cable TV, entertainment, movies, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, Sports, television

Philippine Cable and Digital Channels Face Issue of Redundancy

Hero is one of several cable channels in the Philippines that was shut down this year due to redundancy in content. (Logo courtesy of Creative Programs Inc.)

Redundancy has become a common theme for cable and digital channels in the Philippines.

In the first half of 2018 alone, viewers witnessed a closure of numerous cable channels in the country. On the local side of the spectrum, there was Hero, TAG, ABS-CBN Regional Channel, CT and 2nd Avenue, and on the international front there was Toonami.

There were also some rebrandings and resurrections of several channels as well. CPI made LIGA the second coming of Balls in time for the FIFA World Cup (replacing ARC, TAG and Hero in the process) while rebranding Lifestyle into Metro Channel, and then the MVP Group converted Bloomberg Philippines into One News.

So why do these things happen to our beloved cable and digital channels? The most cited reason is financial constraints, but it goes deeper than that.

When two channels air similar content with one another, redundancy happens. This is exactly the case that befell the likes of Hero, TAG, CT, 2nd Avenue and Toonami because they feature similar themes and genres with one or several channels.

Hero and Toonami, for example, became victims of cord-cutters and other channels such as Cartoon Network, Boomerang, AniPlus, Animax and even Yey!, which show some anime and action series as well. Same with CT and 2nd Avenue who share some of the programming with sister channels Jack TV and ETC.

Going further back, CPI shut down Velvet in 2014 and moved some of its content over to Lifestyle. Four years later, Lifestyle was rebranded into Metro Channel and is now essentially a second coming of Velvet.

There is also LIGA, which was launched for the FIFA World Cup but is expected to face similar redundancy issues as Balls since its only other source of content are events that air on ABS-CBN S+A. Finally, the rebrand from Bloomberg Philippines to One News has made AksyonTV (a former news channel-turned-T5N clone) redundant, something the MVP Group must address moving forward.

However, redundancy is not limited to cable channels alone. Yey!, for example, has a movie block called ‘Kid Sine’, but some of the films shown here are also aired on sister channel CineMo (under the CineFantasya and CineKomedya blocks).

Yey! also airs reruns of ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids’ while CineMo rebroadcasts ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Bagani’ on weekends. Such reruns should have been exclusive to Jeepney TV.

These are just some of the examples that face cable and digital channels today. Considering the competitive nature of this business, trying to stay unique and distinct in terms of content is not as easy as it looks.

So the best that these channels can do right now is to remain innovative and wide-eyed to the audience while keeping themselves afloat. This juggling act may be difficult, but when done properly, they can stay on the air for a long period of time.

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anime, cable TV, cartoon, lifestyle, Philippines, reality show, television

New Name for Lifestyle, Plus Toonami Gets the Ax

Lifestyle (Network) has a new name.

On April 2, 2018, Lifestyle was renamed and rebranded as the Metro Channel. Named after the high-end lifestyle magazine of the same name, Metro Channel will feature almost the same content as its predecessor, with a focus on food, fashion and travel programs.

Some of the programs that will air on Metro Channel include locally-produced shows such as ‘The Crawl’, ‘Casa Daza’, ‘At the Table’, ‘G Diaries’ and ‘Pia’s Postcards’. It will also feature foreign canned programs such as ‘Masterchef’, ‘America’s Next Top Model’ and ‘The Great British Bakeoff’.

Operated by ABS-CBN affiliate Creative Programs Inc., Metro Channel was originally launched on July 24, 1999 as the Lifestyle Network. It was later rebranded as ‘Lifestyle’ in 2015 with increased emphasis towards programs concerning food, fashion and travel.

Metro Channel will continue to air on SkyCable channel 52 and on high definition channel 174. It is also available on SkyDirect channel 31 and on select cable operators in the Philippines.

Easter weekend also saw the demise of Toonami, a cable channel operated by Turner Broadcasting. After nearly six years on the air, Toonami was officially shut down on March 31, 2018.

A sister channel of Cartoon Network and Boomerang, Toonami was known to air a selection of anime and American action cartoon series. Among the notable programs that were aired on Toonami include ‘Batman’, ‘Teen Titans’, ‘Ben 10’, ‘Inazuma Eleven Go’, ‘Yu-Gi-Oh’, ‘Yo-Kai Watch’ and ‘Dragon Ball Z’.

The shutdown of Toonami had huge repercussions to Filipino anime fans who still mourn the loss of local anime channel Hero. At the time it was taken off the air, Toonami was broadcasting the ongoing ‘Dragon Ball Super’ series which has yet to be launched on Filipino free TV.

It remains to be seen if Cartoon Network will be able to revive the Toonami primetime block to accommodate its displaced programs. But for anime fans who are looking for other ways to watch their favorite programs, there are other options such as cable channels Animax and AniPlus, as well as anime streaming websites.

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news, Philippines, public affairs, radio, television

The Big Question: Is Atom Araullo Going Home to GMA?

The fallout surrounding Atom Araullo’s departure from ABS-CBN is still strong.

It has been a week since Atom bid farewell to ABS-CBN News in order to ‘explore new interests’. At the time, many thought that Atom will simply be a freelancer and make good on his promise of seeking different opportunities in the world of media.

However, within hours of the announcement, GMA teased everyone when Mike Enriquez, Arnold Clavio and Susan Enriquez made mention of Atom’s name in the DZBB radio program ‘Sino?’. The rumors continued when GMA made the announcement on television of a ‘big reveal’ on ’24 Oras’ this Thursday night, with viewers again speculating that the man on the video is Atom Araullo himself.

Atom Araullo’s career as a host and journalist is a remarkable one. His initial foray into television is on the Probe Productions program ‘5 and Up’, but unlike fellow hosts Chynna Ortaleza, Maxene Magalona and brothers Rayver and Rodjun Cruz, Atom chose to follow a career in journalism.

After a brief stint as a sports reporter on GMA’s ’24 Oras’, Atom moved to ABS-CBN in 2004 where his career really took off. While he was best known as one of the hosts of ‘Umagang Kay Ganda’ and even had his own show in ‘Red Alert’, Atom’s best moment came in 2013 when he reported in Tacloban about Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) while braving the heavy rains and winds.

Earlier this year, Atom received his first acting role on ‘Citizen Jake’ while earning a bronze medal at the New York Festivals for his documentary ‘Warmer’. His final appearances on the ABS-CBN family of networks came last night in an episode of Lifestyle’s ‘The Crawl’.

If it is indeed true that Atom Araullo will move to GMA Network, the reaction could be a mixed one. ABS-CBN has had a ‘no-compete clause’ in their news personalities’ contracts which state that they should not move to another network until a year following their departure.

Then again, anything like a ‘no-compete clause’ is totally irrelevant at this point. Not only that, Atom’s departure from ABS-CBN is an amicable one, and as a free agent, he can choose his next destination anytime he wants.

Later tonight, the ‘big reveal’ will take place on GMA’s ’24 Oras’. But the question remains, is the man in the video indeed Atom Araullo? Find out in several hours’ time.

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