action, entertainment, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, Sports, television, United States

Is AksyonTV becoming TV5’s News TV and S+A?

The baffling saga of AksyonTV continues with the addition of Tagalized American action programs and films. Here is Timow’s Turf with more insight on this issue.

Timow's Turf

AksyonTV turns 6 years old today but quickly erodes its standing purpose. AksyonTV turns 6 years old today but it quickly erodes its initial purpose.

SIX YEARS ago today, while viewers are awaiting for GMA News TV’s launch, TV5 jumped in unannounced over Channel 41; AksyonTV, the first news channel on free TV, was born.

They used to air round the clock as a slap of Channel 11’s broken promises to live their mantra, “Oras-oras, alam ko” but karma struck back in 2013 due to cost-cutting measures by the management as well as NTC’s rules and regulations for affiliated free-to-air TV stations.

The identity crisis

The era of being a homogeneous news channel began its decline when AKTV on IBC ended on May 31, 2013 by carrying over their committed sportscasts as they also covered the Sochi Winter Olympics a year after.

Recently, News5’s public affairs programs airing on AksyonTV became merely reruns with no motive to create new episodes. Since last year, EZ Shop…

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action, entertainment, movies, Philippines, television

What If: Action Movies and Programs on AksyonTV?

TV5's Tagalized American action films and programs could give AksyonTV a little boost given the latter's irrelevance of late. (Photo courtesy of TV5)

AksyonTV’s airing of Tagalized American action movies and shows from TV5 could give S+A a run for its money, if they want to proceed with this plan. (Photo courtesy of TV5)

Action movies and canned shows on AksyonTV? Why not.

Much has been said about AksyonTV’s increasingly declining quality in the six years since its debut. From its glory days as the first 24/7 all-Filipino news channel, to the current channel that lacks any identity whatsoever, the short but informative history of AksyonTV has been well-documented.

But other than the occasional outpouring of live or tape-delayed sporting events, not to mention a few surviving Radyo5 and TV5 simulcasts, AksyonTV has nothing else to offer. Every day, the station fills its vacant hours with infomercials from EZ Shop, Shop Japan and Shop TV, as well as defunct News5 original programs, much to the dismay of this writer.

As time went by, many proposals to reinvent the channel were made, with the rebrand of AksyonTV into the all-sports channel AKTV (the former name of the IBC-13 blocktimer) the most prominent of all. But like all proposals, any hope of materializing could fall into deaf ears.

If the proposal of turning AksyonTV into an all-sports channel doesn’t work out, perhaps a more radical programming change is needed for this seemingly moribund channel to survive. And that means bringing in a piece of TV5’s entertainment shows to AksyonTV.

With so many vacant hours to offer during idle periods, AksyonTV could use these times to air Tagalized foreign movies under the MovieMax sa AksyonTV banner. Modeling it after S+A’s Action Movie Zone block with an emphasis on action and superhero films is a more likely scenario given AksyonTV’s possible rivalry with ABS-CBN’s sister channel.

AksyonTV could also use this time to reair TV5’s canned foreign programs, if not add new titles. Considering that shows such as ‘Supernatural’, ‘Arrow’, ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Teen Wolf’ fall into the action category, this seems like a perfect fit as well.

These are just possible scenarios, but if AksyonTV wants to survive, these shows could help them do so. After all, no one wants to see a channel that is ‘walang kwenta’ and irrelevant in this day and age.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, Sports, television

AksyonTV Needs a Spinoff Channel

A revival of the AKTV brand on Channel 41, plus a new News5 Network on Cignal, should solve the identity crisis of AksyonTV. (Logo courtesy of TV5)

The time for AksyonTV to spin off into two separate channels is now.

The past few months saw AksyonTV increase its emphasis on sports coverage. Just recently, Sports5 acquired broadcast rights to the FilSports Basketball Association, the Philippine Commercial Basketball League*, the League of Legends World Championship, and the International Premier Tennis League.

This, in addition to existing broadcast rights to leagues such as the Philippine Super Liga, the United Football League and the Women’s National Collegiate Athletics Association, gives AksyonTV a more sports-oriented lineup than in past years. Further proof of the network’s ongoing evolution is the presence of instructional segments such as ‘TiuTorials’ and ‘Power Tips’, as well as other sporting highlights.

But while AksyonTV is now focusing more on sports, news programming remained a constant presence. Simulcasts of Radyo5 programs, TV5 newscasts and public affairs programming continue to air on the said network, as it has been the case since 2011.

The increasing imbalance between news and sports programming on AksyonTV should be a cause of concern to News5 and Sports5 heads Luchi Cruz-Valdes and Chot Reyes, respectively. As AksyonTV moves further and further into sports coverage, it is clear that they need to make a change.

