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GMA’s Own 5:00 P.M. Regional Programming Issue

ABS-CBN is not the only major television network with a regional programming problem.

Archrival GMA also endures its fair share of issues when it comes to regional programs. Similar to what ABS-CBN experiences, GMA’s biggest concern is at the 5:00 p.m. slot where regional news programs are aired in the provinces in lieu of shows relayed straight from Metro Manila.

Just last Monday, GMA’s Mindanao-based channels began to air a new regional newscast titled ‘One Mindanao’. The program is anchored by longtime Mindanao-based GMA anchors Tek Ocampo, Sarah Hilomen-Velasco and Real Soroche, and is aired on weekdays at 5:00 p.m.

Like ‘Balitang Amianan’ (Dagupan and Ilocos) and ‘Balitang Bisdak’ (Cebu), ‘One Mindanao’ preempts the first 30-40 minutes of ‘Wowowin’, the GMA afternoon game show hosted by Willie Revillame. But as far as GMA is concerned, this was just a minor inconvenience.

Consider the following factors:

  1. Most GMA regional networks are now mere relay outlets following the closure of most stations and the layoff of its employees.
  2. ‘Wowowin’ is still aired after the newscasts, thus no need to reair the show the following morning.
  3. ‘Wowowin’ more often than not beats an ABS-CBN Koreanovela (only a few relay areas receive such programs due to regional ‘TV Patrol’) in the ratings game regardless of either Kantar or AGB Nielsen.

With that in mind, it was clear to GMA that they are undeterred about the overall programming disparity between Greater Manila Area and regional areas. However, with the entry of ‘One Mindanao’ in the Mindanao area, they now have every reason to worry since ‘Wowowin”s audience will be reduced significantly.

Issues among ABS-CBN and GMA’s regional network programs are in dire need of a resolution. The 5:00 p.m. slot, usually a haven for regional networks to produce their newscasts, is one example of what each network needs to do to make things all the more parallel.

But since GMA currently has less regional stations than ABS-CBN, their own concern may be revisited once they decide to resuscitate some of these stations. For now, GMA can only hope that their regional networks’ standing will be improved with each step.

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FTT Year 2015 in Review: Television’s Worst

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2016, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 10 worst moments in Philippine television this year.

GMA Scraps Sunday TV Mass

On January 4, GMA decided to cease its broadcast of the Family TV Mass organized by the Society of Divine Word – Mission Communications Foundation, Inc. (SVD-MCFI), replacing it with the movie block ‘Kapuso Sine Klasika’. The Sunday Mass of SVD-MCFI returned to its old home in IBC-13 a week later.

Poor ratings of the Sunday Mass was among the reasons behind the cancellation. Despite the claims of many that GMA is promoting apathy and not favoring the Catholic religion, they still managed to cover (albeit not as dedicated as other stations) the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines, as well as produce a religiously-themed teleserye ‘Pari ‘Koy’ starring Dingdong Dantes.

Gone Too Soon for KISPinoy and Misterless Misis

‘KISPinoy’ and ‘Misterless Misis’ aired for only three episodes each during the third quarter of 2015. The former was axed in late July, while the latter received a postponement (or possibly a cancellation) notice the following month.

Both events paved the way for VIVA to take over TV5’s entertainment department, with Vic del Rosario replacing Wilma Galvante.

PBB, It’s Showtime Summoned by MTRCB

‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ and ‘It’s Showtime’ were each summoned by the MTRCB for offending viewer sensibilities. The former was for the so-called ‘bromance’ involving teen housemates Bailey May and Kenzo Gutierrez, while the latter was for the alleged ‘pimping’ of ‘Pastillas Girl’ Angelica Yap in the ‘Nasaan Ka Mr. Pastillas’ skit.

Both shows eventually complied by imposing self-regulatory measures, among other rulings. MTRCB also summoned GMA’s ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ for strong language inappropriate to viewers.

GMA’s Finances Put Into Question

Despite an increase in revenue, GMA’s financial capabilities were on the hot seat anew this year. The increased revenue was done at the expense of the network’s ‘streamlining’ efforts which featured, among others, the closure of regional networks and programs, and the termination of long-time employees.

Felipe Gozon’s reluctance to sell a part of the network’s shares was also a major issue. Talks between him and Ramon Ang collapsed in August (with the latter later accusing Gozon of estafa), and a few months later, Gozon rejected offers from Chavit Singson and Manny Pacquiao to purchase a part of the network.

