entertainment, news, public affairs, Sports, television

FTT Year 2013 in Review: Other Networks

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2014, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article will focus on the minor TV networks in the Philippines.

Highlights

Solar Entertainment again shuffled its networks last December. Solar News Channel left UHF Channel 21 for the clearer signals of VHF Channel 9. In exchange, ETC was moved back to UHF Channel 21. In the months leading up to the exchange, SNC’s flagship programs ‘Solar Network News‘ and ‘Solar Nightly News‘ began airing on ETC, albeit only for free TV viewers.

The beginning of the year also saw Eagle Broadcasting’s Net 25 adopt their own version of TeleRadyo during the weekday slots. The apparent reason behind the simulcasts of DZEC 1062 programs is to compensate for the lack of original programming that has haunted the network for several years. In addition, Net 25 aired Iglesia ni Cristo Centennial specials, which is not mandatory considering the network already has INC-TV 49 on free TV.

Lowlights

IBC-13, perhaps the most irrelevant network in the country, lost TV5’s AKTV in May after its blocktime contract expired. Despite that, it was allowed to air the PBA Governors’ Cup games until the end of the quarterfinals. But while the network was able to air two United Football League Cup playoff games and a replay of the Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios fight, IBC continued to suffer from declining revenue and repetitive programs. And with the network still not following the MTRCB ratings guidelines, it looks like IBC will face more problems come 2014.

In March, the government-owned PTV-4 accepted a new charter signed by President Noynoy Aquino that enables the government to infuse P5 billion to revitalize the network. As it stands, the network is expected to rebuild its aging infrastructure and upgrade its existing facilities. However, the network continues to experience problems with its programming, especially when it aired UNTV’s ‘Ang Dating Daan’ for a brief period.

Outlook

Heading into 2014, several minor stations will enter the crossroads of their broadcasting lives. Solar Entertainment is currently in talks with San Miguel Corporation’s Ramon Ang for a potential minority stake on the company. IBC-13 continues to look for a new suitor, while sister network PTV-4 tries to take advantage of a new charter. And Eagle Broadcasting’s Net 25 and INC-TV will celebrate the Iglesia ni Cristo’s centennial. With that said, expect a rollercoaster of broadcasting emotions this 2014 for the minor networks.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, game show, movies, news, Philippines, public affairs, reality show, talk show, television

FTT Year 2013 in Review: GMA

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2014, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article will focus on the GMA Network, which had a rather abysmal performance this year.

The Positives

There have been a few bright spots for the Kapuso network. ‘Bubble Gang‘, ‘Eat Bulaga‘ and ‘Startalk‘ continued to impress in the ratings on their 18th year. ‘Pepito Manaloto‘ and ‘Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho‘ became social media stars, and ‘I-Witness’ racked up nominations on various international award-giving bodies. They even gained notoriety by unveiling eight-year-old child star Ryzza Mae Dizon as host of her eponymous talk show.

But perhaps GMA’s most important contribution of the year was ‘My Husband’s Lover’, whose same-sex relationship storyline was both praised and derided by critics during its run. The network also scored big with Megan Young‘s victory at the 2013 Miss World and Manny Pacquiao‘s win over Brandon Rios.

GMA’s other network News TV 11 branched into the teleserye genre with ‘Bayan Ko’ and ‘Titser’, with both series earning critical and commercial acclaim. Despite the fact that both programs were uncharacteristic of a typical all-news network, its political and socially conscious storylines made it an appropriate choice to air on the said network.

The Negatives

Teleseryes like the revived ‘Anna Karenina’, ‘Indio’, ‘Kahit Nasaan Ka Man’ and ‘Love & Lies’ didn’t even last at least six months, and despite the success of ‘My Husband’s Lover’, none of the other teleseryes clicked with viewers. GMA also tried to place a kiligserye (‘With a Smile’) in the morning slot, but it didn’t work out either.

On weekends, ‘Party Pilipinas‘, ‘Extra Challenge‘, ‘Teen Gen‘, ‘Dormitoryo’, ‘Hot TV’, ‘One Day Isang Araw’, and ‘Para Sa ‘Yo Ang Laban Na ‘To’ became victims of GMA’s continued purging of that slot. Eventually GMA resorted to airing four movie blocks on weekends in order to save costs. But the truth is, a majority of GMA programs have been extremely lackluster of late, and as a result of declining ratings and ad sales, its revenue declined from last year.

Worse, GMA programs ‘Bubble Gang’, ‘Unang Hirit’, ‘Party Pilipinas’ and ‘The Ryzza Mae Show’ were summoned by the MTRCB for indecent episodes. Even sister network News TV 11 suffered thanks to repetitive public affairs programs and unconventional movie blocks.

