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FTT Year 2014 in Review: TV5

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2015, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article will focus on TV5, who made the transition from a mainstream to an alternative station this year.

The Positives

2014 was a year of change for TV5. And some changes were for the better.

A heavily-criticized coverage of the previous PBA season led to several tweaks in TV5’s current schedule. Initially made to benefit the NCAA, the FIBA World Cup, the Youth Olympics and the Asian Games, this was then implemented for the PBA, which was welcomed by fans after expressing their disgust with last season’s coverage.

The year also saw TV5 broadcast other major sporting events, such as the Super Bowl, the U.S. NCAA men’s basketball tournament, and the Winter Olympics. Furthermore, they aired the games of the ‘Batang Gilas’ in the 2014 FIBA Under-17 World Championship, keeping in step with the moves made by ABS-CBN Sports.

TV5 viewers also witnessed the premieres of highly-praised weekly series ‘JasMine’ and ‘Trenderas’, as well as a new game show in ‘Quiet Please! Bawal ang Maingay’. TV5 also collaborated with both E! and Wattpad to broadcast ‘It Takes Gutz to Be a Gutierrez’ and ‘Wattpad Presents’, respectively, to good reviews.

And finally, News5 garnered some awards from various bodies, particularly in the programs ‘T3: Enforced’, ‘History with Lourd’, ‘Yaman ng Bayan’ and ‘Bigtime’. ‘It Takes Gutz to Be a Gutierrez’, ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ and ‘Celebrity Dance Battle’ were also honored.

The Negatives

The transformation of TV5 was not without some obstacles, however.

When TV5 revealed its programming lineup for 2014, one of the upcoming programs mentioned was a Philippine adaptation of ‘Pretty Little Liars’. Unfortunately for the network, the project never materialized, even as they denied rumors that it was ‘shelved’.

Not all of TV5’s programs under Noel Lorenzana’s new initiative paid off. The programs that were cancelled in his first full year in charge include the likes of ‘SpinNation’, ‘What’s Up, Doods’, ‘The Mega and the Songwriter’, ‘Killer Karaoke Pinoy Naman’, ‘Face the People’ and ‘Let’s Ask Pilipinas’.

TV5’s sports coverage was also not spared. Early this year, the Kapatid network introduced ‘Moneyball: Dribol op da Pipol’ to its PBA and NCAA coverage, much to the dismay of the more informative and knowledgeable viewers; eventually TV5 relented by moving ‘Sports5 Center’ to the livestream format (as ‘Sports 360’).

AksyonTV, TV5’s sister network, was severely crippled by News5’s programming changes, particularly after the cancellation of its original programs and newscasts ‘Andar ng mga Balita’ and ‘Balitang 60’. As a result, the network became overly dependent on TV5’s programming, which is not a good sign for a news/sports channel like AksyonTV.

The sex scandal involving News5 anchor and Rescue5 leader Paolo Bediones in September also demoralized the network. While he left ‘Aksyon Tonite’ in the midst of the controversy (he was later replaced by Ed Lingao), he did return to host ‘Demolition Job’ and Rescue5 short videos once the impact of his scandal dissipated.

But perhaps the biggest news coming out of TV5’s camp was the departure of Sharon Cuneta. A P1 billion signee of the network a few years ago, Sharon joined TV5 with high expectations, but shows such as ‘Sharon: Kasama Mo Kapatid’, ‘The Mega and the Songwriter’ and ‘Madam Chairman’ failed to deliver.

And finally, there is the annual issue of TV5’s overreliance on Tagalized foreign movies, as well as reruns of local programs.

Outlook

TV5 has already unveiled a list of new and returning programs for 2015, which will be discussed in detail very soon.

It was not a bad year for TV5, even with all the changes that took place. With a new year looming, Lorenzana and company now hope to build on these gains even further, though changes are still to be made as the year progresses.

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Back to ‘Normal’ Ways for AksyonTV

AksyonTV brought back reruns of programs such as ‘Cocktales’ following the conclusion of the 2014 Asian Games. (Photo credit: Daphne.ph)

After sharing the coverage of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and the Asian Games with TV5, it is back to ‘normal’ for the embattled AksyonTV.

The conclusion of these sports events means that re-runs of old AksyonTV and TV5 programs were once again occupying the network’s vacant hours.  Other than the ongoing NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the rest of AksyonTV’s content reverted back to where they were in the summer of 2014.

AksyonTV’s return to a rerun-based programming does not help their cause at all, and it is clear that they are in extremely bad shape to compete against the likes of ABS-CBN Sports+Action, 9TV and GMA News TV.

