drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Encantadia’s Last Stand (For Now)

The retelling of ‘Encantadia’ is down to its last few episodes, sort of.

For the past 10 months, ‘Encantadia’ gave ‘Ang Probinsyano’ all they could handle. For every gunshot and fist that Cardo (Coco Martin) throws to all criminal masterminds, the Sang’gres respond with mystical powers that could not only repel the forces of evil, but also help revive their allies who have previously died.

The epic story of ‘Encantadia’ will have a total of 218 episodes when it was all said and done. With so many episodes (not to mention recurring characters) made, it should have been a feel-good tale for Kapuso fans around the world.

Instead, ‘Encantadia’ simply could not keep up with the more compelling series that is ‘Ang Probinsyano’. As of May 12, the former’s average rating is 24% per episode, which is not enough to overcome the near-40% marks that ‘Ang Probinsyano’ tallies.

Having spent a lot of money using elaborate production sets and nearly half of GMA’s roster of artists, the below average performance of ‘Encantadia’ should cause a lot of concern for GMA management. After all, the broadcast of the series brought in some high expectations considering the original series’ immense popularity.

Unfortunately, big-budgeted fantaseryes no longer work in this day and age. The focus of Philippine television is on the here, now and future (e.g. digital and high-definition broadcasts), and for whatever reason, GMA simply mortgaged that future in favor of quick fixes that do not go their way.

 

That said, ‘Encantadia”s long run will not be remembered for its mystical tales or its memorable characters. It will only be remembered for three things: ambitious, expensive and underwhelming.

Looking ahead, GMA will have another fantaserye (Mulawin vs. Ravena) that will once again question their financial capabilities. It a shame, but regardless of critical opinion, GMA will continue to risk them all in hopes of finally getting the victory, even if it means draining the last remaining reserves in their back pocket.

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entertainment, news, Philippines, Sports, television

GMA Is NOT The True No. 1 Station As Rasonable and Cruz Claim

The braintrust running GMA are at it again.

In an article published by the network last week, GMA executives Lilybeth Rasonable and Angela Cruz claimed that GMA is the No. 1 network and that AGB Nielsen is the more trusted ratings provider, based on the 77% mark that the network attained in the latest NUTAM and Urban Luzon ratings. While that was a good reason to cheer, ratings is not the only measuring stick towards becoming a top network.

As harsh as it sounds, GMA is nowhere close to what ABS-CBN has done. For several years, GMA is plagued by a variety of issues, most which have been thoroughly discussed to on this blog.

To summarize, here are the concerns that have frustrated the Kapuso network.

Lack of Quality Talents

Talents, in this case, are the actors and hosts of various GMA programs. This is already self-explanatory, as Rasonable has had trouble overseeing the development and utilization of GMA’s roster of talents.

Labor Woes

Following the concerns that its employees were illegally dismissed, the National Labor Relations Commission has no choice but to force GMA to pay sums of money to them. The well-documented struggle of TAG (Talents Associated with GMA) only added to GMA’s poor reputation, and the NLRC’s decision serves to give them justice.

Streamlining of Operations

Despite GMA’s claims of over P2 billion in revenue, cash within the network remains few and far between. Right now, GMA is streamlining its operations, which started by closing most of their regional operations.

Unwise Usage of Funds

The shortage of cash only got worse when GMA began to produce a new installment of ‘Encantadia’. They would have been smart enough by saving some of the money for more important things, such as HD, digital broadcasts, and the improvement of the much-maligned GMA News TV.

A New Investor

CEO Felipe Gozon has already expressed his intention to sell some of his shares to prospective investors. However, the GMA executive should have done this a long time ago, and considering the ongoing issues that GMA faced, that may be too late to resuscitate the network.

These are just some of the concerns that plague GMA in recent years. Overall, despite the so-called proclamation that GMA is the true No. 1 network, they can never be the real No. 1 unless they fix these long-standing issues.

That said, the onus is on Rasonable and other executives to justify GMA’s No. 1 billing through a network-wide rebuilding program. Because as it stands, GMA is not even close to fit the bill as the Philippines’ best network.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

Goin’ Bulilit’s Real Archrival, Eleven Years After

Remember ‘Bubble Gang Jr.’?