Remember the AKTV block on IBC-13? Perhaps TV5 should revive the AKTV brand, and place it on free TV channel 41, in order to give ABS-CBN Sports+Action a run for their money.

If TV5 can improve that channel’s signal, AKTV-41 should pose a challenge to ABS-CBN’s free TV sports-oriented channel. That is a big if, since Sports+Action has the bigger sporting events such as the UAAP, NCAA and NBA to back it up.

As for the news half of AksyonTV, the best possible solution is to turn it into a Cignal-exclusive channel. Perhaps the name News5 Network (N5N) could fit the bill.

That channel should be News5’s answer to DZMM TeleRadyo and ABS-CBN News Channel, as far as Cignal subscribers are concerned. Focusing mostly on Radyo5 simulcasts, TV5 newscasts, and even Digital5 exclusives should be the said network’s priority.

That said, the identity crisis on AksyonTV needs an immediate solution. Splitting it into two separate channels should benefit both News5 and Sports5 in the long term.

One can only hope that TV5 can make the right decision on their UHF counterpart. After all, they don’t want Channel 41 to look so cluttered.

*AksyonTV has dropped the PBA simulcasts on TV5 since the start of the 2015-16 season, in favor of airing the FBA and PCBL.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Remembering the NCAA on TV5

Adios, NCAA on TV5.

In one month, the 91st season of the NCAA will get underway. The league will have a new (or old) media partner going forward, as they joined forces with ABS-CBN Sports beginning this season.

But before we look ahead to the league’s return to the Kapamilya group, let us reflect on the three-year relationship between the NCAA and TV5.

Ambitious Beginnings

The NCAA joined forces with Sports5 prior to Season 88. The games were first broadcast on the AKTV on IBC-13 block, with a Monday-Thursday-Saturday schedule and a 4:00 p.m. start time.

The league also held a pair of provincial playdates in an effort to attract new fans. But to fans’ dismay, neither of the out-of-town games were aired on AKTV, a predicament that continued the next season with AksyonTV.

AKTV also employed full-time sideline reporters as opposed to student representatives/OJTs used by ABS-CBN Sports. They also deviated from ABS-CBN’s practice of showing cheering squads at halftime, and instead used the time to read netizens’ tweets and talk to fans of opposing schools.

And of course, a new partner means a new broadcast staff. Sports5 elected to employ a younger cast of announcers, as opposed to a more veteran-laden team during the ABS-CBN era, in hopes of connecting to younger fans.

Brewing Troubles and Change of Stations

The first sign of trouble for the NCAA on Sports5 took place in the Season 88 Finals. Game 3 of the San Beda-Letran series was aired on TV5 but on a more unfavorable early afternoon slot, a scenario that was repeated in the following year’s finals between the same two teams.

Then in May 2013, Mediaquest and TV5 decided to end their blocktime deal with IBC-13. This forced Sports5 to move the league’s games to AksyonTV, a decision that didn’t sit well with the viewers due to the station’s poor reach and accessibility.

Worse, the lack of an online livestreaming platform only exacerbated the situation, especially during heavily prioritized live news events such as the State of the Nation Address. Although Sports5 managed to provide a livestreaming platform by Season 90, the damage was already done at that point.

A Last-Ditch Effort By TV5

Season 90 saw a select number of games aired on the flagship TV5, in hopes of addressing the need for wider access. Still, a few games that ran overtime were cut off TV5 in favor of Aksyon Prime (a decision known as the ‘Heidi Moment’), something that was not experienced when ABS-CBN Sports (via Studio 23, now ABS-CBN Sports+Action) had the rights.

The TV5 games also featured the infamous Moneyball game that was first implemented during the network’s PBA coverage. The presence of Moneyball took away the school spirit aspect of the game, as it prevented the league’s fans from watching the performance of the cheering squads at halftime.

Even though TV5 aired a select number of games that season, AksyonTV still had a major presence on the NCAA coverage. The addition of TV5 did little to increase attention to the league’s games, despite a major promotional campaign that signified the NCAA as ‘Ang Larong Tunay’ (A True Game).

Aftermath

In the end, the ambitious plans of TV5 for the NCAA backfired. The demise of AKTV proved too much, as it affected whatever grand plans the Kapatid network has had in making the NCAA more competitive and attractive to viewers.

Promotion of the league was also a problem, as Sports5 continues to prioritize the PBA. Furthermore, the constant change in channels, along with the use of unorthodox gimmicks such as Moneyball, the lack of modern technologies, and the use of full-time reporters as opposed to student representatives, only hastened the decline.

The final straw for the NCAA on TV5 took place once their regular on-air announcers were elevated to the PBA. In hindsight, it was clear that TV5 has had enough; even though they tried to offer an extension, the NCAA felt the time to move on was now.

And so it did. From now on, it’s ABS-CBN Sports’ turn once more. And the NCAA couldn’t be happier.

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