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Going National: Thoughts on the Potential of the Unified MOR Brand

ABS-CBN’s MOR (My Only Radio) FM stations are set to become one national entity.

In a recent press conference led by the DJs of the flagship MOR 101.9 (DWRR-FM) Manila station, they announced that MOR 101.9 and its 16 regional affiliates will join forces together to form MOR Philippines. Via ABS-CBN PR:

“Under MOR Philippines, 17 MOR stations will unite to bring listeners from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao one vibe and one sound.”

The press release cited the MOR stations’ strong performance in the ratings as the main reason for the launch of MOR Philippines. For instance, the Manila flagship MOR 101.9 got 33% of the average audience share among all Mega Manila stations in the recent Kantar Media survey.

So what are the possibilities that lie ahead for MOR Philippines? Here are three potential plans for the network.

Simulcast of MOR 101.9 Shows in Other Stations

Simulcasting a Manila radio program in the provinces is nothing new in the Philippines. In fact, on a few occasions, MOR 101.9 sister station DZMM 630 simulcasts some of its newscasts to other ABS-CBN-owned AM stations in the country.

The unified MOR Philippines could also do the same thing on some of its programs. For instance, ‘Dear MOR’ and ‘Heartbeats with Chacha’ are very popular shows in 101.9, and putting them on a nationwide scale via simulcast will only grow their audience further.

Improving the Standard of MOR Provincial Stations

While MOR stations in the provinces performed well in their own right, there is still a need for improvement, especially since MOR Manila is the only one with social media handles throughout. ABS-CBN, being the darlings of social media and the master of constant innovation, could do just that.

Providing each MOR provincial station with its own Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts could help broaden their fanbase further. Not only that, upgrading its facilities and strengthening its reach may also enable MOR to penetrate beyond other far-flung areas.

Same Plugs, Same Playlist

In order to live up to the ‘one vibe and one sound’ motto of MOR Philippines, each of the 17 stations will need to have something in common. This means a more ‘national’ station ID for all stations and a more consistent playlist to boot.

Such a reboot will take some time to develop. But when done correctly, MOR 101.9 and its affiliates should flourish with a much-improved beat.

MOR Philippines will be one hell of a rebuilding project that ABS-CBN’s radio division will have to take. It will be interesting to see how this unification of all MOR stations will pay off, so good luck.

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Ika-6 na Utos Extends to Saturday Afternoons

GMA gets even more desperate.

Due to so-called ‘insistent public demand’, the network announced that the teleserye ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will now air on Saturday afternoons as well. In doing so, GMA made some history by becoming the first TV network to air a new episode of a weekday teleserye on a weekend.

The upcoming Saturday episodes of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will replace the short-lived and poorly-rated crime and investigation series ‘Case Solved’, which only lasted six episodes from February 18 to March 25. But can this risky move work?

According to the national Kantar Media ratings, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ trails ‘It’s Showtime’ by around 3-4% since its premiere on December 5, 2016. While the former’s ratings were on the upswing of late (they even defeated ‘It’s Showtime’ by 0.3% on March 2), they still failed to topple the latter since the popular ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ segment airs at the same time.

As ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ goes deep into Saturday afternoon, they face an even tougher test. The legal drama ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ made mincemeat of ‘Case Solved’ during the past month, and with the latter raking in around 20% ratings in recent episodes, chances are ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ is in for a reality check.

To make matters worse for ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, the viewers’ demands for a sixth episode every weekend could prove too much to ask for. Let’s face it, the need for variety on television is obvious here, and GMA’s desperate move to extend ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to Saturday afternoons could easily tire out even the most demanding of viewers.

That said, GMA’s daring move to extend ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to Saturdays may come back to haunt them. After all, everybody wants a break from watching teleseryes each and every weekend, but for GMA, all roads lead to disaster simply because of a needless opportunity to boost ratings.

Sorry GMA, but this is not going to work, regardless of what the viewers say.

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Evaluating Celebrity Playtime’s Ratings Post-Billy Crawford

Two timeslot changes and two different hosts have affected the ratings of ‘Celebrity Playtime’. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

‘Celebrity Playtime’ had an interesting November, so to speak.

