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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action, comedy, drama, entertainment, fantasy, movies, Philippines, suspense, television

Blurring the Lines: Is CineMo Finally Ready to Accept Drama and Romance Films?

The movie ‘Ikaw na Sana’ was aired on CineMo as part of the CineKomedya block, but was classified as a romantic drama film. (Photo courtesy of Video48 and Viva Films)

Talk about a tone shift.

CineMo, an ABS-CBN digital TV channel, has been on the airwaves for the past seven years. However, its content has stayed basically the same, airing comedy, action, suspense, sexy and fantasy films from the get-go.

But in the past few weeks, movies from the romance and drama genres began to air on CineMo as well. Such films were aired on the channel’s CineKomedya block, but for whatever reason they do not feel like comedy films at all.

Take for instance the recent airing of the film ‘Ikaw na Sana’. The movie was an adaptation of the television series that aired on GMA some 20 years ago, and it starred Bobby Andrews and Angelu de Leon alongside Gladys Reyes and Jake Roxas.

Unfortunately for CineMo, ‘Ikaw na Sana’ was labeled as a romantic drama film. And considering the film did not have any funny jokes or comedic bits, it was not appropriate for it to air on the CineKomedya block.

There were also other films that aired on CineKomedya that do not appear to be humorous at all. Some of these films foreshadowed the modern romantic comedy drama series that air on ABS-CBN these days, but for the most part tears were shed more than laughs.

With that in mind, is it the perfect time for CineMo to accept romance and drama films to the fold? Considering that they have been repeatedly airing most of the same films over and over again, perhaps it is the right time to do so.

CineMo could launch new drama and romance blocks titled CineDrama and CineRomansya on timeslots normally reserved to action and comedy flicks. That way, films from the romance and drama genres can be aired without any confusion and concern from the viewer.

Not only that, CineMo will have a deeper reservoir thanks to these films. That said, having romance and drama films on the channel does help in attracting the young and feminine audience more, even though the channel is more catered to working-class males.

The ball is now on CineMo’s court to score. One can only hope that the channel will dig deep and go beyond their comfort zone with these tearjerkers.

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Philippines, Sports, television, United States

Tipid Mode: ABS-CBN’s Call of NBA Finals No Longer On-Site in Recent Years

Talk about cutting costs.

In case no one has paid attention yet, the Filipino-language commentary of the 2018 NBA Finals on ABS-CBN Channel 2 is currently held inside the network’s studios in Quezon City. No, not in Oakland, California or in Cleveland, Ohio.

Unless you’re TJ Manotoc who made the trip to the U.S. alone for the past five years (this year’s Finals will be his first since getting the call to join ABS-CBN’s North America Bureau), the commentators have stayed home for the most part. And there are reasons why they were no longer required to take the trip stateside to call the Finals.

First off, there are concerns surrounding budget. Considering the network’s long-term vision of digitalization, anything that involves plane tickets, hotel reservations, visas and working permits for at least a three-week trip may be too much of a burden for ABS-CBN.

It also did not help that the NBA returned to a 2-2-1-1-1 setup for the Finals starting in 2014. Going back and forth to different cities between Games 4-7 only adds to the cost.

Next, ABS-CBN is on a tight schedule. They made the NBA Finals available in both Channel 2 and S+A (and in different commentary languages) for this particular reason because the former has a strict schedule to follow, whereas the latter has greater flexibility with it.

In the case of overtime games like what happened in Game 1 last Friday, Channel 2 immediately ended its broadcast within minutes of the final buzzer in order to make way for ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’. This means that the local commentators would have no choice but to immediately bid farewell rather than dive deeper into the game.

And finally, ABS-CBN changed its commentary approach in the Finals in order to appeal to the masses. Which is why, whether traditional basketball viewers liked it or not, they hired Benjie Paras to join alongside Ronnie Magsanoc and Boom Gonzalez in order to describe the game in a simpler manner to fit the average Filipino’s needs.

Sending this trio stateside may be awkward to begin with considering their more liberal and oftentimes unorthodox style of commentary. But they were promoted to call the Finals for a reason: to make the NBA game easier for Filipino masses to understand.

With all due respect to the likes of Quinito Henson and Andy Jao (who were the first to actually call an NBA Finals direct from the U.S.), times are really changing. And ABS-CBN’s rather radical decision to stay home than call the Finals stateside may be their wisest decision yet considering their plans for the long-term.

People may not like this new approach but there is no other option. ABS-CBN is thinking about the future, and viewers must understand it.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television, variety show

Tawag ng Tanghalan 2 Finale Scores Big, But Not Big Enough

Talk about a complete turnaround.

Saturday’s ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ finale on ABS-CBN’s ‘It’s Showtime’ scored a whopping 31% in the Kantar ratings. On the other hand, GMA’s ‘Eat Bulaga’ earned a paltry 9.5% as it tried to keep up with Seen-A-Like, Sing-A-Like, Guhit Bulaga and other promotional gimmicks.

The finale of ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ saw 16-year-old Janine Berdin outlast five other aspiring singers to win P2 million, a house and lot and a management contract among other prizes. Her final piece saw her belt out a medley of hits from Bamboo, which immediately trended on social media and received millions of views on YouTube.

Despite the blowout win, ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan”s 31% rating was still a far cry from the 40.1% rating of ‘Eat Bulaga”s Sa Tamang Panahon in 2015. Nevertheless, ‘It’s Showtime’ should be more than satisfied with the finale’s ratings considering the segment’s consistently strong performance since its 2016 debut.

