news, Philippines, public affairs, religion, television

‘Unreliable’ News TV Strikes Again

GMA’s coverage of Pope Francis in the Philippines only utilized its main station Channel 7, and little of its sister station GMA News TV Channel 11. (Title card courtesy of GMA Network)

Once again, GMA News TV is in the hot seat.

The recent visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines was one of the most highly anticipated in recent history, and a majority of free TV and cable stations in the country were there to extensively cover the event. And yet here is News TV, who, other than a few sporadic updates on the Pope’s visit, was a virtual no-show in the event of such high magnitude.

What they aired instead were their regular programs, that of reruns and old movies. This was in contrast to rival free TV sister stations AksyonTV and ABS-CBN Sports + Action, who managed to cover the event in full even though they were simulcast from their parent networks.

The lack of involvement on the part of News TV is inexcusable. Even though News TV and its parent GMA Network are four channels apart on the VHF band, there should have been a way to give News TV a heavier role, even if it means simulcasting from the parent network.

News TV’s simulcast of Channel 7’s coverage would have benefited viewers, especially those with signal problems on the parent network. It also would have helped enhance News TV’s own reputation, which has been ruined by their radical programming decisions.

Instead, the folks at GMA News decided to use the main Channel 7 in their coverage, leaving News TV useless for the duration of the coverage except for a few minutes of news updates.

So why claim the station as ‘News TV’ when they did not even become involved in this event? And why are they still airing movies and reruns from a previous incarnation? This doesn’t make sense at all.

In the end, News TV’s inability to make their presence felt in a big event like Pope Francis’ visit will continue to haunt them. Sooner or later, GMA executives will need to make a decision regarding News TV, otherwise it will remain in limbo for the foreseeable future.

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entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television, United States

Decision Time for the NBA on ABS-CBN

The 2014 NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat will be shown on free TV’s ABS-CBN Channel 2, in the final year of its 3 1/2 year co-production deal with Solar Sports.

The NBA Finals begin Friday morning. And for ABS-CBN Sports, this will be their last chance to show NBA fans in the Philippines that they deserve to air the games live on free TV.

This year’s NBA Finals will mark the end of a 3 1/2 year co-production agreement between Solar Sports and ABS-CBN Sports. The agreement, signed in time for the 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend, came after erstwhile coveror RPN/Solar TV decided to rebrand into ETC.

However, the Solar/ABS-CBN alliance proved to be problematic from the beginning. The Kapamilya network was criticized for broadcasting a majority of the games on a delayed basis, something previous partner RPN rarely did. Much of the blame was centered on the games aired on Channel 2, which prioritizes more on its news and entertainment programs rather than sports events like the NBA.

In fact, in the recent NBA Finals, Monday games that begin at 8:00 am Manila time were aired on a delayed basis simply because of Kris Aquino’s lifestyle show ‘Kris TV’. Perhaps ABS-CBN does not want to risk preempting her show, or that Kris was too influential for the network. In any event, these recent decisions by ABS-CBN Sports does not sit well with most fans.

Fans have also balked at how the NBA assigns its games to its global broadcast partners. In fact, this year’s playoffs saw less compelling series such as the Indiana-Atlanta and Brooklyn-Toronto series feature prominently on Basketball TV, while the Miami Heat and some of the Western Conference series were usually given to ABS-CBN Sports. Similar complaints also took place in more recent postseasons, thanks in large part to social media.

And there is also the bad case of lack of timing and advertisement overload. Ads such as KFC, Tanduay and Master astringents have interrupted game commentary prior to tipoff or a play, before the commercial break, and after a game. Perhaps the most insulting part of ABS-CBN’s repertoire is the fact that they cut any player interviews at halftime and postgame just to show sponsored highlights or game scores.

As the NBA Finals begin this Friday, a decision needs to be made with regards to the fate of the league’s Philippine free TV coverage. ABS-CBN should be in the running for renewal, since ratings for the NBA games have been very good despite numerous complaints.

Another possible contender may be Sports5, whose open slots in the morning may be more suitable to live NBA coverage than ABS-CBN’s. And while GMA may be considered a dark-horse contender, their lack of a sports division may prevent them from even bidding for NBA rights.

