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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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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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Philippines, Sports, television

Ruining the PVL: ABS-CBN’s Coverage Setup Leaves Fans Angry

It was more of the same result.

The second season of the Premier Volleyball League picked up from where the first season left off, with ABS-CBN Sports airing only a few select games on S+A while leaving the rest of the schedule to livestream. After only a week, however, fans have had enough and voiced their negative sentiments on social media.

This past weekend, the PVL held its games in Tuguegarao featuring Pocari-Air Force Lady Warriors, PayMaya High Flyers, Creamline Cool Smashers and BanKo Perlas. While the four games involving the four teams were compelling and exciting for the fans in attendance, those who watched the game online were dissatisfied over the broadcast.

Saturday’s Pocari-Air Force vs. PayMaya and Creamline vs. Banko livestreams encountered numerous delays and power interruptions that left volleyball fans seething with anger. In response, ABS-CBN Sports Production head Vince Rodriguez explained the motive behind the setup before ending with a seemingly positive remark.

Emphasis on the word ‘discussing’ because for the time being games of the PVL will still be aired only on livestream while talks for more TV coverage are in progress. Case in point: the matches that will take place later today.

As for the schedule on S+A, the network will broadcast a replay of UAAP women’s volleyball as it was the case last weekend. Talk about not moving on.

Suffice to say, the PVL is back to a familiar situation when they were still known as the Shakey’s V-League, in which it encountered TV coverage issues. ABS-CBN Sports was supposed to be the league’s savior when it arrived three years ago, but instead of making the league more exposed to the public, it only worsened its perception among volleyball fans.

Yes the league is proud to have Alyssa Valdez and Michele Gumabao as its standard-bearers, but unless ABS-CBN Sports does something drastic to appease its fans, the PVL will fall behind the shadows of its younger but emerging rival in the Philippine SuperLiga. The time is definitely now for ABS-CBN to take the PVL very seriously and stop pretending to be its pauper.

If this promise is not fulfilled, it might be high time for volleyball fans to switch to the PSL instead, where television and livestream coverage are limitless. Your call, ABS-CBN Sports.

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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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Philippines, Sports, television

Postmortem: UAAP Season 80 on ABS-CBN S+A

Another UAAP season has closed.

For the most part, UAAP Season 80 was a success. Some new champions were crowned and a few reigning titleholders were able to defend their gold, while new stars emerged and others bowed out.

As for the coverage on ABS-CBN S+A, there were some hits and misses as well. Here is a look back at what the network was able to do in Season 80.

New Upfront

The third season of ‘UAAP Upfront’ eschewed the live pregame presentation in favor of a straight-up lifestyle program dedicated to showcasing the lives of UAAP athletes away from their respective sports. It also aired exclusively during weekends, which helped mitigate whatever production costs S+A endures during live broadcasts.

UAAP Insiders

During the men’s basketball season, S+A added an extra on-air talent known as a UAAP Insider, featuring former courtside reporters Ganiel Krishnan, Angelique Manto, Ira Pablo and Pauline Versoza. Unfortunately, the addition of a UAAP Insider cut some exposure away from the new batch of courtside reporters, and this role was eventually cut prior to the women’s volleyball tournament.

Courtside Reporters

This season’s batch featured no holdovers and the first to feature men since Season 74. However, Adamson representative Nicole Sumagui was dismissed for poor performance and was replaced by predecessor Stef Monce for the rest of the men’s basketball tournament, and Armand Hernandez during the women’s volleyball tournament.

This year’s cast also featured Martie Bautista (Ateneo), Eileen Shi (La Salle), Sydney Crespo (FEU), Miguel Dypiangco (NU), Migs Gomez (UE), Agatha Uvero (UP) and Tonie Moreno (UST). Performance-wise it was satisfactory, but if not for the UAAP Insiders their potential would have been unleashed further.

The Entry of LIGA

Late January saw the launch of LIGA, the new cable channel of ABS-CBN’s Creative Programs Inc. This enabled ABS-CBN Sports to go deeper into UAAP live coverage as it aired the first game of men’s volleyball doubleheaders (plus second game of Sunday doubleheaders) as well as the finals of the softball and baseball tournaments.

Lack of First Semester Coverage

But while the second semester UAAP tournaments were extensively covered by ABS-CBN Sports, the first semester tournaments still leave a lot to be desired. The most noteworthy omission is women’s basketball, which for the most part played on the same day as their men’s basketball counterparts, yet only the finals were aired on S+A.

With the entry of LIGA, perhaps the time is now for the UAAP women’s basketball tournament to be taken seriously. Your call, ABS-CBN.

Overall, UAAP Season 80 broadcasts was good, but still not great. Yes, the slogan for the season was ‘Go for Great’, but in terms of coverage, it was still not above standard as any UAAP fan would want.

With Season 81 taking place in a few months’ time, there are still some kinks with which ABS-CBN Sports must address. That said, it will be interesting to see how the network will change its approach come next season.

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Philippines, Sports, television

FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup to Air on ESPN5

The Philippines’ premier preseason tournament for college basketball has found a new home.

When the 12th edition of the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup kicks off on April 21, it will have a new television partner. For this season, ESPN5, via T5N and AksyonTV, will broadcast a select number of games plus the entirety of the playoffs.

Here is the game schedule of the upcoming FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup. All games will take place at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

All seniors teams of the UAAP and NCAA will participate in the tournament. However, the biggest surprise came when the cadets of the Gilas Pilipinas national team announced that it will join the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup, with each of its games to be treated as official matches and not mere exhibitions.

This will mark the first time that ESPN5 will cover live Philippine college basketball games since the rebrand last year. Prior to that, the then-Sports5 was home to the NCAA seniors basketball tournament from Seasons 88 to 90 (2012-15); this does not include the 2016 CESAFI which aired on AksyonTV but produced by VIVA.

It will also mark the return of the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup to Philippine television for the first time since 2016. Last year none of its games were aired on television and were streamed live on Facebook instead.

While the games featuring the Gilas cadets will headline ESPN5’s coverage, it will also take a look at the legendary Ateneo-La Salle rivalry that will have new recruits getting their first taste of this long-running saga. In addition, old NCAA rivalries between San Beda and La Salle, and Ateneo and San Beda, will also be aired.

As for non-televised games, these are expected to air on the FilOil Flying V Sports’ Facebook page. Highlights of these games will also be featured on SportsCenter Philippines.

The FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup will run from April 21 to June 24.

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