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Before One News: A Look Back on AksyonTV, 5’s Failed Attempt at a News Channel

AksyonTV was the first 24/7 Filipino language news channel, but financial losses led to its transformation into T5N’s complement channel. (Logo courtesy of The 5 Network)

Next week will herald a new chapter for News5.

On May 28, the news division of The 5 Network (T5N), along with The Philippine Star and BusinessWorld, will launch One News, a 24/7 English language news channel exclusive to Cignal. But before the fireworks take place, here is a look back at 5’s former news channel AksyonTV.

AksyonTV was launched on February 21, 2011, and was initially billed by 5 as the first 24/7 Filipino language news channel on free TV. During its first few years of operation, AksyonTV filled its programming lineup with simulcasts from Radyo5 92.3 News FM, as well as original programs exclusive to the network and other shows that also air on then-TV5.

Over the next several years, however, AksyonTV slowly drifted away from its original purpose and was rendered irrelevant by television think-tanks. The gradual decline of AksyonTV can be attributed to the following factors:

  • Overspending

When AksyonTV was first launched the MVP Group was on a spending tear, pooling all their resources in hopes of making TV5 competitive and at par with long-time giants ABS-CBN and GMA. However, they failed to account the poor reach and infrastructure of the network, leading to financial losses and consequently, this next factor.

  • News5’s Problems

In order to cut its losses, News5 elected to cancel original AksyonTV programs and focused more on 5’s newscasts and radio programs. However, News5 was soon hampered by the departure of numerous top talents and the downsizing of its staff, affecting not only AksyonTV but also 5 overall, leading to this next factor.

  • Arrival of Sports and Entertainment Shows

The lack of any original news programming forced 5 to reformat AksyonTV into a complement channel of T5N, adding ESPN5 programs, entertainment shows and TV shopping to the menu. The change in AksyonTV’s content also led to the launch of Bloomberg Philippines, which eventually morphed into One News.

Overall, AksyonTV was not a bad attempt by News5 in terms of operating a news channel. But had the network improved its reach and infrastructure, AksyonTV might have remained competitive and viable alongside the likes of GMA News TV, DZMM TeleRadyo, CNN Philippines and the ABS-CBN News Channel.

Unfortunately, with the launch of One News next week, it is clear that AksyonTV has outlived its usefulness. One can only hope that 5 will do something about AksyonTV in the immediate future, whether it is rebranding the network or selling it to other broadcast outfits.

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Philippines, Sports, television

FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup to Air on ESPN5

The Philippines’ premier preseason tournament for college basketball has found a new home.

When the 12th edition of the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup kicks off on April 21, it will have a new television partner. For this season, ESPN5, via T5N and AksyonTV, will broadcast a select number of games plus the entirety of the playoffs.

Here is the game schedule of the upcoming FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup. All games will take place at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

All seniors teams of the UAAP and NCAA will participate in the tournament. However, the biggest surprise came when the cadets of the Gilas Pilipinas national team announced that it will join the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup, with each of its games to be treated as official matches and not mere exhibitions.

This will mark the first time that ESPN5 will cover live Philippine college basketball games since the rebrand last year. Prior to that, the then-Sports5 was home to the NCAA seniors basketball tournament from Seasons 88 to 90 (2012-15); this does not include the 2016 CESAFI which aired on AksyonTV but produced by VIVA.

It will also mark the return of the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup to Philippine television for the first time since 2016. Last year none of its games were aired on television and were streamed live on Facebook instead.

While the games featuring the Gilas cadets will headline ESPN5’s coverage, it will also take a look at the legendary Ateneo-La Salle rivalry that will have new recruits getting their first taste of this long-running saga. In addition, old NCAA rivalries between San Beda and La Salle, and Ateneo and San Beda, will also be aired.

As for non-televised games, these are expected to air on the FilOil Flying V Sports’ Facebook page. Highlights of these games will also be featured on SportsCenter Philippines.

The FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup will run from April 21 to June 24.

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In 100 Words: Old TV5 Entertainment Shows on AksyonTV

‘Ang Utol Kong Hoodlum’ is one of several classic TV5 entertainment programs that are being reaired on AksyonTV. (Photo credit: TV5)

Here is another example of how far AksyonTV has fallen.

Recently, classic programs of the defunct TV5 Entertainment division were being reaired on AksyonTV. Shows such as ‘Third Eye’, ‘Obsession’ and even ‘Ang Utol Kong Hoodlum’ were seen on the channel since November of this year due to lack of original and canned programs or live events.