For now, the NBA coverage will remain with ABS-CBN Sports, at least until the end of this year’s Finals. But a decision regarding NBA’s free TV rights in the Philippines will have to begin as soon as possible. And basketball fans can’t wait.

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action, comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

GMA News TV Needs to Get Rid of the Movies

If there is one thing to describe about GMA News TV, it’s the fact that they earned a reputation for being the most cluttered of the four major news networks in the country. And airing movies, Filipino or foreign, only add insult to injury.

This week, GMA News TV brought back its much maligned ‘Takilya Blockbusters’ movie block, featuring classic films. This time around, the movie block aired starting at 6:00 a.m., an uncharacteristic choice of hour for movies on free TV.

Honestly, it is a bad decision by News TV to air movies at 6:00 a.m. People who usually wake up at this hour always begin their day by watching the news, and for News TV to air movies in the early morning, it is a slap to the face for the network that GMA always claims to be the ‘no. 1 news network in the country’.

What made it worse is that News TV already has a poor history of replacing and replaying shows at 6:00 a.m. They attempted a hook-up with Super Radyo DZBB 594 for ‘Saksi sa Dobol B’, followed by a morning show in ‘Kape at Balita’, before making a decision to simply replay classic documentary programs. They could have simulcast ‘Unang Hirit’ in a similar way that rivals ABS-CBN News Channel and AksyonTV simulcast their VHF channel’s morning programs, but since GMA 7 is also a VHF channel, News TV wanted no part of simulcasting GMA’s morning program.

GMA News TV needs to stop airing these movies. They do not deserve to air on a news channel like News TV, and are more applicable to specialized channels like ABS-CBN Sports + Action. News TV needs to go back to what they do best: news reporting and public affairs programming, which is what their rivals are doing.

But with the way things are going, I doubt if News TV will ever eschew these movie blocks. After all, they have been suffering from an identity crisis, as they aired not only movies, but also classic programs from predecessor QTV. And as they continue to press on by making questionable programming decisions, it may just be a matter of time before GMA executives finally pull the plug on News TV.

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action, entertainment, live events, Philippines, Sports, television, United States

WrestleMania XXX on FOX; Is Raw Next?

WrestleMania XXX will be seen on FOX Philippines this Monday.

The mystery of the WrestleMania XXX broadcast rights has finally been revealed. FOX Philippines has announced that the highly-anticipated WWE pay-per-view will be carried by the said network on April 7 at a delayed time of 9:50 p.m. FOX’s announcement came a few weeks after WWE programs on ABS-CBN Sports+Action ceased its broadcast following the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.

While it was assumed that the announcement is the first step to FOX’s full acquisition of other WWE programs (e.g. Raw, NXT, Superstars), it remains to be seen whether or not they are really committed to air all WWE programs in a similar way that rival Jack TV did several years ago. After all, Jack TV used to air most, if not all WWE programs (including live pay-per-views) for several years.

FOX Philippines needs to realize that there are a lot of angry wrestling fans who were disgusted by ABS-CBN Sports’ decision to cease ties with WWE. Yes, they have WrestleMania XXX and future pay-per-views in their resume, so why not include Raw on the list? After all, it was considered the flagship program of the WWE with over 1,000 episodes in its 21-year history.

Bringing Raw (and other programs) to FOX should satisfy the demands of loyal wrestling viewers. Even though SmackDown (in its two-hour U.S. format) is a decently good program, the main storylines are typically developed and heightened on Raw, a three-hour program that involves all active WWE superstars. And by bringing the three hours of Raw to FOX Philippines (in contrast to the one-hour ‘international’ version on ABS-CBN Sports+Action), wrestling fans should be more than content to follow a wider variety of storylines as they happen.

In the meantime, good luck to FOX Philippines as they broadcast WrestleMania XXX this Monday. And for wrestling fans everywhere, there is still a glimmer of hope for Raw to be aired on the said network.

