jokes or comedic bits, it was not appropriate for it to air on the CineKomedya block.

There were also other films that aired on CineKomedya that do not appear to be humorous at all. Some of these films foreshadowed the modern romantic comedy drama series that air on ABS-CBN these days, but for the most part tears were shed more than laughs.

With that in mind, is it the perfect time for CineMo to accept romance and drama films to the fold? Considering that they have been repeatedly airing most of the same films over and over again, perhaps it is the right time to do so.

CineMo could launch new drama and romance blocks titled CineDrama and CineRomansya on timeslots normally reserved to action and comedy flicks. That way, films from the romance and drama genres can be aired without any confusion and concern from the viewer.

Not only that, CineMo will have a deeper reservoir thanks to these films. That said, having romance and drama films on the channel does help in attracting the young and feminine audience more, even though the channel is more catered to working-class males.

The ball is now on CineMo’s court to score. One can only hope that the channel will dig deep and go beyond their comfort zone with these tearjerkers.

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Philippines, Sports, television, United States

Tipid Mode: ABS-CBN’s Call of NBA Finals No Longer On-Site in Recent Years

Talk about cutting costs.

In case no one has paid attention yet, the Filipino-language commentary of the 2018 NBA Finals on ABS-CBN Channel 2 is currently held inside the network’s studios in Quezon City. No, not in Oakland, California or in Cleveland, Ohio.

Unless you’re TJ Manotoc who made the trip to the U.S. alone for the past five years (this year’s Finals will be his first since getting the call to join ABS-CBN’s North America Bureau), the commentators have stayed home for the most part. And there are reasons why they were no longer required to take the trip stateside to call the Finals.

First off, there are concerns surrounding budget. Considering the network’s long-term vision of digitalization, anything that involves plane tickets, hotel reservations, visas and working permits for at least a three-week trip may be too much of a burden for ABS-CBN.

It also did not help that the NBA returned to a 2-2-1-1-1 setup for the Finals starting in 2014. Going back and forth to different cities between Games 4-7 only adds to the cost.

Next, ABS-CBN is on a tight schedule. They made the NBA Finals available in both Channel 2 and S+A (and in different commentary languages) for this particular reason because the former has a strict schedule to follow, whereas the latter has greater flexibility with it.

In the case of overtime games like what happened in Game 1 last Friday, Channel 2 immediately ended its broadcast within minutes of the final buzzer in order to make way for ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’. This means that the local commentators would have no choice but to immediately bid farewell rather than dive deeper into the game.

And finally, ABS-CBN changed its commentary approach in the Finals in order to appeal to the masses. Which is why, whether traditional basketball viewers liked it or not, they hired Benjie Paras to join alongside Ronnie Magsanoc and Boom Gonzalez in order to describe the game in a simpler manner to fit the average Filipino’s needs.

Sending this trio stateside may be awkward to begin with considering their more liberal and oftentimes unorthodox style of commentary. But they were promoted to call the Finals for a reason: to make the NBA game easier for Filipino masses to understand.

With all due respect to the likes of Quinito Henson and Andy Jao (who were the first to actually call an NBA Finals direct from the U.S.), times are really changing. And ABS-CBN’s rather radical decision to stay home than call the Finals stateside may be their wisest decision yet considering their plans for the long-term.

People may not like this new approach but there is no other option. ABS-CBN is thinking about the future, and viewers must understand it.

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