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Philippine Cable and Digital Channels Face Issue of Redundancy

Hero is one of several cable channels in the Philippines that was shut down this year due to redundancy in content. (Logo courtesy of Creative Programs Inc.)

Redundancy has become a common theme for cable and digital channels in the Philippines.

In the first half of 2018 alone, viewers witnessed a closure of numerous cable channels in the country. On the local side of the spectrum, there was Hero, TAG, ABS-CBN Regional Channel, CT and 2nd Avenue, and on the international front there was Toonami.

There were also some rebrandings and resurrections of several channels as well. CPI made LIGA the second coming of Balls in time for the FIFA World Cup (replacing ARC, TAG and Hero in the process) while rebranding Lifestyle into Metro Channel, and then the MVP Group converted Bloomberg Philippines into One News.

So why do these things happen to our beloved cable and digital channels? The most cited reason is financial constraints, but it goes deeper than that.

When two channels air similar content with one another, redundancy happens. This is exactly the case that befell the likes of Hero, TAG, CT, 2nd Avenue and Toonami because they feature similar themes and genres with one or several channels.

Hero and Toonami, for example, became victims of cord-cutters and other channels such as Cartoon Network, Boomerang, AniPlus, Animax and even Yey!, which show some anime and action series as well. Same with CT and 2nd Avenue who share some of the programming with sister channels Jack TV and ETC.

Going further back, CPI shut down Velvet in 2014 and moved some of its content over to Lifestyle. Four years later, Lifestyle was rebranded into Metro Channel and is now essentially a second coming of Velvet.

There is also LIGA, which was launched for the FIFA World Cup but is expected to face similar redundancy issues as Balls since its only other source of content are events that air on ABS-CBN S+A. Finally, the rebrand from Bloomberg Philippines to One News has made AksyonTV (a former news channel-turned-T5N clone) redundant, something the MVP Group must address moving forward.

However, redundancy is not limited to cable channels alone. Yey!, for example, has a movie block called ‘Kid Sine’, but some of the films shown here are also aired on sister channel CineMo (under the CineFantasya and CineKomedya blocks).

Yey! also airs reruns of ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids’ while CineMo rebroadcasts ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Bagani’ on weekends. Such reruns should have been exclusive to Jeepney TV.

These are just some of the examples that face cable and digital channels today. Considering the competitive nature of this business, trying to stay unique and distinct in terms of content is not as easy as it looks.

So the best that these channels can do right now is to remain innovative and wide-eyed to the audience while keeping themselves afloat. This juggling act may be difficult, but when done properly, they can stay on the air for a long period of time.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

Since I Found You to Air on Primetime Bida Tonight

It seems like romantic comedies on Primetime Bida are a bad fit.

Over the last two years, the fourth slot of Primetime Bida was dominated by romcoms, yet despite winning in the ratings, viewers were left unsatisfied and bored over the direction ABS-CBN took. One commenter even went so far as labeling these evening romantic comedies as ‘antok-seryes’.

Last year, ABS-CBN went the more serious route and aired ‘The Good Son’ on the fourth slot. Somehow it worked; the series averaged around 20% and viewers were once again invested into its heart-wrenching and heavy storyline, a far cry from the romance and good vibes of its predecessors.

However, ABS-CBN decided to replace ‘The Good Son’ with yet another romantic comedy. Only this time, it will feature an unlikely love team.

Remember the movie ‘Kita Kita’ starring Empoy and Alessandra de Rossi? After the surprising success of the film, ABS-CBN will look to capitalize on the popularity of AlEmpoy by giving them a more prominent role in the upcoming series ‘Since I Found You’.

Also starring Piolo Pascual, JC de Vera and Arci Muñoz, ‘Since I Found You’ features the story of five individuals whose lives soon change in a heartbeat. The lead characters are as follows:

  • Nathan (Piolo), an accomplished businessman and boss of a construction company, is charismatic and good-looking yet employees are scared of his strict leadership.
  • Dani (Arci), the company practicumer, soon falls in love with Nathan.
  • Ginno (JC), Nathan’s assistant, becomes Dani’s own boss, but later on shows some affection for her.
  • Janice (Alessandra), Nathan’s secretary, also expresses her feelings towards Nathan.
  • James (Empoy), the company driver and comic relief, has a crush on Janice even as she constantly rejects him.

The cast of ‘Since I Found You’ will also include Carmi Martin, John Lapus, Vivoree Esclito, Isabel Oli, Cholo Barretto, and Michael de Mesa. It will be directed by Antoinette Jadaone.

If the performance of more recent primetime romantic comedies is of any indication, then ‘Since I Found You’ is in for a real challenge. Anything more than 20% in the ratings is vindication for the genre, but anything less than that is deemed a failure even if it still wins.

The ball is now on ABS-CBN’s court to prove its doubters wrong. Good luck.

‘Since I Found You’ airs weeknights after ‘Bagani’ on ABS-CBN Primetime Bida.

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action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Bagani: ABS-CBN’s Most Controversial Series Yet

The hype surrounding ‘Bagani’ has been on a high for the past few months.

On the good side, this upcoming ABS-CBN drama series will be led by Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, one of the Philippines’ most popular love teams today. On the bad side, however, ‘Bagani’ has been beset by controversy from the start.

When the trailer for ‘Bagani’ first popped out, netizens immediately compared it to ‘Encantadia’ due to its similar themes and landscape. The discussion even spread to the writers of the two shows, namely Suzette Doctolero and Mark Duane Angos.

‘Bagani’ also drew flak for its questionable casting choices. While the series was inspired from pre-colonial Philippines, some of the cast were not pure-blooded Filipinos, particularly the LizQuen tandem and co-star Matteo Guidicelli.

Writer Mark Duane Angos defended ‘Bagani”s casting decisions and setting in a series of tweets.

Notwithstanding the controversy surrounding ‘Bagani’, fans can’t help but be excited over the return of LizQuen to the small screen. This time, however, the duo will be engaged in plenty of action as fight scenes will become the norm in ‘Bagani’.

That doesn’t mean any moment of ‘kilig’ will be nonexistent. There will still be occasional cheesy scenes that make viewers gush, just not much due to the serious physicality involved.

So far, the confirmed lead cast of ‘Bagani’ include Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, Sofia Andres, Makisig Morales and Matteo Guidicelli. An extended cast is yet to be revealed.

Star Creatives will handle the production duties for ‘Bagani’. It will be directed by Richard Arellano and Lester Pimentel.

With the impending debut of ‘Bagani’, ABS-CBN has entered the world of epicseryes (for which the likes of ‘Encantadia’ were derived). But unlike GMA whose production of ‘Encantadia’ drained much of their finances, ABS-CBN should pose no concern for ‘Bagani’ as far as money as concerned, and if the series rates well, it will not be a big problem.

Still, it remains to be seen if the various controversies will affect ‘Bagani’ in any way. LizQuen may give this series a boost, but it may also cost them some disgruntled viewers in the process.

‘Bagani’ airs weeknights after ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on ABS-CBN Primetime Bida. In the meantime, here is the full trailer for the series.

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