Back in May, I wrote about the need to improve AksyonTV’s programming. In summarizing the needs of AksyonTV to improve in order to be competitive, here are my suggestions:

  1. Eliminate the dependence of simulcasting TV5’s newscasts, and produce their own that do not conflict with the mother network.
  2. Make Radyo5’s ‘Orly Mercado All Ready’ as the main morning show of the network.
  3. Produce more original programs.

Since then, however, AksyonTV’s programming quality got even worse, despite the return of Radyo5 programs ‘Aksyon Solusyon’ and ‘Remoto Control’ to the fold.

In July, the network stopped producing ‘Aksyon Breaking’ and ‘Aksyon Weather’ updates, as well as ‘Andar ng mga Balita’ and ‘Balitang 60’. Then in September, old programs such as ‘Cocktales’ and ‘Wasak’ were brought back.

In addition, the network decided not to air new episodes of ‘Demolition Job’ and ‘History with Lourd’, as well as a new program called ‘Unang Tikim’. Instead previous episodes of KBO were re-aired, much to the dismay of its viewers.

For AksyonTV, this is an already alarming situation. Instead of trying to improve the network’s programming quality, it seems like the management is becoming extremely casual in operating the lackluster station, especially when there are no sports events to cover.

If TV5 wants to upgrade and improve the status of its UHF counterpart, the management should start acting on this matter right now. Otherwise, AksyonTV’s days will be numbered, to the point where a permanent sign off is difficult to resist.

AksyonTV is definitely a good network to watch. But with the kind of programming they have right now, this will not help their standing among the other major UHF networks.

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TV5 Rebrands Its Newscasts Under the Aksyon Banner

Starting July 14, TV5’s ‘Aksyon’  newscasts will not only be seen in the early evening, but also in the morning, at noontime and during late nights. (Photo credit: News5 Everywhere)

Goodbye ‘Good Morning Ser’, ‘Andar ng mga Balita’, and ‘Pilipinas News’.

As part of its ongoing ‘Signal No. 5: Umuulan ng Saya’ campaign, TV5 has announced that its newscasts will be rebranded under the ‘Aksyon’ banner beginning this July 14. The newscasts are as follows: ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’, ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’, and ‘Aksyon Tonite’. The three newscasts will be joined by the flagship early evening newscast ‘Aksyon’.

As a result of the rebrand,  ‘Good Morning Ser’ (formerly ‘Good Morning Club’), ‘Andar ng mga Balita’ and ‘Pilipinas News’ will bid farewell today after a three-year run. ‘Pilipinas News Weekend’ will then air its final newscast on Sunday, with a replacement yet to be determined.

‘Aksyon sa Umaga’ will retain the services of Martin Andanar and Lourd de Veyra from ‘Good Morning Ser’. In addition, Grace Lee, who previously anchored ‘Aksyon Weekend’ and hosted ‘Good Morning Girls’, will be added as the third anchor. Like its predecessor, it will be a two-hour news and talk-based program.

‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ will be anchored by Raffy Tulfo and Cherie Mercado. The ‘T3: Reload’ and ‘Wanted sa Radyo’ host is no stranger to anchoring a noontime newscast, having anchored ‘Balitaang Tapat’ two years earlier. Meanwhile Cherie Mercado moves from late nights to noontime after anchoring ‘Pilipinas News’ for over two years.

The flagship ‘Aksyon’ newscast will still be anchored by Erwin Tulfo, but his new partner will be no less than News5’s Head of News and Information, Luchi Cruz-Valdes. Luchi’s ‘Reaksyon’ program will no longer be independent from any newscast, but instead it will be incorporated as one of the segments of ‘Aksyon’.

And finally, ‘Aksyon Tonite’ will retain Paolo Bediones from ‘Pilipinas News’, but Cheryl Cosim from ‘Aksyon’ will now serve as his new partner. Like its predecessor, ‘Aksyon Tonite’ will be a 30-minute newscast that will recap the biggest news of the day.

The rebranded ‘Aksyon’ newscasts, along with ‘Aksyon Alert’ and ‘Aksyon Breaking’ news updates, are intended to strengthen and unify TV5’s news department under the ‘One Brand News Program’ approach. But it remains to be seen if the rebrand to ‘Aksyon’ will pay off.

New Timeslot for ‘T3’

‘T3: Reload’ was scheduled to move to a new timeslot this Monday. However, the change of timeslot came a week early.

Last Monday, viewers were surprised to see Raffy and Ben Tulfo host their public service program at noontime. Monday’s edition of ‘T3’ was actually a replay of last Friday’s episode, but it was not until the live Tuesday edition that the Tulfo brothers officially confirmed the show’s new timeslot.

