digital television, movies, online, Philippines, television, video on demand, VOD service

iWhat?: iWant Encounters Loading Issues Upon Launch

The new iWant is off to a rather inauspicious start.

Hours into its highly anticipated launch last November 17, iWant encountered a temporary slowdown caused by high volume of users. Many of them downloaded the new iWant in order to watch some of its new and original content, which included the hotly-discussed film ‘Glorious’ featuring a viral kissing scene involving lead stars Angel Aquino and Tony Labrusca.

In response, iWant issued a statement saying that they are increasing capacity in order to meet the demands of its users. As of 10:00 p.m., the iWant app is now updated to version 4.0.2.

iWant also reported that the app now has over one million downloads and is used by over 10,000 users per hour. But with so many consumers knocking on the door, it was clear that ABS-CBN is not prepared for such high demand.

If the old iWant TV was smooth sailing to watch at times, then the same cannot be said to its successor. With some additional content such as the aforementioned original films and music to complement on-demand programs, films and live streams, ABS-CBN’s digital team found themselves in a conundrum over the possible increase in consumer demand.

Suffice to say, they failed to anticipate what took place next. And unfortunately for users of iWant (myself included), they took notice by bombarding iWant’s social media pages with plenty of complaints.

This is already the third day of iWant’s official operations and so far the ‘temporary slowdown’ that was revealed Saturday continues to linger. Even I began to question the capabilities of the new iWant, especially after my attempt to watch ANC’s live stream was constantly disrupted despite enjoying a strong internet connection.

Call it growing pains or simply impatience. For now, ABS-CBN’s digital team is working round the clock to improve and increase the capacity of iWant, but this is going to be a painful ordeal, so users must wait and see what happens in the next several days.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Faith Restored: Halik’s High Ratings a Godsend for ABS-CBN Primetime Bida

ABS-CBN finally got it right.

It turns out ‘Halik’ was the series ABS-CBN needed to resuscitate the fortunes of its much-maligned fourth slot on Primetime Bida. The October 25 episode of ‘Halik’ garnered a series-high 27.1% rating according to Kantar, besting rival series ‘Pamilya Roces’ by 16.5%.

The episode in question featured an intense confrontation between Lino (Jericho Rosales) and Ace (Sam Milby) over the latter’s act of cheating. During that scene, Lino caught Ace and Jade (Yam Concepcion) cheating on him and Jacky (Yen Santos), leading to a fight between Lino and Ace.

‘Halik’ also became the most-viewed program on iWant TV, reaching over two million views per week. Thursday’s episode also trended on Twitter and memes related to the aforementioned confrontation scene also spread on social media.

In many ways, this episode of ‘Halik’ encapsulates what the fourth slot of Primetime Bida is all about. For Kapamilya audiences here and abroad, this timeslot always tingle their senses whenever they see scenes of confrontation, jealousy, anger, sensuality and desire.

No offense to the lighter-themed dramas that were aired on the fourth slot (e.g. ‘On the Wings of Love’, ‘A Love to Last’), but it is obvious that viewers wanted something that will keep them awake and tense deep into the night. And if ‘Halik”s ratings are of any indication, they are probably right in their assessment.

First aired on August 13, ‘Halik”s ratings have been on a gradual upswing from the start. The series started with an 18.2% rating during its debut, reached 20% by the end of August, and peaked at 27.1% last Thursday.

That said, it will not be a surprise to see ‘Halik’ reach 30% in the near future. This series has been by far ABS-CBN’s best offering in the fourth slot and if it continues to please audiences, it might as well enjoy a long and fruitful run.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Pissed Off: TV Patrol Unhappy About Late Start

The ‘It’s Showtime’ effect of going overtime has had plenty of repercussions.

For the most part, it affected the start times of succeeding ABS-CBN programs. But none felt the sting of starting late more than ‘TV Patrol’, the flagship primetime newscast of the network.

‘TV Patrol’ usually airs at around 6:30 p.m. and is simulcast on both ABS-CBN and DZMM. However, the DZMM portion gets a little tricky; ‘Dos Por Dos’ anchors Gerry Baja and Anthony Taberna usually end their show just before 6:30, but in recent episodes they either stick around for a little while or leave and allow DZMM to play a long commercial break.

In certain instances where ‘TV Patrol’ begins later than its usual 6:30 p.m. start, the ‘Headlines’ portion was omitted in favor of a shortened opening billboard. Peter Musñgi’s introduction of “Live mula sa ABS-CBN News Center Manila, Ito ang TV Patrol”, accompanied with an airborne shot of the ABS-CBN Broadcast Center, was also removed at times.

Even the newscast’s anchors were starting to feel unhappy with the late start. During one recent episode, anchor Noli de Castro berated one of the teleprompter operators a few minutes into the newscast for not opening the teleprompter on short notice (a moment that was later cut from iWant TV uploads of the show).