For those who have grown up watching ‘Bubble Gang’ for the past 21 years, some may not remember this short-lived spinoff. Yes, ‘Bubble Gang Jr.’ was GMA’s own attempt to counter ABS-CBN”s ‘Goin’ Bulilit’, using their own child stars in hopes of replicating the same formula that made its parent show a success.

‘Bubble Gang Jr.’ first premiered on May 8, 2005, four months after ‘Goin’ Bulilit’ took off. The notable cast members of the show include BJ ‘Tolits’ Forbes, Ella Guevara, Miguel Tanfelix, Sam Bumatay, Empress Schuck and Joyce Ching.

The show was essentially an introduction to several ‘StarStruck Kids’ alumni, as it was one of their first projects following the conclusion of the reality series. It also introduced viewers to BJ ‘Tolits’ Forbes, whose claim to fame at the time was on a Tide commercial.

While ‘Bubble Gang Jr.’ showed some promise, it failed to make an impact against the well-established ‘Goin’ Bulilit’. The fact that the spinoff was hastily created from the start contributed to its short run, and as a result, GMA cancelled ‘Bubble Gang Jr.’ following its final episode on August 7, 2005.

Overall, ‘Bubble Gang Jr.’ lasted only 14 episodes. On the contrary, ‘Goin’ Bulilit’ has aired over 550 episodes since 2005, and has seen a fair amount of child talent come and go.

Although ‘Bubble Gang Jr.’ met its unfortunate end after a near-four month run, some of its stars found success in the years after the show’s cancellation. Miguel Tanfelix, for instance, reemerged in shows like ‘Niño’, ‘Once Upon a Kiss’ and ‘Ismol Family’, while Joyce Ching became a main cast member on ‘Bubble Gang’ and is also seen in the teleserye ‘Hahamakin ang Lahat’.

Despite that, the lesson that ‘Bubble Gang Jr.’ provided was difficult to accept for GMA and its management. Let’s face it, had ‘Bubble Gang Jr.’ remained on the air today, more up-and-coming talent would have been showcased.

Alas, GMA’s own mistakes only served to doom the show. To this day, ‘Bubble Gang Jr.’ remains a show that GMA regrets, and after 11 years, it continues to haunt the network and its Artist Center for its inability to hone new stars.

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entertainment, live events, Philippines, television

A Look Back at the First and Only GMA Artist Center Ball

Remember the first and only time GMA held the Artist Center Ball?

On November 8, 2011, the GMA Artist Center staged its own ball at the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati. A majority of Artist Center talents attended the event, each of whom showed up in their most elaborate attire.

The GMA Artist Center Ball was presented in response to the growing glamor of ABS-CBN’s Star Magic Ball. At the time it was held, the Star Magic Ball had been staged five times since its inception in 2007.

The theme of the 2011 event was about the launching of the short-lived Profiles magazine. It was supposed to be GMA’s answer to the annual Star Magic catalogue magazine, but it only had one catalogue before it was shut down that same year.

Unfortunately, the 2011 Artist Center Ball marked the last such event for the network. Lack of funds, declining television ratings and programming concerns were too much for GMA to handle, and they have not produced a ball since.

On the contrary, ABS-CBN’s Star Magic Ball continues to put on a show for all of its talents. In fact, the tenth edition of the ball will take place tomorrow night, which should only add insult to injury for GMA’s Artist Center and even to Entertainment department head Lilybeth Rasonable.

Five years after the last Artist Center Ball, there are still questions of what might have been. Regardless of the unfortunate circumstances, Kapuso faithful can only hope for the best, as GMA tries to make sense of their ongoing dilemmas.

For those who may have forgotten the last GMA Artist Center Ball, Pep.ph has some interesting photo galleries to show for. Click the following links and look back at a time when Kapuso stars used to show up in their glamorous dresses and suits for this occasion.

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business, entertainment, fantasy, news, Philippines, public affairs, television

How Did Encantadia and Other Fantaseryes Hurt GMA in the Long Term?

