entertainment, news, Philippines, public affairs, television

Video on Board: Buses Tune In to ABS-CBN Shows But Avoid Afternoon Koreanovelas

A bus bound for Quiapo showing ABS-CBN’s ‘It’s Showtime’. (Photo courtesy of the author)

Sometimes life is unfair.

Such is the case for airconditioned buses that ply the streets of Metro Manila. These buses offer more than just relief from the sweltering heat, they also provide riders with a show or movie to watch while going from one destination to another.

Most airconditioned buses are equipped with a television set that hangs atop the windshield. At first, the viewing experience was severely limited thanks to poor signal reception (most buses opt to air movies from their USB outlets or pirated DVDs due to these conditions), but the launch of the ABS-CBN TVPlus made it much better for riders to watch a show comfortably.

As a commuter I can attest to the varying trends of television viewership inside airconditioned buses. Prior to the launch of TVPlus, the preferred channel of Metro Manila buses is GMA Network due to its clearer signal and greater reach.

But as TVPlus became readily available to the public, bus companies began to take advantage of it by equipping their sets with these devices. As a result, more and more buses were tuning in to ABS-CBN programs especially  during ‘It’s Showtime’, ‘TV Patrol’ and ‘Ang Probinsyano’, simply because Channel 2 is always the first to open on TVPlus.

However, there is still one GMA show with which these buses would rather tune in to. In one of my more recent in-city trips, I looked at some of the buses that ply the metro during the late afternoon, and surprisingly, these buses were tuning in to ‘Wowowin’ instead of a Koreanovela from ABS-CBN.

Simply put, these bus drivers and conductors are not Koreanovela fans. They would rather tune in to Willie Revillame and his antics with sexy women instead of cheesy love scenes from Korean actors because it seems like they are boring

Not to mention that it is rush hour for people going home. If they are tuning in to a Koreanovela on the way home on a slow-moving afternoon, chances are they could be put to sleep.

While viewership inside buses do not influence ratings performance (at least for now), the general trend is clear. ABS-CBN is the most preferred network among airconditioned buses all-day long, but on the late-afternoon rush hour, GMA’s ‘Wowowin’ is the most preferred show.

Unfair as it sounds, but the best entertainment while inside the bus is when things either become tense and gut-wrenching (as in the case for teleseryes) or humorous and fun (as in the case for variety shows). It is what bus rides are made of, and keeping riders awake and invested in entertainment is a bus company’s way of making themselves comfortable.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television, variety show

Tawag ng Tanghalan 2 Finale Scores Big, But Not Big Enough

Talk about a complete turnaround.

Saturday’s ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ finale on ABS-CBN’s ‘It’s Showtime’ scored a whopping 31% in the Kantar ratings. On the other hand, GMA’s ‘Eat Bulaga’ earned a paltry 9.5% as it tried to keep up with Seen-A-Like, Sing-A-Like, Guhit Bulaga and other promotional gimmicks.

The finale of ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ saw 16-year-old Janine Berdin outlast five other aspiring singers to win P2 million, a house and lot and a management contract among other prizes. Her final piece saw her belt out a medley of hits from Bamboo, which immediately trended on social media and received millions of views on YouTube.

Despite the blowout win, ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan”s 31% rating was still a far cry from the 40.1% rating of ‘Eat Bulaga”s Sa Tamang Panahon in 2015. Nevertheless, ‘It’s Showtime’ should be more than satisfied with the finale’s ratings considering the segment’s consistently strong performance since its 2016 debut.

For now, though, ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ will not continue after a run of over two years (this includes two adult editions and a kids’ edition). Instead, ‘It’s Showtime’ will devote its time to a couple of other segments such as Miss Q&A and Mini Me.

But without ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ to hold the fort, it remains to be seen if ‘It’s Showtime’ will remain a winner despite the temporary hiatus of its most popular segment. That said, an imposing challenge awaits this noontime show as it tries to pick up the pieces post-‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’.

As for ‘Eat Bulaga’, there is nothing to worry about its poor ratings that day. Considering the show has no chance of pulling off the upset, the best that they did was to reveal a couple of old tricks to satisfy its loyal fanbase (being a show that is nearing 39 years old, it looks like they have nothing left to prove).

Oh, and one more thing: stop putting Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza together once and for all. With all due respect to AlDub Nation, they have outlived their usefulness as a love team (in fact, Maine already said that she and Alden were only friends and not in a relationship) and they should be better off thriving on their own.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Is It Time for GMA to End Contessa’s Saturday Experiment?

‘Contessa”s first few episodes did not impress viewers. Even its first Saturday episode failed to deliver. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

Talk about a complete 360.