‘T3: Reload”s move to noontime was intended to accommodate the NCAA Season 90 seniors basketball game on TV5, which moved to 4:00 p.m. from 2:00 p.m. the previous week. However, AksyonTV and Radyo5 92.3 News FM did not air the program simultaneously (‘Relasyon’ of Atty. Mel Sta. Maria and Luchi Cruz-Valdes was aired instead), as they were not informed of ‘T3”s premature timeslot change.

However, expect both AksyonTV and Radyo5 to make some changes in their programming lineup this Monday, in order to accommodate ‘T3: Reload’ and ‘Aksyon’ newscasts.

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AksyonTV Needs Improvement

AksyonTV’s programming is in a dire need of improvement. (Logo courtesy of ABC Development Corporation).

In a previous article, I discussed about TV5’s continuous programming rebuild. And while management has been trying their best to improve Channel 5, the same cannot be said of its sister network on the UHF band, which has been in a state of regression since last year.

AksyonTV, once the only all-Filipino 24/7 news channel, has been on the decline of late. Back in January I wrote about some of the changes that took place within the said network, and I waited a while in hopes of watching them flip the switch. A few months later, poof. AksyonTV’s became a shell of its former self.

The decline of the network is noticeable in its programming. Replays of TV5’s public affairs programs become more frequent, while live simulcasts of TV5 newscasts were seemingly more distracting than ever thanks to the increasing amount of sports events. Not even an evening replay of its morning newscast ‘Andar ng mga Balita’ helped matters.

So what to do with the mess that is engulfing AksyonTV? Here are my thoughts towards improving the network.

First of all, simulcasting TV5’s newscasts should stop. I mean, no more ‘Good Morning Ser’, ‘Aksyon’ and ‘Pilipinas News’ on Channel 41. The best that AksyonTV could do at this point is to have ‘Andar ng mga Balita’ as its late morning/noontime newscast, and ‘Balitang 60’ as its 9:00 p.m. newscast. That way, AksyonTV helps spread out the news in case of up-to-the-minute reports, while attracting late-arriving viewers that want some more news updates.

Secondly, make ‘Orly Mercado All Ready’ as the network’s early morning program. At this point, the now-truncated ‘Good Morning Ser’ have left the 7:00 a.m. slot open to rerun programming, which does not bode well to AksyonTV. Having Orly Mercado simulcast his radio program on television will help matters.

And finally, AksyonTV needs to go back and produce its original programs. The lineup of AksyonTV, other than the presence of live sports events, is wide open. Adding some new original and informative programs will help balance the equilibrium, while at the same time reestablishing its reputation as a reliable news station.

In short, AksyonTV should not become fodder to TV5’s programs. Instead, they should focus on a different set of programs to a different set of audience. That way, AksyonTV will become more stable, more reliable, and more driven in providing viewers more information to digest. And that improvement should commence as soon as possible.

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The ‘New’ AksyonTV in 2014

The entry of ‘Juan Direction’ to AksyonTV virtually changed the landscape of the all-news network arm of TV5.

When AksyonTV decided to cease its 24-hour broadcast last December, there were hints that the network will revamp its programming and improve its reach. And as 2014 got underway, viewers were treated to a ‘different’ AksyonTV than in years past.

Gone were AksyonTV original programs ‘Cocktales’, ‘Wasak’, ‘Crime Klasik’, ‘Dokumentado’, ‘Dong Puno de Kalibre’, and ‘Presinto 5’. The cancellation of these programs had an adverse effect on TV5. With the exception of the PBA replays, TV5 has been signing off after ‘Reaksyon’ on weeknights; their sign-off comes in much earlier than that of the government station PTV-4 and former blocktimer IBC-13.

As a result, the ‘new’ AksyonTV now features TV5 original programs, AKTV carryovers such as the PBA, NCAA and boxing events, Radyo5 simulcasts, newscasts such as ‘Aksyon’, ‘Pilipinas News’ and ‘Andar ng mga Balita’, and several remaining AksyonTV original programs. But perhaps the most radical example of the ‘new’ AksyonTV was ‘Juan Direction’, which is currently part of TV5’s ‘Weekend Do It Better’ slate of entertainment programs.

Despite claiming to be a ‘documentary-reality’, ‘Juan Direction’ is mostly entertainment-based, which is not what AksyonTV is. The fact that it airs on TV5’s entertainment block still bothers me. Would it be good to see a quintet of muscular Fil-Brits, all of which have showbiz potential, enjoy a trip around the country on an all-news network? I don’t think so, unless you watch GMA News TV and their movie blocks.

This year is an adjustment period for AksyonTV, as signal improvements, programming changes and the move to the Media Center in Mandaluyong are in progress. But without its core public affairs programs, the transition period of the network may be tougher than anyone can imagine.

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