GMA’s big investment on fantaseryes took its toll on the network’s long-term plans. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

The upcoming requel of ‘Encantadia’ is worth watching, that is, if you’re really a die-hard Kapuso fan.

But while anticipation is high on the new ‘Encantadia’, the broadcasting and financial aspect of GMA leaves a lot to be desired. It’s already 2016, and yet GMA is still way behind its competitors as far as their broadcast standards are concerned.

Much of the blame was due to the numerous big-budget primetime fantaseryes that GMA produced in the mid to late 2000s. With so much money invested on these projects, their ability to spend on updated equipment, facilities and other production and talent matters was compromised in the long term.

From 2004 to 2011, GMA produced big-budget fantaseryes such as ‘Mulawin’, ‘Darna’, the ‘Encantadia’ trilogy, ‘Captain Barbell’ and ‘Dyesebel’, among others. They were able to succeed in the ratings, but the high costs of making these series soon took its toll on GMA.

Looking at how GMA currently stacks up with ABS-CBN and TV5, it is clear that they have a lot of catching up to do. In fact, there were some key factors present on ABS-CBN and TV5 that were absent on GMA, such as:

  • An independent sports division (Shakey’s V-League and Manny Pacquiao fights, among others, were co-produced by other outfits)
  • Experimental 16:9 HD broadcasts (GMA still airs its programs in 4:3 standard definition, save for recent imported programs and TAPE-produced ‘Princess in the Palace; GMA also lacks an HD channel of its own)
  • Sister digital TV channels (ABS-CBN has CineMo and Yey!, while TV5 has Catsup)
  • Cable and satellite TV subscription service (ABS-CBN has SkyCable, while TV5 has Cignal)
  • Video-on-demand, livestream and digital-exclusive online service (ABS-CBN has iWanTV, while TV5 has News5Everywhere and Digital5)

Factor in the ongoing problems within the Artist Center, GMA’s regional networks, sister station GMA News TV, GMA Films and the public relationship department, and you have a network that is now standing on just one leg. Poor GMA.

It’s a pity to see GMA struggle at almost everything in recent years, and now that they’ll produce a requel of ‘Encantadia’, more problems lie ahead. That said, if GMA continues its ongoing slide, they will be in for a rude awakening.

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news, Philippines, public affairs, television

Action-Packed Imbestigador Returns

‘Imbestigador’ marked its 15th year with a return to the classic action-packed format and a ten-part election series ‘Isyu ni Juan’. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

Last Saturday marked the return of the ‘old’ ‘Imbestigador’.

The 15-year-old investigative public service program kicked off the new year with a bang, as they revived the action-packed approach that addresses a variety of complaints from the public. Gone is the more recent format that featured dramatizations from GMA’s pool of artists.

In addition, ‘Imbestigador’ launched ‘Isyu ni Juan’, a ten-part special election series. Host Mike Enriquez sat down for an exclusive interview with the country’s top presidential aspirants, as they try to address various national issues and present their campaign platforms for the upcoming elections.

The return to the classic format of ‘Imbestigador’ was enthusiastically welcomed by the public, who have criticized the show for its watered-down approach. While recent episodes continued to focus on investigating various crimes, it somehow shifted to solving murderous acts, something that rival ABS-CBN show ‘SOCO: Scene of the Crime Operatives’ is doing these days.

Making matter worse is the emphasis to include actors in dramatizing the scene of the crime. As a result, ratings for ‘Imbestigador’ declined while public clamor to revive its old format intensified.

Thankfully, both Mike Enriquez and the show’s producers realized their shortcomings with the drama-focused approach. Thus, ‘Imbestigador’ was reborn, back to what it used to be.

Now that ‘Imbestigador’ is back to doing things their own way, expect more action and intensity from the longest-running investigative program in the country. While its ratings may no longer be as high as it used to be, getting back to the classic format should satisfy the demands of not only long-time viewers, but also new ones.

‘Imbestigador’ continues to air every Saturday at 5:15 p.m. on GMA.

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