entertainment, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, Sports, television, TV shopping

Before One News: A Look Back on AksyonTV, 5’s Failed Attempt at a News Channel

AksyonTV was the first 24/7 Filipino language news channel, but financial losses led to its transformation into T5N’s complement channel. (Logo courtesy of The 5 Network)

Next week will herald a new chapter for News5.

On May 28, the news division of The 5 Network (T5N), along with The Philippine Star and BusinessWorld, will launch One News, a 24/7 English language news channel exclusive to Cignal. But before the fireworks take place, here is a look back at 5’s former news channel AksyonTV.

AksyonTV was launched on February 21, 2011, and was initially billed by 5 as the first 24/7 Filipino language news channel on free TV. During its first few years of operation, AksyonTV filled its programming lineup with simulcasts from Radyo5 92.3 News FM, as well as original programs exclusive to the network and other shows that also air on then-TV5.

Over the next several years, however, AksyonTV slowly drifted away from its original purpose and was rendered irrelevant by television think-tanks. The gradual decline of AksyonTV can be attributed to the following factors:

  • Overspending

When AksyonTV was first launched the MVP Group was on a spending tear, pooling all their resources in hopes of making TV5 competitive and at par with long-time giants ABS-CBN and GMA. However, they failed to account the poor reach and infrastructure of the network, leading to financial losses and consequently, this next factor.

  • News5’s Problems

In order to cut its losses, News5 elected to cancel original AksyonTV programs and focused more on 5’s newscasts and radio programs. However, News5 was soon hampered by the departure of numerous top talents and the downsizing of its staff, affecting not only AksyonTV but also 5 overall, leading to this next factor.

  • Arrival of Sports and Entertainment Shows

The lack of any original news programming forced 5 to reformat AksyonTV into a complement channel of T5N, adding ESPN5 programs, entertainment shows and TV shopping to the menu. The change in AksyonTV’s content also led to the launch of Bloomberg Philippines, which eventually morphed into One News.

Overall, AksyonTV was not a bad attempt by News5 in terms of operating a news channel. But had the network improved its reach and infrastructure, AksyonTV might have remained competitive and viable alongside the likes of GMA News TV, DZMM TeleRadyo, CNN Philippines and the ABS-CBN News Channel.

Unfortunately, with the launch of One News next week, it is clear that AksyonTV has outlived its usefulness. One can only hope that 5 will do something about AksyonTV in the immediate future, whether it is rebranding the network or selling it to other broadcast outfits.

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

A Reaction to the Promotion of Sen. Tito Sotto to the Senate Presidency

Welcome to the ‘Tito Sen’ era.

Monday afternoon marked a changing of the guard at the Senate, as erstwhile Senate President Koko Pimentel relinquished his position in favor of Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III. The long-time senator/entertainer will now take on a more arduous task of leading the Senate for the next several years.

It also means that ‘Tito Sen’, as his co-hosts at ‘Eat Bulaga’ call him, will no longer join his fellow Dabarkads at the said noontime show for an indefinite time period. Given the many responsibilities of a Senate President, it was only fitting for Sotto to leave ‘Eat Bulaga’ since he would stay busy even during days without Senate sessions.

Sotto, nearing 70, has served a total of four terms as Senator. He had been elected to the Senate on four different occasions: 1992, 1998, 2010 and 2016.

The selection of Tito Sotto as Senate President earned mostly negative reactions from netizens. Most of them cite some of Sotto’s most controversial moments as both an entertainer and senator; namely the Pepsi Paloma rape scandal in the 1980s, the plagiarized RH Bill speech in 2012, and the ‘na-ano’ statement to Judy Taguiwalo in 2017.

But in the defense of some, Sotto has a track record that is more than enough to justify his ascendance atop the Senate. Aside from his four terms as Senator (this made him the longest-tenured current Senator by service time), he also served as Quezon City Vice Mayor from 1988-92, and was part of the Dangerous Drugs Board from 2008-09.

In addition, Sotto belongs to an influential family, some of whom also dabbled into politics. His grandfather, Vicente Yap Sotto, served at the Senate from 1946-50, his children Gian and Lala currently serve as Quezon City councilors, and nephew Vico (son of Vic Sotto and Coney Reyes) is currently a Pasig City councilor.

The negatives that come with Tito Sotto may be an overreaction to his recurring role as an entertainer. After all, politicians with showbiz backgrounds tend to carry greater scrutiny than those who come from other fields (see Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada).

However, in the case of Tito Sotto, these controversies were just minor bumps to an otherwise distinguished mark in public service. People may like it or not, but until another changing of the guard takes place, the Senate Presidency will belong to one Vicente Sotto III.

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digital television, entertainment, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, Sports, television

ABS-CBN TVPlus Sales Reach 5 Million Units

Five million and counting.

ABS-CBN announced this week that sales of the groundbreaking ABS-CBN TVPlus black box has reached the 5-million mark. This will put the network on track to meet the six-million sales target by the end of the year.

The steady growth of ABS-CBN TVPlus can be attributed to its low price, availability of several digital-exclusive TV channels and clearer picture quality. The boxes only cost P1499 and with a corresponding ABS-CBN Mobile SIM card, consumers can access exclusive ABS-CBN digital channels in CineMo, Yey!, Knowledge Channel, DZMM TeleRadyo and Kapamilya Box Office (KBO).

While ABS-CBN TVPlus is mainly used at home, some public and private vehicle owners have also invested on the device to improve picture quality in their TV screens while on the go. Although ABS-CBN discourages the use of TVPlus in automobiles, it did not stop vehicle owners from trying to improve the viewing experience of riders.

