business, lifestyle, Philippines, television, TV shopping

Shop TV Now on GMA

GMA enters the world of TV shopping when it joined forces with Solar Entertainment’s Shop TV. (Logo courtesy of Shop TV, Solar Entertainment)

GMA Network is now joining the TV shopping bandwagon.

Last night marked GMA’s first foray into the TV shopping genre, when it joined forces with the Solar Entertainment-owned Shop TV. This brings the total number of free TV stations with at least one TV shopping program to ten, the list of which are as follows (parenthesis indicate the TV shopping programs the channel currently airs):

  • ABS-CBN (O Shopping)
  • PTV-4 (TV Shop, EZ Shop, Shop Japan)
  • TV5 (Shop Japan)
  • GMA (Shop TV)
  • IBC-13 (TV Shop, EZ Shop)
  • ETC/SBN-21 (Shop TV)
  • Net 25 (EZ Shop)
  • 2nd Avenue/RJTV-29 (Shop TV)
  • BEAM-31 (O Shopping, Shop Japan, TV Shop)
  • AksyonTV (Shop Japan)

Shop TV features products that are advertised on the Home Shopping Network in the United States. The network airs as a standalone cable channel on SkyCable, Cignal and various other outlets, while also acting as a program block on all of its Solar Entertainment sister channels, save for CT.

With the new collaboration, GMA now hopes to compete against its fellow Big Three networks and their TV shopping affiliates. The alliance should also attract a more sizable audience for Shop TV, who look to use GMA as a tool to further promote and advertise its products.

The Shop TV on GMA block currently airs every weekday from 12:30 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.

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entertainment, hits, music, Philippines, reality show, songs, talent show, United States

In 150 Words: Goodbye American Idol

Season 15 will be the last for ‘American Idol’.

FOX announced its cancellation during the week of ‘American Idol”s 14th season finale, citing declining ratings, competition with similar programs such as ‘The Voice’ and falling record sales for recent AI alumni. ‘American Idol”s final season will commence in January 2016.

Debuting in 2002, ‘American Idol’ quickly became one of America’s most-watched programs, ranking atop the ratings for several years and averaging 30 million viewers at its peak. The show became a launchpad for singers such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson.

For Filipino viewers, AI was credited for introducing Filipino-Americans such as Jasmine Trias and Jessica Sanchez to the national consciousness. Sanchez, the runner-up to Phillip Phillips in Season 11, even earned an endorsement deal with Bench and Smart Communications.

‘American Idol’ currently airs in the Philippines on ETC (via satellite) and Star World (within hours of original American broadcast). The show previously aired on ABC-5 and QTV/GMA News TV on free TV.

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action, comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, movies, Philippines, reality show, suspense, television, United States

With Jack City Now Cable-Exclusive, Jack TV’s Future Becomes Uncertain

Jack City became a cable-exclusive network on September 1, ending Solar Entertainment’s affiliation with BEAM Channel 31. (Logo courtesy of Solar Entertainment Corporation)

It was another loss for Solar Entertainment.

A week after selling the Solar News Channel (now 9TV) and part of the Radio Philippines Network (RPN-9) to Aliw Broadcasting’s Antonio Cabangon Chua, Solar’s Jack City channel decided to part ways with affiliate Radio Mindanao Network (BEAM Channel 31). As a result, Jack City became a cable-only entity while BEAM freelanced with other blocktimers.

That left Solar Entertainment with just two free TV channel affiliates: ETC on the Southern Broadcasting Network (SBN-21), and 2nd Avenue on the Rajah Broadcasting Network (RJTV-29).

With Jack City becoming an exclusive cable channel, what will the future hold for Jack TV?

Let’s face it. Jack TV is becoming a shell of its former self. Instead of capitalizing on the funny and breathtaking side of television, as Jack TV had emphasized in their early years, they have reverted back to where they were a decade ago: a mashup of Solar USA’s old format and Jack TV’s own.

Jack TV’s identity crisis is starting to become a cause of concern for Solar, and yet they insist that the network will be fine. But it is clear that the name Jack TV (and its red and yellow motif in particular) no longer fits the type of programming they have now.