For now, though, ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ will not continue after a run of over two years (this includes two adult editions and a kids’ edition). Instead, ‘It’s Showtime’ will devote its time to a couple of other segments such as Miss Q&A and Mini Me.

But without ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ to hold the fort, it remains to be seen if ‘It’s Showtime’ will remain a winner despite the temporary hiatus of its most popular segment. That said, an imposing challenge awaits this noontime show as it tries to pick up the pieces post-‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’.

As for ‘Eat Bulaga’, there is nothing to worry about its poor ratings that day. Considering the show has no chance of pulling off the upset, the best that they did was to reveal a couple of old tricks to satisfy its loyal fanbase (being a show that is nearing 39 years old, it looks like they have nothing left to prove).

Oh, and one more thing: stop putting Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza together once and for all. With all due respect to AlDub Nation, they have outlived their usefulness as a love team (in fact, Maine already said that she and Alden were only friends and not in a relationship) and they should be better off thriving on their own.

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hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs

Going National: Thoughts on the Potential of the Unified MOR Brand

ABS-CBN’s MOR (My Only Radio) FM stations are set to become one national entity.

In a recent press conference led by the DJs of the flagship MOR 101.9 (DWRR-FM) Manila station, they announced that MOR 101.9 and its 16 regional affiliates will join forces together to form MOR Philippines. Via ABS-CBN PR:

“Under MOR Philippines, 17 MOR stations will unite to bring listeners from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao one vibe and one sound.”

The press release cited the MOR stations’ strong performance in the ratings as the main reason for the launch of MOR Philippines. For instance, the Manila flagship MOR 101.9 got 33% of the average audience share among all Mega Manila stations in the recent Kantar Media survey.

So what are the possibilities that lie ahead for MOR Philippines? Here are three potential plans for the network.

Simulcast of MOR 101.9 Shows in Other Stations

Simulcasting a Manila radio program in the provinces is nothing new in the Philippines. In fact, on a few occasions, MOR 101.9 sister station DZMM 630 simulcasts some of its newscasts to other ABS-CBN-owned AM stations in the country.

The unified MOR Philippines could also do the same thing on some of its programs. For instance, ‘Dear MOR’ and ‘Heartbeats with Chacha’ are very popular shows in 101.9, and putting them on a nationwide scale via simulcast will only grow their audience further.

Improving the Standard of MOR Provincial Stations

While MOR stations in the provinces performed well in their own right, there is still a need for improvement, especially since MOR Manila is the only one with social media handles throughout. ABS-CBN, being the darlings of social media and the master of constant innovation, could do just that.

Providing each MOR provincial station with its own Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts could help broaden their fanbase further. Not only that, upgrading its facilities and strengthening its reach may also enable MOR to penetrate beyond other far-flung areas.

Same Plugs, Same Playlist

In order to live up to the ‘one vibe and one sound’ motto of MOR Philippines, each of the 17 stations will need to have something in common. This means a more ‘national’ station ID for all stations and a more consistent playlist to boot.

Such a reboot will take some time to develop. But when done correctly, MOR 101.9 and its affiliates should flourish with a much-improved beat.

MOR Philippines will be one hell of a rebuilding project that ABS-CBN’s radio division will have to take. It will be interesting to see how this unification of all MOR stations will pay off, so good luck.

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entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

A Filipino Viewer’s Guide to the 2018 NBA Finals

Cavs and Warriors, again.

An unprecedented fourth consecutive meeting in the NBA Finals awaits the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. On one side, the Warriors look to seal their status as a modern-day dynasty, while on the other, the Cavaliers attempt to once again even this long-running saga.

For this year, Filipino viewers will have three different options to watch the NBA Finals. Here are the following ways to experience the Finals.

ABS-CBN Sports

Both ABS-CBN Channel 2 and S+A will simultaneously air the NBA Finals live. Viewers on Channel 2 will hear Filipino commentary hosted by Boom Gonzalez, Ronnie Magsanoc and Benjie Paras, while S+A will use English commentary from ESPN in the U.S., anchored by Mike Breen, Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy and Doris Burke.

Much like more recent NBA Finals broadcasts, Channel 2’s Filipino commentators will call the games straight from the ABS-CBN headquarters in Quezon City. In addition, TJ Manotoc will file reports on-site on news regarding the championship series.

Basketball TV and NBA Premium

The NBA Finals will also be delivered live on Basketball TV and NBA Premium, with both channels using English commentary from ESPN. In addition, BTV and NBA Premium will air extensive pre-game, post-game and off-day coverage of the Finals via NBA TV.

Basketball TV and NBA Premium are currently exclusive to Cignal and Cablelink subscribers only. The two channels are also available on digital TV via the EasyTV digibox (P2999 for purchase and P999 for renewal of subscription), but only for Metro Manila residents.

NBA League Pass

Basketball fans on the go can also watch the NBA Finals on their mobile devices via NBA League Pass. NBALP can be accessed via the NBA Game Time App on Google Play or Apple Store.

For more information on NBA League Pass, visit the NBA official website. For a step-by-step guide on subscribing to NBA League Pass, click the following links for Globe, Smart, PLDT and SkyCable subscribers.

If the last three meetings were of any indication, then expect another compelling battle between the Warriors and Cavs. Still, it remains to be seen if LeBron James will be able to sustain his seemingly one-man act against a deeper and stronger Warriors squad that has won two of the first three championship series.

Either way, NBA fans are in for a treat. Good luck.

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