Pope Francis, SONA and APEC Coverage Issues

Not all news networks were able to cover the three biggest news events of the year. GMA News TV received major heat for their lack of coverage in both the visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines and the State of the Nation Address, while AksyonTV was criticized for their non-coverage of the APEC Summit.

The two embattled news networks deserved a lot of blame this year. Speaking of AksyonTV,…

AksyonTV’s Identity Crisis Continues

Admit it or not, AksyonTV really needs a makeover. No longer the 24/7 all-Filipino free TV news channel of years past, the network is now increasingly littered with sports coverage, ranging from major leagues like the PSL to more low-scale ones like the PCBL.

Perhaps the time is now for the network to bring back the AKTV name it once used as a blocktimer on IBC-13. After all, AksyonTV’s glory days are behind them.

StarStruck’s Disaster

The return of ‘StarStruck’ proved to be a glorified failure, as ratings and a questionable timeslot doomed the reality show’s sixth season. It was also long overdue, and it would have made a big difference for the network had it been placed opposite ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’.

That said, there may never be another season of ‘StarStruck’ after this. So much for hype gone wrong.

Goodbye Showbiz Talk Shows As We Know It

Easter Sunday of this year marked the final episode of the 16-year-old ‘The Buzz’. Seven months later, ‘Startalk’ took a bow as well after 20 years on air.

A change in viewer’s taste was a key reason behind the demise of both shows. Although ‘CelebriTV’ replaced ‘Startalk’, and ABS-CBN planned to revive ‘The Buzz’ in the future, it won’t be easy adapting to a new audience.

CNN Philippines Not Living Up to Expectations

Launched last March 15, CNN Philippines was supposed to be a local version of its parent network. However, a lot of issues surfaced from the beginning.

Whether it’s due to the revolving door of anchors and reporters, an overemphasis on Nancy Grace or the lack of round-the-clock news coverage, it is clear that CNN Philippines is still a work in progress. That said, Nine Media will need to make a lot of changes to ensure that this venture between them and CNN won’t end quickly.

NBA on ABS-CBN Demoted to the Studio

Since February, NBA coverage on ABS-CBN and ABS-CBN Sports+Action has been purely local, handled in-studio by Boom Gonzalez, TJ Manotoc, Ronnie Magsanoc and Benjie Paras. But to the surprise of many, only Manotoc traveled to the United States to cover the NBA Finals, and ABS-CBN opted to call the games in-studio rather than on location.

Delayed broadcast of the NBA games were a primary reason behind ABS-CBN’s questionable decision. Still, with digitization looming, and the migration to HD underway, it seems like this is a more logical solution for the network to save costs.

In tomorrow’s year-end special, From the Tube will look back at the 10 best moments in Philippine television this 2015.

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Loss of Regional Outlets Another Cause of Concern for GMA

Regional networks become the latest area of concern for GMA. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

Things have gone from bad to worse for GMA.

After enduring numerous issues concerning programs, artists, manpower, advertising and revenue, the Kapuso network’s next obstacle comes from its regional networks. Just last weekend, GMA closed its four regional offices in Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Naga and Ilocos, cancelled morning shows in Cebu and Davao, and laid off at least 100 employees.

In response, GMA released a statement saying that“the strategic streamlining is geared towards increasing ratings and revenues of all of its regional stations from more efficient operations.” 

Furthermore, the network stated that they are “not closing down any regional station”, but rather they (except Cebu, Davao, Iloilo and Dagupan) will be continued as “satellite selling stations”, pending completion of the study and recommendation of the Regional TV Review Committee.

The network also mentioned that the news programs in Cebu, Davao, Iloilo and Dagupan will remain and will be strengthened, despite the cancellation of other regional programs in the morning. And finally, GMA also promised to offer its affected personnel “severance packages”.

This latest development definitely hurt GMA’s regional network group. Even though the network mentioned that no regional stations will be closed, it is clear that the lack of manpower and operations in the key cities will force GMA to use its Metro Manila relay feed, rendering them at a disadvantage against ABS-CBN’s RNGs.

That said, with ABS-CBN’s regional stations in Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Naga and Ilocos still operating, viewers may find themselves watching more regional news on ABS-CBN than on GMA due to the latter station’s closure. It may also contradict their statement regarding strategic streamlining for increased ratings and revenues, further hurting the network’s overall budget.

GMA’s loss of regional outlets will be severely felt throughout Timog Avenue and its remaining satellite offices. One must wonder when GMA will ever rebuild its regional network group after this debacle. Only time will tell.

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