entertainment, game show, news, Philippines, public affairs, television, variety show

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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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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business, news, Philippines, television

Collapse of GMA-Ang Deal Further Baffles GMA’s Business Operations

A deal between Ramon S. Ang and GMA has been terminated for unspecified reasons, furthering the already troubled business operations of the Kapuso network. (Photo credit: San Miguel Corporation)

The resuscitation of GMA Network has once again hit a roadblock.

It was announced Tuesday that talks between the said network and businessman Ramon S. Ang for the latter’s acquisition of a 30% share have been terminated. Responding to this sudden turn of events, Ang called the move surprising and unexpected, and promised to wait for any explanation by GMA regarding the situation at hand.

This was not the first time that talks between GMA and a potential investor have ended without any conclusive results. PLDT and TV5 chairman Manny V. Pangilinan have also entered talks to acquire a portion of GMA’s shares in 2001, 2004, 2012 and 2014, only to collapse in the end.

The latest development involving Ang and GMA marked the latest chapter in the decline and mismanagement of the network. Just recently, the Kapuso network have been involved in a pair of un-Kapuso-like decisions in relation to its business operations.

Late last year, 52 GMA employees were laid off while fighting for the regularization of their services, leading to a protest by the group known as ‘Talents Association of GMA’ (TAG). Claiming there were ‘unfair labor practices’, the group recently held a protest in front of the GMA headquarters in Timog Avenue.

Then in late April, GMA closed down four regional offices, canceled a pair of regional morning programs, and laid off at least 100 employees. The network claimed that they were merely streamlining its operations in order to increase ratings and revenue.

Coupled with still-declining ratings and programming quality, it is now clear why GMA is going nowhere. The lack of urgency to improve and expand the business is taking its toll on the network.

And it only made worse with its latest debacle involving Ramon S. Ang.

This is now a hopeless situation for Felipe Gozon, Gilberto Duavit and the rest of GMA management. Without any support from other investors, GMA is destined to become an afterthought in the media industry, something they cannot afford to happen.

They desperately need a new investor at this point. Perhaps a sit-down discussion with SM’s Henry Sy and family may help.

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news, Philippines, politics, television

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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