TVPlus is currently available in 15 key locations, mainly concentrating in the Greater Manila Area, Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Benguet and Pangasinan. ABS-CBN is also looking to expand the current coverage area that TVPlus encompasses, with the announcement coming in the near future.

ABS-CBN also launched a new generation TVPlus box that is only available in Cebu and Davao. Sold for P2999, it now comes with a wifi stick that will enable customers to access the internet through ABS-CBN Mobile.

So far, the lack of competition in the digital TV sector has enabled ABS-CBN TVPlus to pull away in terms of sales. However, rivals GMA Network and Solar Entertainment are currently in the process of creating their own digital devices, which means that in a few years, one expect a dogfight between the three broadcast giants and their digital TV offerings.

For more information on ABS-CBN TVPlus, click this highlighted link.

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entertainment, news, Philippines, public affairs, radio, television

In 100 Words: Gawad Tanglaw 2018

Guess which stations are tied for Best TV Station at the 16th Gawad Tanglaw Awards.

There were obviously no surprises here as long-time rivals ABS-CBN and GMA shared the honor of being the top television station in the country at this year’s Gawad Tanglaw Awards. But despite the tie, it was ABS-CBN which wound up with more individual awards, bagging 30 to GMA’s 13.

ABS-CBN’s total haul was highlighted by the four awards given to the cast of ‘Wildflower’, three to ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ and nine to the ABS-CBN News Channel. Meanwhile, GMA’s haul was dominated by its news division, with 12 of the 13 awards given to its news programs and personalities.

Aside from television, the Gawad Tanglaw Awards also honors the best in film. Click the highlighted links for the list of winners.

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FTT’s Thoughts on Journalists Running for the Senate

The 2019 mid-term elections is still over a year away.

This early, prognosticators are starting to look at potential candidates who are poised to take over half of the Senate seats come July of next year. And not surprisingly, there are a few names from the broadcast industry that were mentioned as potential candidates for one of the twelve Senate seats available.

Take for instance Jiggy Manicad. The long-time GMA News reporter and anchor is being considered as a possible candidate for a Senate seat according to Senate President Koko Pimentel.

Consequently, Jiggy announced his departure from GMA News within days of the report, saying that he wants to jump into the ‘next level’ of public service. But he was not the only news personality to be mentioned as a possible Senate candidate.

In a recent Pulse Asia survey, PTV-4 news anchor Erwin Tulfo was listed in the top 12 of potential top candidates for a seat in the Senate. So far, Erwin has yet to comment on the matter.

Journalists running for public office is nothing new in the Philippines. Perhaps one can look at the two most successful journalists-turned-politicians of the recent past.

Noli de Castro, the ‘Kabayan’ of primetime television news, ran as Senator and won in 2001. Three years later, he became then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s running-mate for Vice President and became victorious, serving for another six years before resuming his career as a news anchor.

Another ABS-CBN News alumnus, Loren Legarda, also ran for a Senate seat in 1998 and won. She has since earned another two terms at the Senate in 2007 and 2013.

But not all journalists were destined for political office. Jay Sonza, for instance, twice tried to run for Senator but failed to earn a seat each time.

That said, any journalist who enters the world of politics, particularly in a highly-scrutinized position such as the Senate, must be well-rehearsed to handle the demands of the campaign and their role if elected. If they do not have what it takes, chances are they will not get the majority votes from the masses.

The election period is still over a year away, so there is a lot of time for the likes of Jiggy Manicad and Erwin Tulfo to consider the risks and rewards of the political arena. Good luck, not just with them, but also to any journalist who want to join the bandwagon.

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Defying Father Time: Tina Monzon-Palma’s Return to The World Tonight

There is somewhat of a renewed vibe within ‘The World Tonight’.

In early January, viewers were surprised when broadcast legend Tina Monzon-Palma returned from her lengthy sabbatical to resume her duties as anchor of ‘The World Tonight’. It was as if she never left the confines of the ABS-CBN News Channel; after all, the network continued to feature Tina in their station IDs in spite of her absence.

But for the first time since Angelo Castro Jr.’s death six years ago, Tina would have a full-time co-anchor on her side.

That co-anchor was Tony Velasquez, who had been promoted to the position in 2017 and had been anchoring the newscast by himself in Tina’s absence. The two were no strangers to each other; Tony having previously handled some of the national and world news segments for several years.

Getting a partner of Tony’s caliber helped alleviate the pressure off of Tina’s back. Not only that, with ‘The World Tonight’ having cut its running time back to 30 minutes, Tina was no longer required to do the heavy lifting.

Still, there were some occasions in which she stuttered in the middle of a newscast, which is perhaps an obvious excuse for an aging news anchor like her. Regardless, Tina still possesses a sharp mind harnessed through years of experience, but at this point of her career, even she cannot prevent the ravages of time.

While Tina did return to ‘The World Tonight’, she did not resume her position as host of ‘Talkback’. Instead, the show was given on a full-time basis to Karmina Constantino, with Christian Esguerra as the substitute in her absence.

Given her age, it was only the right thing for Tina to just focus on ‘The World Tonight’. But for loyal viewers who have missed her immeasurable presence on the desk, it was worth the price of admission.

It remains to be seen if Tina Monzon-Palma can still be able to hold her fort amid a youth movement in Philippine broadcast news. But as long as someone of her caliber is present and willing to pass the torch to the future, everything will be just fine.

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