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Philippine Cable and Digital Channels Face Issue of Redundancy

Hero is one of several cable channels in the Philippines that was shut down this year due to redundancy in content. (Logo courtesy of Creative Programs Inc.)

Redundancy has become a common theme for cable and digital channels in the Philippines.

In the first half of 2018 alone, viewers witnessed a closure of numerous cable channels in the country. On the local side of the spectrum, there was Hero, TAG, ABS-CBN Regional Channel, CT and 2nd Avenue, and on the international front there was Toonami.

There were also some rebrandings and resurrections of several channels as well. CPI made LIGA the second coming of Balls in time for the FIFA World Cup (replacing ARC, TAG and Hero in the process) while rebranding Lifestyle into Metro Channel, and then the MVP Group converted Bloomberg Philippines into One News.

So why do these things happen to our beloved cable and digital channels? The most cited reason is financial constraints, but it goes deeper than that.

When two channels air similar content with one another, redundancy happens. This is exactly the case that befell the likes of Hero, TAG, CT, 2nd Avenue and Toonami because they feature similar themes and genres with one or several channels.

Hero and Toonami, for example, became victims of cord-cutters and other channels such as Cartoon Network, Boomerang, AniPlus, Animax and even Yey!, which show some anime and action series as well. Same with CT and 2nd Avenue who share some of the programming with sister channels Jack TV and ETC.

Going further back, CPI shut down Velvet in 2014 and moved some of its content over to Lifestyle. Four years later, Lifestyle was rebranded into Metro Channel and is now essentially a second coming of Velvet.

There is also LIGA, which was launched for the FIFA World Cup but is expected to face similar redundancy issues as Balls since its only other source of content are events that air on ABS-CBN S+A. Finally, the rebrand from Bloomberg Philippines to One News has made AksyonTV (a former news channel-turned-T5N clone) redundant, something the MVP Group must address moving forward.

However, redundancy is not limited to cable channels alone. Yey!, for example, has a movie block called ‘Kid Sine’, but some of the films shown here are also aired on sister channel CineMo (under the CineFantasya and CineKomedya blocks).

Yey! also airs reruns of ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids’ while CineMo rebroadcasts ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Bagani’ on weekends. Such reruns should have been exclusive to Jeepney TV.

These are just some of the examples that face cable and digital channels today. Considering the competitive nature of this business, trying to stay unique and distinct in terms of content is not as easy as it looks.

So the best that these channels can do right now is to remain innovative and wide-eyed to the audience while keeping themselves afloat. This juggling act may be difficult, but when done properly, they can stay on the air for a long period of time.

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Analyzing the New ABS-CBN Regional Channel

The new ABS-CBN Regional Channel gives viewers access to virtually all programs of the Regional Network Group in any dialect. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

Living up to the Kapamilya moniker, the ABS-CBN family of networks recently added a new channel.

On August 1, the ABS-CBN Regional Channel was officially launched. The new channel’s premise is simple: it is a 24/7 cable channel that consists of programs straight from the ABS-CBN Regional Network Group.

Programs that air on the ABS-CBN Regional Channel include:

  • TV Patrol
  • Bagong Umaga Bagong Balita
  • Maayong Buntag Kapamilya
  • Agri Tayo Dito
  • MagTVna
  • Kapamilya Mas Winner Ka
  • Special events such as local festivals
  • MOR FM radio programs
  • ABS-CBN AM radio programs

In essence, the channel should benefit Metro Manila and other regional viewers who originate from their home provinces. Those who want to watch the latest news and information from their home town can watch the ABS-CBN Regional Channel in any place and any time.

All programs on the ABS-CBN Regional Channel will continue to air on their respective regional networks and in their original timeslots. That said, the channel will only complement rather than replace the entire Regional Network Group by accessing content from each station.

Even though ABS-CBN has already established a channel for the sake of its regional viewers, they still need to solve a long-standing issue regarding the need for unified programming. Some programs of the ABS-CBN Regional Network Group continue to air in place of select shows that would otherwise air in Metro Manila and other relay stations.

That said, it is the responsibility of ABS-CBN to give every region access to all of its programs in concert to that of Metro Manila. Though the ABS-CBN Regional Channel is a good start, it is still not enough, and resolving this issue of preemption and next-day broadcasts is a priority that ABS-CBN and its regional viewers should agree upon.

The ABS-CBN Regional Channel is available on SkyCable channel 4 (for Metro Manila subscribers), SkyDirect channel 14 (for nationwide subscribers), iWanTV, SkyOnDemand and select cable providers.

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