Through its first nine episodes as of April 4, GMA’s ‘Contessa’ was only able to average 10% in the ratings according to Kantar. In contrast, ABS-CBN’s ‘It’s Showtime’ raked in around 17%, and while its numbers declined by around 2% during the Holy Week, it was still enough to dispatch ‘Contessa’.

Even the first Saturday episode of ‘Contessa’ on March 24 was a flop, as it earned only 9.9% compared to ‘It’s Showtime”s 17.4%. By comparison, the finale of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ which aired the previous Saturday finished with a 20.6% rating, 10.7% better than its successor.

The slow start of ‘Contessa’ should cause plenty of concern within GMA Network. Following up a successful afternoon drama in ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ was no easy task, but no one expected ‘Contessa’ to fall way below expectations.

In the days leading up to its premiere there were some doubts on whether or not ‘Contessa’ will have a Saturday episode. Initially, GMA considered having ‘Contessa’ air only from Monday to Friday, but when the network realized that they lack suitable replacements for the 2:30 p.m. slot, they reluctantly added a Saturday episode on ‘Contessa’.

In doing so GMA gave ‘Contessa’ enormously high expectations to succeed. Unfortunately, ‘Contessa’ didn’t come close to sustaining ‘Ika-6 na Utos” high viewership, and it also didn’t help that its first foray into Saturdays failed to produce the desired result.

Perhaps it is those bandwagon viewers that only showed up during ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ and then switched to ‘It’s Showtime’ and other programs once it ended. Or perhaps GMA dramas have had a history of starting slow and then occasionally picking up ratings midway through.

Whatever the reason, it was clear that ‘Contessa’ underachieved from the get-go. Adding a Saturday episode was a huge mistake and the possibility of viewer burnout became more apparent.

But as far as GMA is concerned, ‘Contessa’ has had only one Saturday episode so far (there was no episode during Black Saturday) so it is too early to tell. Still, it remains to be seen whether or not succeeding episodes will increase viewership and give ‘Contessa’ some much-needed respectability.

If it does not improve, the onus is on GMA to end its Saturday experiment on ‘Contessa’. Good luck.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

A Tough Act to Follow for Contessa

From ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to ‘Contessa’.

Following the successful year-long run of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, GMA will now look to fill in the big shoes that the former left. They decided to replace ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ with a series that reminded viewers of another successful teleserye from a rival network.

From the moment ‘Contessa”s teaser was aired, netizens immediately compared the series to ABS-CBN’s ‘Wildflower’ due to their similar storylines of revenge. But ‘Contessa’ lead star Glaiza de Castro had a different take, saying that her upcoming show focuses more on a woman’s constant quest for justice.

In ‘Contessa’, Glaiza is initially known as Bea, a woman who is accused and imprisoned for a crime she never committed. Determined to seek revenge and reclaim those who were taken away from her, she assumes a new identity, that of Contessa.

Throughout the series, ‘Contessa’ will feature some important characters who will be crucial to the story of Bea/Contessa. Marco (Mark Herras) is a writer and Bea’s long-time boyfriend whose gruesome murder will be central to the evolution of Bea into Contessa.

Marco’s brother Gabriel (Geoff Eigenmann) is a successful OFW who returns to the country following his murder. Meanwhile, Bea’s best friend Jong (Jak Roberto) is a secret admirer of hers who hopes to love him back.

The Imperial family, led by the matriarch Charito (Chanda Romero) and her children Vito (Gabby Eigenmann) and Daniella (Lauren Young), will serve as a major obstacle to Bea/Contessa’s plans for justice. In typical villainous fashion, the Imperials are considered manipulative, influential, sophisticated and powerful individuals who will do whatever is necessary to destroy the protagonist.

Completing the rest of the cast are Tetchie Agbayani, Leandro Baldemor, Dominic Roco, Bernadette Allyson, Melissa Mendez, Tanya Gomez, Karel Marquez, Phytos Ramirez, Denise Barbacena and Will Ashley. ‘Contessa’ will be directed by Albert Langitan.

Replacing a top-rating series in ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will be a daunting one for ‘Contessa’. In order for viewers to commit to this new series in the long term, some interesting bits and pieces are needed to make ‘Contessa’ worth watching, a task that is difficult to fill considering it will go head-to-head with ‘It’s Showtime”s ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ segment.

With all things considered, GMA should only hope for the best with ‘Contessa’. It may never be able to replicate the ratings of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, but if it all goes well, who knows what will happen next.