The same cannot be said of Jack TV’s sister channel, Jack City. Their black and white motif is more fitting to their darker and more mature set of programs, which in essence pay tribute to their predecessors Solar USA, C/S and CHASE.

Simply put, Jack City is an even more superior channel than that of Jack TV. And while Jack TV can still put up a strong set of programs on a daily basis, it is obvious that the said channel is starting to become a liability with the presence of its sister channel.

That said, a merger between the two channels needs to be considered, if not implemented soon. Should this happen, the old format of Jack TV will have to be integrated into one of Solar’s existing channels, while Jack City will be retained, both in name and in format.

Merging the two networks will greatly benefit Solar Entertainment, since they will only lose one of their channels. Revenue issues have become well-documented for the Solar group, especially in the aftermath of their sale of SNC and RPN to Aliw, and a possible merger between Jack TV and Jack City will help alleviate such stress.

Still, it will be up to the company’s management for that to make it happen. For now, Jack TV and Jack City will remain separate entities, at least for the foreseeable future.

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education, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Solar News Channel Out, 9TV In

Solar News, along with the Solar News Channel, will officially become 9News and 9TV, respectively. The change will take effect on August 23. (Logo courtesy of 9News)

Channel 9 on Philippine free TV has a new name.

On August 23, Solar News Channel will officially rename themselves as 9TV, leaving behind its iconic ‘sun’ logo and blue and yellow scheme in favor of a more generic blue and red branding. In addition, the Solar News organization will change their name to 9News.

The announcement was first made on August 13 through a Twitter post of 9News senior anchor Jing Magsaysay. According to the said statement, the network’s rebrand ‘marks the beginning of the channel’s thrust to reach a wider audience and to strengthen its presence on free TV RPN-9.

Other than the brand change, the staff, objectives and values, and programming will be retained. However, the previously announced Kids Weekend, originally slated to premiere last August 16, will now be launched this Saturday, alongside other programs aimed towards a bigger audience.

The seeds of Channel 9’s rebrand were first sown in November 2013, when Ramon Ang acquired Solar News and a stake on RPN-9 from Solar Entertainment. Soon after, SNC and ETC traded channels, with SNC moving to RPN-9 and ETC to SBN-21.

Then in late July and early August, all news programs of SNC dropped the ‘Solar’ name, while the ‘sun’ logo and Solar News signage were taken off the network’s studios in Mandaluyong. And in a sign of things to come, all reporters of the said network are now required to use the 9News name after every report.

That said, the rebrand of the Solar News Channel to 9TV will officially mark the end of Solar Entertainment’s decade-long relationship with RPN. Solar was essential in privatizing RPN after two decades of government sequestration, but the loss of finances also led to their sale of Solar News and RPN to Ramon Ang, who promptly changed the direction of Channel 9.

This Saturday will mark a new era in Channel 9’s storied yet tumultuous history. And for 9TV, it is time to start fresh.

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cartoon, education, entertainment, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Is RPN-9 Destined to Return?

The RPN name and logo was last used on air in 2012, after which Solar Television took full control of the network’s airtime. (Logo courtesy of the Radio Philippines Network)

All eyes are on Channel 9 and a possible return to the RPN name.

On July 21, Solar News Channel decided to drop the word ‘Solar’ from its news programs. Consequentially, the renamed programs are now simply known as ‘Daybreak’ (morning), ‘The Headlines’ (news updates per 15 minutes), ‘Newsday’ (afternoon), ‘Cebuano News’ (Cebuano language afternoon), ‘Kapampangan News’ (Kapampangan language afternoon), ‘Network News’ (early evening), ‘Nightly News’ (late evening), and ‘Sports Desk’ (sports).

In a related development, Media Newser Philippines also reported through a network insider that News9, the news department of the original Radio Philippines Network, will also be revived to replace the Solar News name, with a target launch slated for the last quarter of 2014. The report came after Ramon Ang of San Miguel Corporation acquired RPN’s stake from Solar Entertainment.

Then starting August 16, cartoons and educational programs will take over SNC’s weekend morning programming. SNC’s ‘Kids Weekend’ will feature the return of ‘Sesame Street’ to Philippine television, as well as other memorable cartoons such as the ‘Care Bears’, ‘Strawberry Shortcake’, ‘Batman’ and the DC Comics Universe, and ‘Pokemon’.