Outlook

So what’s next for GMA? They are expected to unveil a trio of new teleseryes starring Jennylyn Mercado (‘Rhodora X’), Marian Rivera (‘Carmela’) and Louise delos Reyes (‘Kambal Sirena’) in the new year. However, with its rival continuing to push the envelope thanks to its younger roster of stars and newly-acquired television franchises, GMA is again under pressure to improve its lackluster 2013 showing. And with its lack of purpose and ability to adapt and change haunting them, it looks like GMA is poised for another down year.

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entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

GMA’s Disservice to Pacquiao Fights

GMA will not air the replay of the Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios fight, presumably for ratings and earnings concerns.

For the past few weeks, GMA has been replaying classic fights of Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios, which I think is unnecessary. And now GMA is not even willing to air a replay of the Pacquiao-Rios fight this Sunday night, and instead they gave the airtime to an Aljur Abrenica concert. It is a last-second decision that is undeserving and unfaithful to the network.

This is not the first time that GMA refused to schedule the same-day replay of a Pacquiao fight. From 2008-11, Pacquiao replays were aired on RPN 9, before it was reformatted to ETC. When Solar found no takers for a free TV replay, GMA stepped in and replayed the fights on either the main Channel 7 or News TV 11. However, after recent Pacquiao losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez, GMA decided to again defer from airing the same-day replays and Solar was forced to look for a free TV partner.

At the last minute, IBC 13 stepped in to air the replay. The network, which recently ended its blocktime deal with TV5 last May, has a reputation for airing sports events, even introducing Manny Pacquiao to Filipino viewers in 1996. However, its signal quality will be put into question, so it remains to be seen how IBC would fare in airing the replay.

Meanwhile, GMA’s snub underscores its lack of purpose towards sports coverage. I have already written before about GMA’s lack of sports coverage, and their non-committal to a same-day Pacquiao replay was an example of their reluctance. They would have also moved the replay to GMA News TV, but they have previously committed to air the documentary on the John F. Kennedy assassination.

Instead the viewers who missed out have no choice but to watch the fight on IBC 13. And it’s a bad thing, because GMA has the wider reach and the superior signals, giving them a clear advantage. However, concerns on earnings and slumping ratings left the network with no option but to refuse a replay of the fight.

In the end, what GMA did is an act of cowardliness. Refusing to air an encore presentation of the Pacquiao-Rios fight was an example of how the Kapuso network had become: a cheap, inept and reckless network. And should Pacquiao lose, it will only add insult to injury for the management.

 

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Philippines, Sports, television, United States

No to Pacquiao Replays on GMA

GMA is once again attempting to draw extensive hype by airing classic Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios fights. However, GMA’s old approach doesn’t usually end with a win for the Pacman.

GMA recently aired replays of classic Manny Pacquiao fights, in addition to Brandon Rios‘ more recent bouts. But here’s my question: Why do you need a replay when all you need is just a pre-fight primer?

For the past several years, GMA and ABS-CBN have been the home to two of the best pound-for-pound fighters today. GMA has Manny Pacquiao, while ABS-CBN has Nonito Donaire. The two have some things in common: both were promoted by Top Rank Boxing, have won world championships, earned endorsement deals with various products, and inspired future boxers in the Philippines. For some reason they are boxing’s version of a teleserye; GMA would air a Pacquiao fight one day, and then ABS-CBN will respond with a Donaire fight. This one-upsmanship has served well for both networks, with high ratings and earnings after each fight.

However, after recent defeats by both fighters, it becomes clear that the game of playing it safe is necessary for them to bounce back. But while ABS-CBN decided to air a primer of Donaire’s upcoming fight with Vic Darchinyan on Studio 23, GMA decided to continue its tried and tested aggressive promotion of Pacquiao through the airing of his classic bouts. Seems like they’re doing it simply to add fuel to the fire, isn’t it? But after losing to Juan Manuel Marquez in the previous bout, did GMA make the right decision?

My answer is an obvious NO. GMA should have stuck with a more low-key approach in an effort to not overhype the fight. In the previous Pacquiao defeats to Timothy Bradley and Marquez, the extreme hype and overconfidence that GMA exuded during their promotional ads proved crucial in the defeat. Let’s face it. Filipinos got used to Pacquiao winning at all costs, that they were confident that he can do the same heading into the Bradley fight. As it turned out, the younger Bradley did the right thing in stopping the somewhat overconfident Pacquiao during their fight, and that overconfidence proved costly too in the next fight against Marquez, in which he was able to knock out Pacquiao.

For GMA, it’s a sense of desperation, given that the network doesn’t have its own sports division and that they only air Pacquiao fights in cooperation with Solar Sports. And while ABS-CBN has enough resources to build their sports department, GMA lacks the necessary revenue and in-house crew to produce this big event. Pacquiao may be the biggest draw come November 24, but in the end, it comes down to the most highly-produced and well-hyped bout of the year.

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