On November 14, ‘Celebrity Playtime’ was moved from its usual 6:00 p.m. slot to 10:30 p.m. to give way to ‘Dance Kids’, leading to the departure of host Billy Crawford in favor of Luis Manzano. The following week, however, it traded timeslots with ‘Failon Ngayon’, and now the show airs at 4:00 p.m.

The November 14 episode of ‘Celebrity Playtime’ was clearly affected with the move to late nights, as it managed only an 8.3% rating in Kantar. In contrast, the November 7 episode of ‘Celebrity Playtime’, featuring the final appearance of Billy Crawford as host, earned an impressive 25.9% rating.

When the show moved to late afternoons, ratings improved slightly. The most recent episode of ‘Celebrity Playtime’ earned a 14.7% rating (there was no episode on November 28 due to the UAAP men’s basketball finals).

For whatever reason, fans of the show were still trying to get used to the changes. The disparity in viewing figures have been crucial in the fluctuating ratings of ‘Celebrity Playtime’; typically primetime attracts higher viewership than the afternoon and late night slots.

Nevertheless, ABS-CBN hopes that ‘Celebrity Playtime’ will adjust well with a new host and a slot in the late afternoons. While the ratings will never be as high as they were during its primetime days, the network should be satisfied with just winning the current timeslot.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Walang Iwanan Ends Friday; And I Love You So to Take Over

This Friday marks a rather short conclusion to ‘Walang Iwanan’.

Premiering on October 19, ‘Walang Iwanan’ managed to air just 35 episodes, which is shorter than a typical ABS-CBN teleserye. No one expected this to happen, considering the Kapamilya network’s high standards when it comes to their teleseryes.

But there are some reasons why ‘Walang Iwanan’ had to end sooner. Beauty Gonzales is due to give birth either within this month or early next year, while Jhong Hilario will be busy running for public office next year.

As for ‘Walang Iwanan”s ratings, the series averaged a 10% rating throughout its run. On the other hand, GMA’s ‘Destiny Rose’ managed a 14% rating per episode according to the Kantar national ratings.

The same goes to AGB Nielsen’s Mega Manila ratings, where ‘Destiny Rose’ performed better than ‘Walang Iwanan’. Overall, ‘Walang Iwanan”s ratings was a letdown from its predecessor ‘Nasaan Ka Nang Kailangan Kita’.

Still, it was not an excuse for them to have a short run. After all, there are other circumstances that led to its tenure of over two months.

Next up for ABS-CBN will be Julia Barretto’s first teleserye since 2013’s ‘Mirabella’. Julia’s new series, ‘And I Love You So’, will feature her and Miles Ocampo as stepsisters turned archrivals, all for the love of one man, portrayed by Inigo Pascual.

The story of ‘And I Love You So’ will revolve around the rivalry between the characters of Julia and Miles, who soon found out they were stepsisters. Their lives would change, however, when their parents, portrayed by Dimples Romana and Tonton Gutierrez, reunite and become engaged.

But just as they begin living a normal life, the latter’s first wife, portrayed by Angel Aquino, returns after years of estrangement and seek revenge on his new fiancée. With it comes a series of events that will test the family’s determination to stay together and mend some old wounds.

‘And I Love You So’ will be the latest collaboration between ABS-CBN and Dreamscape Entertainment, whose track record of producing successful teleseryes has been well-documented. But for Julia Barretto, it is about redemption, especially after an inauspicious debut as a lead star in ‘Mirabella’.

That said, ABS-CBN hopes that ‘And I Love You So’ will help bring the best out of Julia. But whether or not it will translate to better ratings remains to be seen, so good luck.

‘And I Love You So’ premieres this Monday after ‘All of Me’ on ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold.

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Julia Montes vs. The Half-Sisters Starting Today

‘The Half-Sisters’ now finds itself facing a more formidable rival.

The long-running GMA afternoon teleserye, now over a year on the air, will face ‘Doble Kara’ starting today. The upcoming episode of ‘Doble Kara’ will mark the series debut of Julia Montes, after the teleserye’s first week saw young actress Avery Balasbas play the younger versions of Julia’s twin characters Sarah and Kara.

