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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entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

Sports5 Center Goes Online

An essential element to the PBA coverage on TV5 takes its act to the World Wide Web.

Since taking over the PBA games on a full-time basis this season, TV5 has made an all-out commitment to improve and liven its coverage. And that includes ‘Sports5 Center’ (formerly ‘AKTV Center’), the studio show that debuted in 2011 during the AKTV on IBC era.

But thanks to the TV5 networks’ congested schedule, and to the seemingly popular halftime game show ‘Moneyball: Dribol op da Pipol’, it became clear that ‘Sports5 Center’ has no place on TV5’s lineup. As a result, Sports5 management decided to improvise its presentation of ‘Sports5 Center’.

The end result is an online-exclusive broadcast of TV5’s flagship studio show, which debuted on October 19, the opening night of the PBA’s 40th season.

The now internet-only ‘Sports5 Center’ retains the basic elements of the original show, featuring pregame and postgame analysis from Sports5’s pool of analysts, with some semblance of humor in between. In addition, each postgame show will feature coach and player interviews.

The move of ‘Sports5 Center’ to the internet should give a huge sigh of relief to the more demanding and knowledgeable basketball fans. For those who are willing to learn about the performance of their players and teams at an even deeper level, this is the show to watch.

More importantly, it should relieve TV5 of a major burden, since the lack of available programming space prevents ‘Sports5 Center’ from even airing during PBA game days.

Already in the fourth season of its five-year deal, the PBA on Sports5 continues to be a work in progress, but the improvement in game coverage has taken notice. For the management of Sports5, bringing ‘Sports5 Center’ online should provide a huge boost to the network’s quest for a more comprehensive and advantageous coverage, something they clearly lacked in previous years.

Indeed, this is good news for knowledgeable PBA fans. And to Sports5, keep up the good work.

Note: ‘Sports5 Center’ will continue to air in between PBA games every Sunday on TV5. For more information, visit www.sports5.ph.

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