There were also times when Star Patrol, the newscast’s entertainment news segment, was reduced to just two or three news items. And finally, a few recent episodes saw an unusual closing segment in which the anchors bid farewell and then walk out of the set immediately while still on camera.

Despite the late starts, ‘TV Patrol’ continued to be the newscast of choice for the common Filipino as it scores over 30%. However, it was clear that the show and its anchors were not happy with the late starts.

Perhaps ABS-CBN management should call an emergency meeting to solve this brewing issue once and for all. They can call out both the hosts of ‘It’s Showtime’ and the anchors of ‘TV Patrol’, their respective production teams, and both the head of integrated news Ging Reyes and corporate communications Kane Errol Choa to end this impasse.

One can only hope that ABS-CBN will do the right thing and go back to what it was useful in the past. After all ‘TV Patrol’ does not deserve to be put in a bad light because of ‘It’s Showtime”s string of poor time management.

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drama, entertainment, game show, hits, music, Philippines, songs, talent show, television, variety show

Live Blog: Contessa vs. It’s Showtime, The Overtime Period (July 10)

Welcome to the Overtime Period between ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘Contessa’.

Over the next several days, From the Tube will conduct a live blog in which the writer will simultaneously watch ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘Contessa’ starting at 2:30 p.m. Throughout the proceedings, a stopwatch will be used to determine how much time has elapsed between the two shows.

‘It’s Showtime’, an ABS-CBN noontime variety show, will be followed via iWant TV from the writer’s mobile phone, while ‘Contessa’, a GMA afternoon drama series, will emanate from the writer’s television set. With that, let the countdown begin.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

2:26 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ starts with highlights from yesterday’s episode. Meanwhile, ‘It’s Showtime”s ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ introduces Luzon contender Charity Fabon.

2:29 p.m. – Gabriel (Geoff Eigenmann) and Bea/Contessa (Glaiza de Castro) reconcile.

2:32 p.m. – Vice Ganda and Vhong Navarro interview Charity after a stirring performance.

2:37 p.m. – Vito (Gabby Eigenmann) fights the police and gets involved in an accident. ‘Contessa’ takes a break while Vice, Jhong Hilario and an audience member converse.

2:42 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ returns with Vito on the verge of escape. Over on ‘It’s Showtime’, Vice’s shenanigans continue.

2:45 p.m. – News of Vito’s escape reach the Imperials and Bea/Contessa. And more Vice Ganda shenanigans.

2:47 p.m. – Remember the mansion of Lola Nidora on ‘Eat Bulaga”s Kalyeserye? This is where the Caballeros take refuge, but Vito is lurking nearby.

2:49 p.m. – Commercial time for ‘Contessa’. It’s already 23 minutes since the episode started.

2:53 p.m. – Visayas contender Bless Ebarita is introduced.

2:55 p.m. – After a second MTRCB SPG advisory, ‘Contessa’ returns with Bea/Contessa showing a serious look on her face. Flashback scenes of Vito and Bea/Contessa are played in the background.

2:58 p.m. – Vice and Anne Curtis talk to Bless following her performance.

3:01 p.m. – Another break for ‘Contessa’.

3:07 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ is back from commercial. Meanwhile ‘It’s Showtime’ is about to head to a commercial themselves.

3:10 p.m. – The 3:00 p.m. prayer is now being aired on ABS-CBN, just as Vito attacks Bea/Contessa’s friends.

3:11 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ takes a break anew.

3:17 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ is back with a standoff down at the Caballero household. Looks like the show will finish on time.

3:20 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ comes to an end. Meanwhile ‘It’s Showtime’ is not yet through with its commercial and ‘The Stepdaughters’ is about to begin.

The end result: It turns out ‘Contessa’ is not to blame for GMA’s ‘overtime’ and ‘long commercials’ shenanigans. But the question remains, which GMA show is to criticize for the network’s ‘play fair’ strategy against ABS-CBN?

From the Tube will continue to monitor this ongoing saga between GMA and ABS-CBN throughout the day. Thank you for joining us.

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drama, entertainment, game show, hits, music, Philippines, songs, television, variety show

Live Blog: Contessa vs. It’s Showtime, The Overtime Period (July 9)

Welcome to the Overtime Period between ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘Contessa’.

Over the next several days, From the Tube will conduct a live blog in which the writer will simultaneously watch ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘Contessa’ starting at 2:30 p.m. Throughout the proceedings, a stopwatch will be used to determine how much time has elapsed between the two shows.

‘It’s Showtime’, an ABS-CBN noontime variety show, will be followed via iWant TV from the writer’s mobile phone, while ‘Contessa’, a GMA afternoon drama series, will emanate from the writer’s television set. With that, let the countdown begin.

Monday, July 9, 2018

2:28 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ got underway with a standoff between the police and Duquessa (Gabby Eigenmann). Meanwhile, ‘It’s Showtime’ hosts Vhong Navarro and Anne Curtis interviews Luzon representative Marvin Dacillo on ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’.