Despite not featuring Julia in its opening week, ‘Doble Kara’ managed to beat the competition from the moment it debuted on ABS-CBN. Last Monday’s premiere episode scored a 16.9% rating (based on Kantar’s figures), besting rival show ‘Buena Familia’s 13.1%, and continued its momentum throughout the week.

It became clear, however, that ‘Doble Kara’ needed worthier competition. This is where ‘The Half-Sisters’ come to the picture.

For most of this year, ‘The Half-Sisters’ has been afternoon’s top teleserye, winning in both Kantar and AGB Nielsen on a consistent basis. While the series is being led by underrated GMA talents in Barbie Forteza and Thea Tolentino, a strong supporting cast and an unpredictable storyline has kept viewers glued to this series regularly.

‘The Half-Sisters’ proved too much for ‘Flordeliza’ to overcome, even though the latter managed to gain some momentum in its final few weeks. Still, ABS-CBN was not satisfied with how the series fared, despite the fact that it was hyped as the comeback series of returning Kapamilyas Jolina Magdangal and Marvin Agustin.

‘Flordeliza’ was supposed to be replaced by ‘Doble Kara’, but the latter’s premiere date was moved a week earlier than expected. The declining ratings of ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737 Gold’ forced ABS-CBN to cancel the show in order to make way for ‘Doble Kara’, which first premiered opposite ‘Buena Familia’.

Following the conclusion of ‘Flordeliza’, ABS-CBN initially advertised ‘All of Me’ as the former’s replacement. But instead, the itch to beat ‘The Half-Sisters’ can no longer be tolerated, and they finally decided to move ‘Doble Kara’ to the leadoff spot in the network’s Kapamilya Gold block.

It does make sense for ABS-CBN to pit ‘Doble Kara’ against ‘The Half-Sisters’. After all, they have a proven performer in Julia Montes, who has been successful in the Primetime Bida block through starring roles in ‘Mara Clara’, ‘Walang Hanggan’, ‘Muling Buksan ang Puso’, and more recently ‘Ikaw Lamang’.

Now the sole lead star and playing two characters at once, it’s up to Julia to continue her momentum. But whether or not her presence will lift ‘Doble Kara’ past an afternoon power in ‘The Half-Sisters’ remains to be seen.

Still, it’s a good test for Julia and her expanding range of skills. Good luck.

‘Doble Kara’ airs weekdays after ‘It’s Showtime’ on ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

My Mother’s Secret Reprieved for Another Week

‘My Mother’s Secret’ will now end on August 7 with an additional four episodes ordered. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

‘My Mother’s Secret’ has lived to fight another week.

The series was supposed to end Friday, July 31. But with the State of the Nation Address extending beyond its allotted time of two hours, last Monday’s episode of ‘My Mother’s Secret’ was preempted and aired the next day.

Not wanting to end the series on the following Monday, GMA acted on the matter and added another week (or four more episodes) to ‘My Mother’s Secret’. Thus, the series finale will now air next Friday, August 7, and the six-pack Koreanovela plan of the Kapuso network will have to wait.

As noted in a prior article, ‘My Mother’s Secret’ had been a ratings failure for the network, fluctuating within the 10% mark in both AGB Nielsen’s NUTAM and Kantar Media. The series couldn’t beat ABS-CBN’s ‘Pasion de Amor’, whose sexy and lustful theme propelled it to success.

Despite the extension, ‘My Mother’s Secret’ will still fall short of the typical 80 episodes a teleserye takes these days. The series will end with 54 episodes produced, which is not respectable enough by teleserye standards.

With ‘My Mother’s Secret”s extension, its successor ‘Reply 1997’ will now air starting next Monday, August 10. It was supposed to begin this Monday, August 3, and was aimed at an August 4 premiere date if not for ‘My Mother’s Secret”s reluctant extension.

For the viewers of ‘My Mother’s Secret’, this is their last chance to see what fate awaits the actress-turned-reluctant mother (played by Gwen Zamora) and her daughter (played by Kim Rodriguez). The final week of the series should be an interesting one, albeit only for the few and the loyal.

The now-official finale week of ‘My Mother’s Secret’ airs this Monday to Friday at 5:50 p.m., right before ’24 Oras’.

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