With all these developments, does this mean the old Radio Philippines Network name will return on the air? Or will this lead to an even bigger plan?

Let’s face it, Channel 9 is and will always be known as RPN-9. Not Solar News Channel, C/S 9, Solar TV, ETC, or any other incarnation in its history. RPN has been an iconic brand on Philippine television, and through good times and bad, the network always provided a great show for its viewers.

More importantly, with SNC’s slow move away from a purely news-oriented network, the possibility of bringing back the RPN name on air seems certain. Even the revival of the long-running but recently retired newscast ‘NewsWatch’ is bound to happen.

But there is one problem. Ramon Ang recently acquired a 30% stake of GMA Network, which means that he now has two stations in his watch. According to Media Newser Philippines, a merger between GMA and Solar News is inevitable, unless Ang gives up partial ownership of Channel 9.

Ang’s ownership of both networks will certainly affect the fortunes of both parties. Since GMA News and Public Affairs is the more recognizable and more credible of the two, they will be more than happy to absorb Solar News into their department. And as far as viewers are concerned, Solar News remains an unproven commodity even after three years of continuous operation.

Then again, these are all possibilities and might be subject to change in the near future.

It is clear that the sun is definitely setting on Channel 9’s latest incarnation. As the ‘Solar’ name is quietly being retired from the brand, a new era in the history of the Radio Philippines Network is about to take place.

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entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television, United States

Decision Time for the NBA on ABS-CBN

The 2014 NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat will be shown on free TV’s ABS-CBN Channel 2, in the final year of its 3 1/2 year co-production deal with Solar Sports.

The NBA Finals begin Friday morning. And for ABS-CBN Sports, this will be their last chance to show NBA fans in the Philippines that they deserve to air the games live on free TV.

This year’s NBA Finals will mark the end of a 3 1/2 year co-production agreement between Solar Sports and ABS-CBN Sports. The agreement, signed in time for the 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend, came after erstwhile coveror RPN/Solar TV decided to rebrand into ETC.

However, the Solar/ABS-CBN alliance proved to be problematic from the beginning. The Kapamilya network was criticized for broadcasting a majority of the games on a delayed basis, something previous partner RPN rarely did. Much of the blame was centered on the games aired on Channel 2, which prioritizes more on its news and entertainment programs rather than sports events like the NBA.

In fact, in the recent NBA Finals, Monday games that begin at 8:00 am Manila time were aired on a delayed basis simply because of Kris Aquino’s lifestyle show ‘Kris TV’. Perhaps ABS-CBN does not want to risk preempting her show, or that Kris was too influential for the network. In any event, these recent decisions by ABS-CBN Sports does not sit well with most fans.

Fans have also balked at how the NBA assigns its games to its global broadcast partners. In fact, this year’s playoffs saw less compelling series such as the Indiana-Atlanta and Brooklyn-Toronto series feature prominently on Basketball TV, while the Miami Heat and some of the Western Conference series were usually given to ABS-CBN Sports. Similar complaints also took place in more recent postseasons, thanks in large part to social media.

And there is also the bad case of lack of timing and advertisement overload. Ads such as KFC, Tanduay and Master astringents have interrupted game commentary prior to tipoff or a play, before the commercial break, and after a game. Perhaps the most insulting part of ABS-CBN’s repertoire is the fact that they cut any player interviews at halftime and postgame just to show sponsored highlights or game scores.

As the NBA Finals begin this Friday, a decision needs to be made with regards to the fate of the league’s Philippine free TV coverage. ABS-CBN should be in the running for renewal, since ratings for the NBA games have been very good despite numerous complaints.

Another possible contender may be Sports5, whose open slots in the morning may be more suitable to live NBA coverage than ABS-CBN’s. And while GMA may be considered a dark-horse contender, their lack of a sports division may prevent them from even bidding for NBA rights.

For now, the NBA coverage will remain with ABS-CBN Sports, at least until the end of this year’s Finals. But a decision regarding NBA’s free TV rights in the Philippines will have to begin as soon as possible. And basketball fans can’t wait.

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