drama, entertainment, movies, Philippines, Sports, television

Is ABS-CBN Set to Join GMA and TV5’s Bandwagon?

A re-run of ‘The Heirs’ will air this Sunday morning on ABS-CBN.

In recent years, ABS-CBN has stayed away from airing re-runs of teleseryes and dubbing foreign films in the Filipino language. But when they aired ‘Transporter 3’ in Filipino last week, it appears as if ABS-CBN has joined the bandwagon that was started by their rivals TV5 and GMA.

Soon after, ABS-CBN followed the lead of its arch-rival thanks to this announcement.

ABS-CBN decided to air a ‘Royal Rewind’ of ‘The Heirs’, the hit Koreanovela starring Lee Min Ho, beginning this Sunday. This was in response to GMA’s highly-rated re-run of ‘My Love from the Star’, which outrated the NBA Playoffs, Pinoy Pride and Nonito Donaire boxing matches, and Kapamilya Blockbusters on the same timeslot.

Curiously, neither program air on the same timeslot during weekdays. ‘The Heirs’ is matched up against the re-run of ‘Jewel in the Palace’, while ‘My Love from the Star’ opposes ‘Mirabella’.

The re-run of ‘The Heirs’ is basically a retaliation made by ABS-CBN. GMA, for their part, has capitalized on the former’s delayed broadcast of sporting events to gain some high ratings for ‘My Love from the Star’, unlike before when their Tagalized movies in the morning rate less than ABS-CBN’s. And it was only logical, since people with internet connection would know the results in real time.

But with the NBA season about to end, and with the next ‘Pinoy Pride’ still a few months away, ABS-CBN decided to retaliate by counterprogramming GMA’s Asianovela with one of their own, all for the sake of getting high ratings on the timeslot they failed to dominate of late. If this is one of those ‘bandwagon’ acts that ABS-CBN committed, so be it.

Going back to ABS-CBN’s airing of ‘Transporter 3’ in Filipino, it is rare to have the network air a movie on Sunday nights. After all, 3/4 of ‘Sunday’s Best’ broadcasts is concentrated on concerts, live events and documentaries. But when they aired ‘Transporter 3’ in Filipino last week, it was a stab in the back, considering that the network has avoided the same route as TV5 and GMA’s ‘masa’-oriented English-language films.

For ABS-CBN, it is a matter of staying away from the rivals’ desperation tactics. Even though the network is now the undisputed No. 1 ratings-wise, viewers can only hope that the Kapamilya network will continue to stick to what works best, and that is airing unique programs that will appeal to all classes.

entertainment, news, Philippines, television

In 100 Words: Tagalized ‘Thrilla in Manila’ on GMA News TV

I recently tuned in to GMA News TV, and found out they did a horrible job in airing the ‘Thrilla in Maniladocumentary. For some reason GMA went all-out and dubbed everything in Filipino, including interviews with the subjects involved. Their decision to dub the documentary in Filipino still bugs me.

I’ve written before about GMA’s all-out dubbing of foreign films in Filipino. But dubbing a foreign documentary like this is worse, because I hate the way they dubbed interviews of various subjects in another language. And documentaries do not involve acting. It is clear that GMA’s making ‘quick fixes’ in hopes of regaining its viewership, which is on the decline for several years. And dubbing foreign documentaries such as this is not the answer.

entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

Studio 23’s Filipinization

The ‘Filipinization’ of Studio 23 turned the network away from quality upscale programming to youth-based, male dominated and mass-friendly programming. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN).

I happened to take a brief look at CSI on Studio 23 recently, and I was shocked when they dubbed the program to Filipino. It was uncharacteristic and unusual to begin with. I remember Studio 23’s programming as being ‘different’ from other television networks, but in recent years they gradually shed its upper-class appeal in favor of a more mass-oriented approach.

Studio 23’s ‘Filipinization’ began as early as 2004, introducing its most popular and recognizable slogan ‘KaBarkada Mo’. They aired supplementary programming for the popular reality show ‘Pinoy Big Brother‘, along with the addition of original self-produced programs aimed at young audiences. By then they were airing the UAAP and NCAA games, along with classic Filipino movies on its ‘Lunch Box Office’ and ‘Barkada Nights’ blocks. But the transformation was only the beginning.

In August 2010 a slightly modified slogan was introduced. The slogan ‘IbaKabarkada’ signaled a ‘new’ era for the UHF network, gradually moving away from the upscale program that they used to air in favor of shows aiming to a mass audience. Gone were the English newscast ‘News Central’ and its morning news show ‘Breakfast’. ‘IbaBalita’ took ‘News Central”s place and used Filipino as the main tongue. Reality shows like ‘Survivor’ and ‘The Amazing Race’ were also taken off the air, as are American drama series such as ‘Smallville’, ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ’24’.  Instead they devoted more air time to early morning anime, Asianovelas and Latinovelas. More Filipino classic movies and sports events were also being aired by the network.

Perhaps the biggest move made by Studio 23 was the transfer of traditional American canned programs to the late afternoon slots in favor of Barkada Nights, Philippine Azkals soccer, IbaBalita, WWE, UFC and NBA events. By the start of 2013, all of the canned American programs were dubbed in Filipino.

So why did Studio 23 turned into a mass-oriented UHF television channel? A lot of it had to do with the growth of cable television and internet subscribers. More and more people subscribe in order to get more viewing options and catch up with all the latest news and information in a flash. Studio 23 used to provide viewers with ‘FUSE’ (fresh from the US episodes) of their favorite programs, but gradually deemphasized it following the ‘IbaKabarkada’ launch. Nevertheless they still air select canned programs from the US, albeit dubbed in Filipino in order for the masses to understand.

The network itself also saw the opportunity to acquire more sports properties in an effort to shift attention to a predominantly male audience. In 2011, Studio 23 started airing NBA games through a co-production agreement with Solar Sports. They also acquired the rights to air WWE programs, Philippine Azkals games, Top Rank Boxing and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

In the three years since using the ‘IbaKabarkada’ slogan, Studio 23 shot its way among the top five television networks in the country. However, I think the network needs to fine-tune their programming further. They need to reduce the programming hours of Filipino movies, which on average is six hours a day, and introduce more original programming. They also had to expand their sports programming; ABS-CBN does have the Balls Network, so why not? And air less MYX and Sine-Skwela, because it’s ‘nakakasawa’.

In 1996, Studio 23 was the Premium Network, airing quality programs for the upscale family. But with all the technological advancements, it morphed into the ‘IbaKabarkada’ Network, airing programs for the youth, the males, and the masses. Today it is one of the most-watched television networks in the country, owed mostly to the ‘Filipinization’ that took nearly a decade to develop.