news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Revisiting GMA News TV and Its Epic Failures on SONA Day

This is already becoming a habit.

For GMA News TV, their perceived indifference in important news coverage is undeniable. This was none more apparent than on the day the President of the Philippines delivers his State of the Nation Address.

In almost every year since the network rebranded from QTV in 2011, the tendency for GMA News TV is that they don’t always get involved in the SONA in more ways than one. Whenever the fourth Monday of July comes, all the network does is to air regular programming as if nothing important happens.

For instance, President Rodrigo Duterte’s speech this year started at 5:17 p.m. In the meantime, GMA News TV aired ‘Quick Response Team’ in the midst of the SONA (see video below).

It is understandable that GMA management wants to focus more on Channel 7 when it comes to live coverage of the SONA. But what the management do not realize is the overall purpose of GMA News TV (and of GMA News for that matter), which in the years since its launch has been largely neglected due to extracurricular activities not related to news coverage.

Considering that its rivals from Mother Ignacia (ANC/DZMM TeleRadyo), Shaw Boulevard (CNN Philippines) and Reliance (One News) worked a more extensive analysis on the day of the SONA, it is disgraceful to see GMA News TV stand pat and do almost nothing. It is as if they never wanted to be a news channel in the first place.

Perhaps if GMA News TV becomes a cable channel instead of going to free TV like they do now, such issues would have been mitigated. Such an arrangement would have allowed the channel to go 24/7, use English as the main language and cater to upper class audiences.

Unfortunately, the station is stuck on VHF channel 11 and can only play second banana to channel 7, another VHF station. And to make matters worse, GMA doesn’t even own the former due to broadcast restrictions; ZOE continues to own the channel while GMA only leases airtime.

If they are really that disinterested to remain a news channel, they can just rebrand back to QTV or become GMA+, a secondary entertainment channel of the mother network. Or GMA can just break their lease on Channel 11 and allow ZOE to move Light back to its original channel.

In many ways, GMA News TV is an undependable channel for all things news. What GMA did to this channel is so unglorifying that their boasting as the ‘no. 1 news channel’ does not make sense at all.

And on this SONA day, this channel simply failed to deliver when it mattered most. Shame on them.

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Epic Fail: GMA Airs Teleseryes on SONA Day

It was mostly memorable State of the Nation Address for President Rodrigo Duterte.

The speech lasted a better part of two hours, nearly half of which deviated from the original script and contained some profanity. Most major and minor Philippine television and radio networks went all out to deliver the most comprehensive wall-to-wall coverage of the SONA.

Unfortunately, there is one network that failed to take the SONA seriously. Enter GMA Channel 7.

While most networks were busy dealing with Duterte’s State of the Nation Address, GMA simply stood pat and did virtually nothing. From 2:30 to 4:15 p.m., they aired afternoon teleseryes ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’ on the day of the SONA, an uncharacteristic deviation from more recent years.

Consequentially, when the time to air the actual SONA arrived, ‘Haplos’ was cut short 15 minutes in. After that, Pia Arcangel, not Mike Enriquez, Mel Tiangco and Vicky Morales, was at the scene to present a somewhat brief pre-speech and post-speech report of the SONA.

If that is not enough for Felipe Gozon and company, it was sister station GMA News TV that actually picked up the slack. Channel 11’s coverage, which was anchored by Jessica Soho and Arnold Clavio, was a redemption of sorts for the network after their inability to air an extensive coverage of the SONA the past two years.

Overall, GMA’s decision to air teleseryes on SONA day came back to haunt them. The network’s programming organizers underestimated the SONA’s unpredictable nature, as evidenced by the fact that the SONA ended well before 6:30 p.m.

As a result of the SONA’s lengthy duration, Monday’s episode of ‘Haplos’ was left unfinished, and it remains to be seen if GMA will reair that very episode in full later today. Had they become aware of its unpredictability, they could have preempted all of their afternoon teleseryes and devote themselves to the SONA instead of leaving one of them incomplete.

In the end, GMA’s latest gaffe should be a harsh lesson for everyone involved. One can only hope that they will learn from this mistake and do the right thing come the 2018 State of the Nation Address.

Otherwise, expect more of the same jokes from critics and haters alike. That said, good luck GMA in correcting this failure.

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