news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Revisiting GMA News TV and Its Epic Failures on SONA Day

This is already becoming a habit.

For GMA News TV, their perceived indifference in important news coverage is undeniable. This was none more apparent than on the day the President of the Philippines delivers his State of the Nation Address.

In almost every year since the network rebranded from QTV in 2011, the tendency for GMA News TV is that they don’t always get involved in the SONA in more ways than one. Whenever the fourth Monday of July comes, all the network does is to air regular programming as if nothing important happens.

For instance, President Rodrigo Duterte’s speech this year started at 5:17 p.m. In the meantime, GMA News TV aired ‘Quick Response Team’ in the midst of the SONA (see video below).

It is understandable that GMA management wants to focus more on Channel 7 when it comes to live coverage of the SONA. But what the management do not realize is the overall purpose of GMA News TV (and of GMA News for that matter), which in the years since its launch has been largely neglected due to extracurricular activities not related to news coverage.

Considering that its rivals from Mother Ignacia (ANC/DZMM TeleRadyo), Shaw Boulevard (CNN Philippines) and Reliance (One News) worked a more extensive analysis on the day of the SONA, it is disgraceful to see GMA News TV stand pat and do almost nothing. It is as if they never wanted to be a news channel in the first place.

Perhaps if GMA News TV becomes a cable channel instead of going to free TV like they do now, such issues would have been mitigated. Such an arrangement would have allowed the channel to go 24/7, use English as the main language and cater to upper class audiences.

Unfortunately, the station is stuck on VHF channel 11 and can only play second banana to channel 7, another VHF station. And to make matters worse, GMA doesn’t even own the former due to broadcast restrictions; ZOE continues to own the channel while GMA only leases airtime.

If they are really that disinterested to remain a news channel, they can just rebrand back to QTV or become GMA+, a secondary entertainment channel of the mother network. Or GMA can just break their lease on Channel 11 and allow ZOE to move Light back to its original channel.

In many ways, GMA News TV is an undependable channel for all things news. What GMA did to this channel is so unglorifying that their boasting as the ‘no. 1 news channel’ does not make sense at all.

And on this SONA day, this channel simply failed to deliver when it mattered most. Shame on them.

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news, Philippines, public affairs, religion, television

‘Unreliable’ News TV Strikes Again

GMA’s coverage of Pope Francis in the Philippines only utilized its main station Channel 7, and little of its sister station GMA News TV Channel 11. (Title card courtesy of GMA Network)

Once again, GMA News TV is in the hot seat.

The recent visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines was one of the most highly anticipated in recent history, and a majority of free TV and cable stations in the country were there to extensively cover the event. And yet here is News TV, who, other than a few sporadic updates on the Pope’s visit, was a virtual no-show in the event of such high magnitude.

What they aired instead were their regular programs, that of reruns and old movies. This was in contrast to rival free TV sister stations AksyonTV and ABS-CBN Sports + Action, who managed to cover the event in full even though they were simulcast from their parent networks.

The lack of involvement on the part of News TV is inexcusable. Even though News TV and its parent GMA Network are four channels apart on the VHF band, there should have been a way to give News TV a heavier role, even if it means simulcasting from the parent network.

News TV’s simulcast of Channel 7’s coverage would have benefited viewers, especially those with signal problems on the parent network. It also would have helped enhance News TV’s own reputation, which has been ruined by their radical programming decisions.

Instead, the folks at GMA News decided to use the main Channel 7 in their coverage, leaving News TV useless for the duration of the coverage except for a few minutes of news updates.

So why claim the station as ‘News TV’ when they did not even become involved in this event? And why are they still airing movies and reruns from a previous incarnation? This doesn’t make sense at all.

In the end, News TV’s inability to make their presence felt in a big event like Pope Francis’ visit will continue to haunt them. Sooner or later, GMA executives will need to make a decision regarding News TV, otherwise it will remain in limbo for the foreseeable future.

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