This latest move is a indication of AksyonTV’s continuous decline in quality. Not even nostalgia from TV5’s competitive era can save AksyonTV from oblivion, and for a network than has sunken this far since last year, it is very humiliating.

Perhaps people should start a campaign to #SaveAksyonTV. If not, Chot Reyes should consider selling the channel.

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ASEAN Summit Nothing – News5 No Longer Involved (Mostly) in ASEAN Summit

The possible final straw: News5’s lack of involvement in the 2017 ASEAN Summit was an indication that the organization is nearing its end, and the emphasis towards sports only made it worse. (Logo courtesy of ASEAN)

One seemingly moribund news organization is obviously non-committal when it comes to the ASEAN Summit.

Perhaps the biggest political event in the Philippines this year, the 2017 ASEAN Summit had it all. Whether it is the first visit of U.S. President Donald Trump to the country or the countless hours of talks between the ASEAN member states and top nations such as the U.S., China, Canada and Australia, the four-day event was for the most part memorable.

But not all of the Philippines’ top networks were around to cover those whirlwind four days. Just ask News5.

As expected, Luchi Cruz-Valdes and co. made little noise when it comes to coverage of the ASEAN Summit. And despite assigning some of their reporters (if there is any) to cover the said event, not to mention providing some live coverage on social media, the ASEAN Summit was buried in the pecking order in favor of sensational crime stories.

At least sister network Bloomberg Television Philippines did its share. As for the main network, nada.

Blame ESPN5 for all of this. After all, it was Chot Reyes who basically killed ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’, cut ‘Aksyon Tonite’ in half, and turned ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ into a ‘Hoy Gising’ wannabe.

They may still have ‘Aksyon Prime’ as their primary news program, but then again it has become a constant distraction to ESPN5’s sports coverage.

I have already written a eulogy that paid tribute to News5 and its ‘proud’ heritage. But as the ASEAN Summit neared, I thought to myself,

“Perhaps there is still a way to save News5 from the verge of collapse'”.

As it turned out, Chot Reyes was no longer committed to help News5 and instead made ESPN5 his ‘baby’. With sports now dominating TV5 and (for the most part) sister network AksyonTV, there is no room for said network to make the ASEAN Summit a must-see event the same way its rivals from Timog, Mother Ignacia, Shaw Boulevard and Visayas Avenue did.

It is safe to say that the time is now to pay our last respects to News5. Chot Reyes can dissolve this ‘pain in his butt’ anytime he wants, because as it stands, this division’s pain and suffering is unbearable and impossible to heal.

Hopefully the remnants of News5 will find a new home soon in the event that it will be dissolved. Good luck.

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In Memory of News5

The death of News5 is all but finalized.

On Friday, November 3, TV5 management announced the cancellation of ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’, ‘Aksyon News Alert’ and ‘Aksyon Tonite’ to make way for the newly-rebranded ESPN5 block that will go full swing in December. The only newscasts retained by the network are ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ and ‘Aksyon Prime’.

The cancellation of these three programs marked the latest in a saga of changes that deepened News5’s problems. Whether it is the loss of several talents, questionable programming decisions, lack of resources or signal concerns, News5’s issues only served to undermine its abilities as a news-gathering force.

There is no need to discuss what went wrong as this blog already discussed in detail the many problems that News5 faced (and the potential solutions that would have helped). Instead, this article will look back at News5’s contributions during its storied but tenuous run.

News5 started the ‘news on FM radio’ revolution when they launched Radyo5 92.3 News FM back in 2010. A few months after, AksyonTV was born, and at the time, it was the only 24/7 all-Filipino language news channel on free TV.

They also went into a partnership with Bloomberg LP in 2015 and launched Bloomberg TV Philippines, the first Filipino business news channel. Other contributions by the network include News5 Digital, then the only online news channel in the country, and News5 newscasts produced in high definition.

Some of the Philippines’ most talented journalists also made News5 their home. These include current PCOO secretary Martin Andanar, the late Amelyn Veloso, the Tulfo brothers (Ben, Raffy and Erwin), Cheryl Cosim, Ed Lingao, Jove Francisco and former DOT spokesperson Cherie Mercado among others.

Finally, News5 did produce some quality programs of their own. Aside from the ‘Aksyon’ newscasts, some of News5’s award-winning shows include ‘T3’, ‘History with Lourd de Veyra’, ‘Kaya’ and ‘Alagang Kapatid’.