2:33 p.m. – Bea/Contessa (Glaiza de Castro) was proven innocent while Duquessa was accused of the murder of Bea’s husband and parents. Over on ‘It’s Showtime’, the TNT judges comment on Marvin’s performance.

2:35 p.m. – Commercial break for ‘Contessa’. It’s already seven minutes into the episode.

2:39 p.m. – It’s time for the second TNT contestant. Introducing Sherry Ann Archer, who represents Visayas.

2:41 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ returns from break, and Bea/Contessa is officially released from prison. Over on ‘It’s Showtime’, Jhong Hilario rings the gong on Sherry Ann who is promptly disqualified for singing out of tune.

2:44 p.m. – ‘It’s Showtime’ takes a break, while Bea/Contessa was interviewed by the media.

2:48 p.m. – Duquessa is taken out of prison, prompting a commercial break for ‘Contessa’.

2:54 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ returns from break, but not after a second SPG advisory from the MTRCB.

2:57 p.m. – ABS-CBN airs the customary 3:00 p.m. prayer.

2:58 p.m. – ‘It’s Showtime’ introduces the Mindanao contestant for ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan, Roy Limcaoco.

3:00 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ takes a break after Vito/Duquessa threatens to choke Bea/Contessa.

3:06 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ returns, having already spent 38 minutes on the air.

3:11 p.m. – Another commercial break for ‘It’s Showtime’ even as Bea/Contessa visits the grave of her husband Marco (Mark Herras).

3:13 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ takes a break too.

3:14 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ is already on its fourth commercial break. Looks like it will finish on time, contrary to my expectations.

3:19 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ returns with a visit to Vito’s prison from his family.

3:22 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ comes to an end, just as ‘It’s Showtime’ introduces its Mindanao contender Roy Limcaoco. So ‘Contessa’ didn’t go overtime, only lasting 54 minutes.

3:28 p.m. – Jeramae Narca, the Metro Manila contender and defending champion, wins today’s ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’. That ends ‘It’s Showtime’.

The end result: Neither show went to overtime, at least for today.

Catch us again tomorrow for another live blog. Thank you for joining us.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Finally: ABS-CBN Newscasts Move to High Definition

Here is some good news for Kapamilya viewers.

On Easter Sunday, April 1, newscasts on ABS-CBN Channel 2 began to air on 16:9 high definition. The conversion began with the 10:00 a.m. ‘News Patrol’, followed by the network’s flagship newscasts ‘TV Patrol’ (both weekend and weeknight editions) and ‘Bandila’ (both DZMM TeleRadyo and ABS-CBN editions).

Here is a comparison of ‘News Patrol’ in standard definition (pre-April 1) and in high definition (since April 1) in the following videos.

News Patrol in 4:3 standard definition (courtesy of ABS-CBN News)

News Patrol in 16:9 high definition (courtesy of ABS-CBN News)

The full implementation of ABS-CBN newscasts in HD marked the latest step in the network’s ongoing conversion to this new television technology. However, the changeover was not an easy one.

When ABS-CBN launched its 16:9 high definition feed in October 2015, only its entertainment programs were able to adopt this new technology. As such, ABS-CBN News programs remained in 4:3 standard definition, and whenever it was shown on ABS-CBN HD, black pillarboxes can be seen.

However, the news division was given a glimmer of hope in March 2016 when the ABS-CBN News Channel premiered its own HD feed. This enabled ABS-CBN News to utilize some of its newly-purchased HD cameras for live reports.

Despite that, Channel 2’s newscasts remained in 4:3 SD, mainly to compensate for the regional outlets’ slow adoption to HD technology. But as the impending switch to high definition became imminent, ABS-CBN realized the need for a change.

Thus came the launch of ABS-CBN’s high definition newscasts on Easter Sunday. It was an odd move to say the least, but it was perfect timing for the network since its news operations on television and radio resume around this time.

As mentioned earlier, ‘News Patrol’, ‘TV Patrol’ and ‘Bandila’ are now seen in 16:9 high definition, but they are not the only newscasts that made the move. Even DZMM TeleRadyo’s ‘Headline Pilipinas’ was also converted to 16:9 HD.

But not all newscasts changed over to the new standard. ‘TV Patrol”s regional versions continue to air in 4:3 SD, as are a majority of ABS-CBN Regional programs and even DZMM TeleRadyo.

Still, there is plenty of time for ABS-CBN to implement the new high definition standard to DZMM and the network’s regional affiliates. But for now, enjoy watching ‘TV Patrol’, ‘Bandila’ and all ABS-CBN newscasts in crystal clear 16:9 HD.

ABS-CBN HD is available exclusively on SkyCable channel 167 and to premium access subscribers on iWant TV. ANC HD is available exclusively on SkyCable channel 182 and to premium access subscribers on iWant TV.

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