‘Contessa’ airs weekdays after ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Ika-6 na Utos to End This Saturday, But Not Without Controversy

‘Ika-6 na Utos’ is down to its last six episodes.

That’s right, the series is really down to its last six episodes. Unlike typical teleseryes whose finales end on a Friday (or Wednesday if it falls during Holy Week), ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will air its last episode this Saturday, an unusual yet satisfying way to end such a successful series.

To cut the long story short, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ first aired on December 5, 2016, extended to Saturdays starting April 1, 2017, and by August became the highest-rated afternoon teleserye in the country. In doing so, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ joined ‘The Half-Sisters’ as the only GMA teleseryes to air for over a year this decade.

But in the lead-up to its final few episodes, controversy sparked between ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ and ABS-CBN’s ‘It’s Showtime’. When the latter (whether intentional or not) decided to extend its running time to 3 hours and 30 minutes, GMA responded by having ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ air for another 30 minutes.

Consequently, the extended airtime between the two programs pushed its primetime newscasts to air at a later-than-expected time. Both ‘TV Patrol’ and ’24 Oras’ now air at around 6:40 p.m., largely due to the brewing rivalry between ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ and ‘It’s Showtime’.

It was clear that ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ was having ‘It’s Showtime”s number. So much so that ABS-CBN, whether intentional or not, went all-out in an attempt to dispose a teleserye they couldn’t solve, even going as far as allowing Vice Ganda plenty more time to talk on the microphone during ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’.

But regardless of this controversy, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ provided a moral victory for GMA. While its other programs continuously fail to make an impact against its ABS-CBN counterparts, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ gave GMA some semblance of hope.

This is proof that ABS-CBN, no matter how dominant it is, still has some weaknesses in its arsenal. And ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ was one of them.

This Saturday will mark the 383rd and final episode of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’. It will be interesting to see how this convoluted love story between Rome (Gabby Concepcion), Emma (Sunshine Dizon) and Georgia (Ryza Cenon) turn out to be, and whether or not the first two will enjoy a satisfying conclusion.

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

New Trend: GMA Responds to It’s Showtime Going Overtime

Looks like a new trend in primetime newscasts has begun.

In response to ‘TV Patrol’ now airing at around 6:40 p.m. due to ‘It’s Showtime’ exceeding beyond its allotted time, GMA countered by having rival newscast ’24 Oras’ air 10-20 minutes later than its previous timeslot. To do that, GMA intentionally allowed one of its programs to go past its duration.

That turned out to be the teleserye ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, which usually airs for only 45-50 minutes at best. But Wednesday afternoon (see episode hashtag below) saw ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ go beyond its usual running time and air for 80 minutes, uncharacteristically long for a teleserye.

GMA’s version of Vice Ganda and company excessively talking for minutes came by way of long commercial breaks. But much like what ABS-CBN allowed (whether intentional or not) ‘It’s Showtime’ to do, isn’t this a little too much for viewers to take?

Consider this: ‘It’s Showtime”s archrival ‘Eat Bulaga’ is only given 2 1/2 hours of airtime by GMA from Monday to Friday due to its blocktimer status. GMA can’t obviously loosen this rule because even Antonio Tuviera is strict enough to enforce such a ruling.

They also cannot allow ‘Wowowin’ to go past its allotted time and go live because of Willie Revillame’s past controversies. The onus fell on one of GMA’s afternoon teleseryes, and that turned out to be its highest-rated program ‘Ika-6 na Utos’.

This is definitely a bad case of ‘fight fire with fire’. The recent shenanigans of ABS-CBN and GMA dragged its other programs down, and it also affected the airtimes of the respective networks’ late-night newscasts in ‘Bandila’ and ‘Saksi’.

If this game of one-upsmanship continues, both ‘TV Patrol’ and ’24 Oras’ might end up airing at an uncharacteristically late timeslot of 7:00 p.m. Not a good way to kick off the primetime slate.

But at least there are earlier primetime newscasts that viewers can tune in to. The choices include PTV-4’s ‘PTV News’ (if viewers can tolerate Erwin Tulfo’s biased reporting), CNN Philippines’ ‘News Night’, Net 25’s ‘Mata ng Agila’, UNTV’s ‘Ito ang Balita’ and even ‘Top Story’ of the ABS-CBN News Channel.

Apologies to T5N’s ‘Aksyon Prime’, but its timeslot inconsistencies are too much to handle. But regardless of that, alternatives in primetime news are worth the time and money.

Still, ABS-CBN and GMA should know all too well that time is precious. They could at least adjust this new trend in primetime programming, but they need to stop allowing its programs to go overtime so as not to compromise the patience of viewers.

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