Overall, despite all the problems they have faced, News5 still tried its best to keep up with its more superior counterparts in ABS-CBN and GMA. Still, its inevitable demise has viewers thinking what might have been had they smartly made moves to benefit both the technical and the economical aspect of the organization.

Now that Chot Reyes is about to turn TV5 into an S+A clone (for lack of a better term), the promising organization that is News5 is all but a distant memory. The newscasts may keep it alive, but for all intents and purposes, this organization’s days are numbered.

Thanks for all the memories, News5. You’ll be sorely missed.

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FTT’s Guide to SONA 2017

The second State of the Nation Address under President Rodrigo Duterte is about to happen.

At around 4:00 p.m. of Monday, July 24, the vicinity of the Batasan Pambansa will be filled with politicians, delegates, spectators, mediamen, PNP and AFP officers, Vice President Leni Robredo, and the President himself. The SONA is an annual occasion where the President mentions his accomplishments and reveals his plans for the year ahead.

Last year’s State of the Nation Address was directed by Brillante Mendoza, which was met with mixed reviews. This year, Mendoza will once again be at the helm, but after an unimpressive first outing, expect a few tweaks in his directorial approach.

As for the coverage of the event, here is a summary of how the participating networks will approach the SONA.

ABS-CBN

  1. Channel 2, S+A (simulcast with Channel 2), DZMM and the ABS-CBN News Channel will be the participating stations; each broadcast will be simulcast online on news.abs-cbn.com/sona2017.
  2. Channel 2’s coverage will begin after ‘It’s Showtime’, with Karen Davila as anchor. As mentioned earlier, it will also be seen on S+A Channel 23.
  3. DZMM’s coverage will begin at 1:00 p.m. Karen Davila and Johnson Manabat will anchor the first two hours, followed by David Oro and Ricky Rosales at 3:00 p.m., before Gerry Baja and Anthony Taberna join the fray at 5:00 p.m.
  4. ANC’s coverage will take place throughout the day, with a townhall forum at 3:00 p.m. to be moderated by Karmina Constantino and Tony Velasquez.

CNN Philippines

CNN Philippines’ coverage begins at 5:00 a.m. In typical CNN Philippines fashion, their coverage will be bilingual; mid-morning to early afternoon coverage will be in Filipino while the rest will be in English.

Viewers of the network will see the likes of Claire Celdran, Amelyn Veloso, Ruth Cabal, Pinky Webb, Pia Hontiveros and Mitzi Borromeo anchor CNN Philippines’ SONA coverage. It will also be aired online on Facebook and on the CNN Philippines website.

GMA Network

GMA News TV confirmed that they will cover the SONA starting at 3:10 p.m., marking the first time since 2014 that the oft-criticized news network will participate in the event. Jessica Soho and Arnold Clavio will anchor said coverage.

However, Channel 7 and DZBB have yet to reveal its plans for the SONA. If Channel 7 and/or DZBB pushes through with separate coverage, it is likely that Mike Enriquez, Mel Tiangco and/or Vicky Morales will anchor the proceedings while DZBB will utilize some of its mainstays such as Joel Reyes Zobel.

TV5

The network that infamously snubs President Duterte’s live speeches on television will have no choice but to join in. While Luchi Cruz-Valdes is penciled in to anchor their coverage, she might as well need some help considering how decimated TV5’s team is right now.

TV5’s coverage will most likely be simulcast on AksyonTV (unless it changes its mind and airs nonsensical TV shopping programs), Radyo5 92.3 News FM, and on News5’s Facebook page and official website. They do not need to worry about preempting programs because their lineup is all but a free-for-all.

PTV-4

PTV-4’s coverage, which also features special packages throughout the day, will be led by Rocky Ignacio, Aljo Bendijo, Angelique Lazo, Alex Santos and Catherine Vital. The government-owned station will begin their coverage of the SONA at 2:30 p.m., with a simulcast on the network’s YouTube channel.

The revitalization of PTV was among the many objectives that President Duterte raised during last year’s SONA. The project is still ongoing, but viewers can only hope that PTV’s presentation will be a much-improved one.

Other networks

All AM radio stations (save for specialty ones) will be on-hand to cover this year’s SONA. On the television side, independent UHF TV stations Net 25 and UNTV-37 will also participate in the event.

As far as IBC-13 is concerned, it is likely that the beleaguered network will no longer play a role in the SONA. Although President Duterte promised an immediate privatization of the network in last year’s SONA, the process remains slow to say the least.

Come this Monday afternoon, all eyes will be on President Rodrigo Duterte. Never mind how long his speech will be, as long as viewers understand his message going forward.

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