*As of this article, the only WWE programming seen on the FOX-owned network are the following: SmackDown, Main Event, Bottomline, Afterburn, and Vintage. Meanwhile, ABS-CBN Sports+Action (formerly Studio 23) had the rights to Raw, NXT, Superstars, and the pay-per-views prior to the pullout, and also aired the one-season run of Tough Enough.

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action, Philippines, Sports, television, United States

WWE Out of ABS-CBN Sports?

The Daniel Bryan vs. the Authority angle will not be seen on free TV’s ABS-CBN Sports + Action for now.

Looks like the ‘Road to WrestleMania’ ended way too soon for ABS-CBN Sports.

In an unexpected development, WWE programming was pulled out of the ABS-CBN Sports + Action channel at the beginning of March, and were replaced by either the Ultimate Fighting Championship, UEFA Champions League, Pinoy Pride and Top Rank Boxing, or the NBA. The pullout of WWE programs by ABS-CBN Sports comes in three years after Solar Entertainment’s Jack TV decided to cease airing all WWE programs.

As expected, some wrestling fans were angered by ABS-CBN’s decision to cancel its broadcast of the WWE. However, the reaction only paled in comparison to Solar’s pullout three years earlier, where an overwhelming majority of wrestling fans balked at the one-hour international format of Raw, the absence of SmackDown and Main Event (both currently airing on FOX Philippines), and the delayed broadcast of WWE pay-per-views on the Kapamilya’s UHF channel.

The absence of WWE programming on ABS-CBN Sports may have stemmed from the fact that the Vince McMahon-owned company recently established the WWE Network after the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. As many wrestling fans know, the new network is expected to carry every WWE pay-per-view beginning with WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans. Because of that, ABS-CBN Sports may find it difficult to even broadcast the upcoming WrestleMania 30 in both SkyCable and Sports + Action, considering the already complicated situation.

Should ABS-CBN Sports officially close the door on the WWE, Fox needs to step up. While the channel already has SmackDown and Main Event along with other supplementary programs like Vintage, Afterburn and Bottomline, what Fox needs at this point are both Raw and the pay-per-views in order to satisfy the demands of loyal wrestling viewers. If that happens, perhaps a return to a two or three-hour format for Raw and free live pay-per-views is in order, provided that Fox airs WWE programs on the same week as the U.S.

The loss of WWE should not be a big deal for Kapamilya viewers. After all, there is the Ultimate Fighting Championship, another form of combat sports which is just as entertaining, but without the scripted excess that is featured in professional wrestling. However, it remains to be seen whether or not free TV will once again accept the WWE.

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action, cartoon, comedy, documentaries, drama, entertainment, movies, music, Philippines, television, United States

Academy Awards Now Delayed Broadcast on Free TV

Unlike in previous years, the Oscars were not shown live on free Philippine TV. Instead it will be aired on a six-day delayed broadcast over ABS-CBN Channel 2 this Sunday.

When Studio 23 reformatted into ABS-CBN Sports + Action last January, it sacrificed a huge part of its programming. Among those purged by the new network were its broadcasts of the Academy Awards, which took place earlier today.

This year’s Academy Awards were shown live via the Lifestyle Network, which is not available on the popular P490 plan, and can only be accessed in other SkyCable subscriptions. Consequently, due to the reformat of Channel 23, it also forced ABS-CBN Channel 2 to air the Oscars, as it is commonly known, on a six-day delayed basis as part of ‘Sunday’s Best’.

Airing the Oscars live on free TV Channel 2 has had some serious consequences. First, it sacrifices its broadcast of highly-rated programs such as ‘The Singing Bee’ and ‘Be Careful with My Heart’. Second, the three-hour event would cause it to overlap with ‘It’s Showtime’. And finally, the Oscars were not as well known to lower-class Filipinos as ABS-CBN’s other weekday live events such as the Miss Universe pageant and the NBA Finals.

Having said that, it was unfortunate that this year’s Oscars never aired live on free TV, unlike before when it was possible for Studio 23 to air it. But thanks to the internet and cable TV, movie addicts were able to witness the antics of Ellen DeGeneres and the announcement of the winners. Still, it didn’t help that some movie fanatics without any access to these new technologies were unable to witness the Academy Awards earlier today.

 

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