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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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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drama, entertainment, Korea, Philippines, television

Legend of the Blue Sea to Reair on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida

Another Koreanovela rerun will take place on ABS-CBN this week.

Beginning Monday, ‘Legend of the Blue Sea’ will take over the timeslot of ‘Weightlifting Fairy’ on the network’s Primetime Bida block. The Koreanovela previously aired from May 8 to July 14 on the Kapamilya Gold block.

With this announcement, ABS-CBN’s slate of Koreanovelas now consist entirely of reruns. In an ironic twist of fate, ‘Legend of the Blue Sea’ was succeeded by the rerun of ‘Love in the Moonlight’, and now the two reairing series share the spotlight.

‘Legend of the Blue Sea’ stars Korean pop star Lee Min-ho and Jun Ji-hyun, with a story centering on a con artist and a mermaid who traveled across the ocean to find him. The series earned six SBS Drama Awards, spawned a soundtrack album and aired in various countries around the world.

Although the initial run of ‘Legend of the Blue Sea’ was a success in the ratings, the series faced some obstacles. Since it was assigned to Kapamilya Gold’s 5:00 p.m. ‘death slot’, only a few select areas received the Koreanovela largely due to ABS-CBN Regional’s ‘TV Patrol’.

To make matters worse, the 9:00 a.m. next-day airing of ‘Legend of the Blue Sea’ in these affected areas was often preempted due to the 2017 NBA Playoffs last May and June. The end result were skipped episodes that left some viewers with a bitter taste in their mouths.

For the most part, it was a good thing for ABS-CBN to reair ‘Legend of the Blue Sea’ on primetime to benefit those affected by the preemptions. After all, the series is too popular and too good to be interrupted, and they owed these viewers every single episode of it.

Still, for those who have watched every single episode of ‘Legend of the Blue Sea’, is it worth a second look? Probably, but considering the fervent fanaticism of Filipino Koreanovela fans, ‘Legend of the Blue Sea’ truly deserves another go-round.

‘Legend of the Blue Sea’ airs after ‘A Love to Last’ on ABS-CBN Primetime Bida.

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drama, entertainment, Korea, Philippines, television

In 150 Words: Weightlifting Fairy Finale on ABS-CBN

Short and sweet.

This week will officially close the book on the ABS-CBN Koreanovela ‘Weightlifting Fairy’. Starring Lee Sung-kyung, Nam Joo-hyuk, Lee Jae-yoon and Kyung Soo-jin, the series first aired on Monday, July 10, and will finish with around 40 episodes when it’s all said and done.

One of the Philippines’ most highly anticipated Koreanovelas and one of the most successful Korean series ever, ‘Weightlifting Fairy’ tells the story of struggling weightlifter Kim Bok-joo who fell in love with swimmer Jung Joon-hyung. However, Bok-joo was soon charmed by Joon-hyung’s brother Jung Jae-hyi, and the chase for both love for work and love for someone is on.

Like ‘Love in the Moonlight’ and ‘Legend of the Blue Sea’, the success of ‘Weightlifting Fairy’ could result in the series getting reaired on ABS-CBN in the near future. But even without an impending rerun, Koreanovela fans should be satisfied with how ‘Weightlifting Fairy”s story turned out.

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entertainment, game show, news, Philippines, public affairs, television, variety show

GMA’s Own 5:00 P.M. Regional Programming Issue

ABS-CBN is not the only major television network with a regional programming problem.

Archrival GMA also endures its fair share of issues when it comes to regional programs. Similar to what ABS-CBN experiences, GMA’s biggest concern is at the 5:00 p.m. slot where regional news programs are aired in the provinces in lieu of shows relayed straight from Metro Manila.

Just last Monday, GMA’s Mindanao-based channels began to air a new regional newscast titled ‘One Mindanao’. The program is anchored by longtime Mindanao-based GMA anchors Tek Ocampo, Sarah Hilomen-Velasco and Real Soroche, and is aired on weekdays at 5:00 p.m.

Like ‘Balitang Amianan’ (Dagupan and Ilocos) and ‘Balitang Bisdak’ (Cebu), ‘One Mindanao’ preempts the first 30-40 minutes of ‘Wowowin’, the GMA afternoon game show hosted by Willie Revillame. But as far as GMA is concerned, this was just a minor inconvenience.

Consider the following factors:

  1. Most GMA regional networks are now mere relay outlets following the closure of most stations and the layoff of its employees.
  2. ‘Wowowin’ is still aired after the newscasts, thus no need to reair the show the following morning.
  3. ‘Wowowin’ more often than not beats an ABS-CBN Koreanovela (only a few relay areas receive such programs due to regional ‘TV Patrol’) in the ratings game regardless of either Kantar or AGB Nielsen.

With that in mind, it was clear to GMA that they are undeterred about the overall programming disparity between Greater Manila Area and regional areas. However, with the entry of ‘One Mindanao’ in the Mindanao area, they now have every reason to worry since ‘Wowowin”s audience will be reduced significantly.

Issues among ABS-CBN and GMA’s regional network programs are in dire need of a resolution. The 5:00 p.m. slot, usually a haven for regional networks to produce their newscasts, is one example of what each network needs to do to make things all the more parallel.

But since GMA currently has less regional stations than ABS-CBN, their own concern may be revisited once they decide to resuscitate some of these stations. For now, GMA can only hope that their regional networks’ standing will be improved with each step.

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drama, entertainment, Korea, Philippines, television

Love in the Moonlight Rerun Adds to ABS-CBN’s Death Slot Problems

The mess that is ABS-CBN’s 5:00 p.m. weekday slot continues.

Beginning today, the Kapamilya network will re-air the Koreanovela ‘Love in the Moonlight’ in its so-called ‘death slot’. The series originally aired on Primetime Bida from March 6 to May 5, 2017, spanning 43 episodes.

Unlike its original run which was seen in every household in the country, ‘Love in the Moonlight”s rebroadcast will only be seen in Metro Manila, select regional areas and on digital, cable and satellite subscription services. The rest of the country will receive regional versions of ‘TV Patrol’ while the Koreanovela airs at 9:30 a.m. the next day.

The problems surrounding ABS-CBN’s 5:00 p.m. slot has been well-documented in this blog. While ‘TV Patrol”s regional versions are only a part of the issue, there are other concerns that jeopardize this timeslot.

As stated earlier, programs that are affected by the broadcast of regional ‘TV Patrol’ are aired the following morning at around 9:00 or 9:30 a.m. Unfortunately, not all shows were aired in full.

In the last two Junes, both ‘We Will Survive’ and ‘Legend of the Blue Sea’ saw numerous episodes preempted due to the NBA Finals. To make matters worse, those preempted episodes were never aired at all in ABS-CBN’s regional stations, leaving non-iWanTV subscribers perplexed and unsatisfied

If ABS-CBN were smart enough to realize these issues, they would have done these three things:

  1. Air ‘O Shopping’ as permanent filler.
  2. Bring News and Current Affairs shows back to the 5:00 p.m. slot (with a replay after ‘Bandila’ to satisfy the rest of the country).
  3. Produce a Metro Manila version of ‘TV Patrol’.

But as it stands, ABS-CBN is simply too stubborn to resist change in its approach. They somehow rectified that with a rerun of the Koreanovela ‘Love in the Moonlight’ (as reruns are considered filler), but still, it would mean sacrificing success in favor of short-term fixes.

There is still time for ABS-CBN to correct whatever issues they face every weekday afternoon. That said, viewers can only hope for the best, no matter how slim it may be.

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