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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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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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