Philippines, Sports, television, United States

Tipid Mode: ABS-CBN’s Call of NBA Finals No Longer On-Site in Recent Years

Talk about cutting costs.

In case no one has paid attention yet, the Filipino-language commentary of the 2018 NBA Finals on ABS-CBN Channel 2 is currently held inside the network’s studios in Quezon City. No, not in Oakland, California or in Cleveland, Ohio.

Unless you’re TJ Manotoc who made the trip to the U.S. alone for the past five years (this year’s Finals will be his first since getting the call to join ABS-CBN’s North America Bureau), the commentators have stayed home for the most part. And there are reasons why they were no longer required to take the trip stateside to call the Finals.

First off, there are concerns surrounding budget. Considering the network’s long-term vision of digitalization, anything that involves plane tickets, hotel reservations, visas and working permits for at least a three-week trip may be too much of a burden for ABS-CBN.

It also did not help that the NBA returned to a 2-2-1-1-1 setup for the Finals starting in 2014. Going back and forth to different cities between Games 4-7 only adds to the cost.

Next, ABS-CBN is on a tight schedule. They made the NBA Finals available in both Channel 2 and S+A (and in different commentary languages) for this particular reason because the former has a strict schedule to follow, whereas the latter has greater flexibility with it.

In the case of overtime games like what happened in Game 1 last Friday, Channel 2 immediately ended its broadcast within minutes of the final buzzer in order to make way for ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’. This means that the local commentators would have no choice but to immediately bid farewell rather than dive deeper into the game.

And finally, ABS-CBN changed its commentary approach in the Finals in order to appeal to the masses. Which is why, whether traditional basketball viewers liked it or not, they hired Benjie Paras to join alongside Ronnie Magsanoc and Boom Gonzalez in order to describe the game in a simpler manner to fit the average Filipino’s needs.

Sending this trio stateside may be awkward to begin with considering their more liberal and oftentimes unorthodox style of commentary. But they were promoted to call the Finals for a reason: to make the NBA game easier for Filipino masses to understand.

With all due respect to the likes of Quinito Henson and Andy Jao (who were the first to actually call an NBA Finals direct from the U.S.), times are really changing. And ABS-CBN’s rather radical decision to stay home than call the Finals stateside may be their wisest decision yet considering their plans for the long-term.

People may not like this new approach but there is no other option. ABS-CBN is thinking about the future, and viewers must understand it.

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business, digital television, Philippines, television

TVplus Sells 2 Million Units, Plus GMA Continues DTT Preparations

A cheaper price tag of P1499 and the expansion to other key areas in the country has helped ABS-CBN TVplus reach the two million mark. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN)

A cheaper price tag of P1499 and the expansion to other key areas in the country helped ABS-CBN TVplus reach the two million mark. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN)

The ABS-CBN TVplus black box continues to sell like pancakes.

Parent company ABS-CBN recently announced that the sale of the TVplus box has reached two million units, thus surpassing its year-end target. The swift rise in sales was helped by the product’s cheaper price tag of P1499 (originally P2500, then P1999), as well as national expansion to key regions in the country.

ABS-CBN CEO and president Carlo Katigbak shared his enthusiasm for the TVplus box. According to Katigbak,

ABS-CBN TVplus continues to improve the Filipino’s viewing experience though digital quality broadcast and a transformative entertainment experience by offering more choices of channels and even opportunities to watch special TV events, greatly supporting our mission to serve the Filipino people.

Launched in February 2015, ABS-CBN TVplus carries a select number of major free TV networks, including ABS-CBN and S+A. It also carries ABS-CBN’s exclusive digital channels Yey!, CineMo, Knowledge Channel, and DZMM TeleRadyo, as well as pay-per-view channel Kapamilya Box Office (KBO).

Meanwhile, rival network GMA continues its planned transition to digital television. The network revealed that it plans to invest P416 million on transmitter facilities to aid in the migration process.

Previously, GMA announced its plan to invest P1.5 billion on digital equipment, which was lower than the P3 billion that ABS-CBN spends for its own digital migration. GMA also unveiled a prototype of its upcoming digital television product, which is expected to combine the capabilities of a digital receiver and a set-top box.

While ABS-CBN continues to make strides in the development of its digital television arm, it is clear that GMA is taking things slow. Considering that the Kapuso network has had a history of questionable investments and a poor management reputation, Felipe Gozon’s ‘conservative’ approach may be the hopeful solution for now.

Still, with the target towards shutdown of analog broadcasts in 2019 within reach, GMA may not have enough time to deal with the impending migration. Sooner or later, the Kapuso network must act now, otherwise every household may end up with an ABS-CBN TVplus box, leaving GMA with little room to grow.

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entertainment, Philippines, television

In 100 Words: Sweeping Changes on TV5

According to a PEP report, TV5 will undergo a major retrenchment and a realignment to their programming. (Logo courtesy of TV5)

Expect major changes on TV5.

According to a report from Pep.ph, TV5 is set to dissolve a few of their departments, notably the entertainment department. The employees that will be affected by the move may be given voluntary separation packages from the network.

The report also stated that a realignment of TV5’s programming grid will be in order. This led to their decision to defer the broadcast of the newly-released sitcom ‘Misterless Misis’ until further notice.

The supposed third episode of ‘Misterless Misis’ did not air last Sunday due to a two-hour ‘Nike Rise’ basketball exhibition match, fueling rumors of a quick cancellation. Instead, it was temporarily shelved.

For more on this development, click on this link.

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