entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

Solar Channels Unavailable on SkyCable, Plus FOX Loses WWE Rights to TV5

Bad news for NBA and WWE fans in the Philippines.

Since last week, Solar Entertainment channels Basketball TV, NBA Premium TV, Jack TV, Solar Sports and CT were unavailable on SkyCable. The message posted by the company is as follows:

SKY regrets to inform its valuable subscribers that Solar channels, namely NBA Premium, BTV, Jack TV, Solar Sports, and CT are temporarily not available. It is unfortunate that it has affected the airing of the NBA playoffs.

Solar has been our valued partner for many years. We are working with them for a resolution, but we cannot comment on the details of our discussions.

NBA fans, however, can continue to watch the playoff games beginning this Sunday, April 16, all through the finals via ABS-CBN Sports + Action and Fox Sports channel. They can check the updated schedules posted here.

The concerns of our subscribers and viewers are of utmost importance to us. Again, we offer our sincere apologies for the inconvenience.

The loss of Solar channels hit NBA fans hard, as Basketball TV and NBA Premium TV air a majority of the games daily per season. As a result, the NBA decided to appease the demands of viewers by assigning two games per day on ABS-CBN’s S+A channel, plus a select amount on Fox Sports Philippines and ABS-CBN Channel 2 while the situation is being fixed.

This is not the first time that SkyCable viewers vented their anger over the company’s issues with Solar Entertainment. In 2008, SkyCable pulled out Basketball TV, Jack TV and Solar Sports in favor of Creative Programs’ own channels due to an alleged television contract issue with Manny Pacquiao, but the channels were later reinstated.

Moving over to the world of sports-entertainment, FOX Philippines stunned Filipino wrestling fans by announcing that they will no longer carry WWE programs on the network after an attempt to negotiate a renewal failed to materialize. The statement can be seen below.

FOX had been a valued partner of the WWE since 2011, airing not only pay-per-views, 205 Live, NXT, Raw and SmackDown, but also complementary programs. However, the network drew the ire of some wrestling fans when it failed to air a select number of pay-per-views following the brand extension last July.

In a related development, TV5 announced that they have agreed to air WWE programs beginning April 30. No further details were made, but the network is expected to use Channel 5, AksyonTV and HYPER as vehicles to broadcast WWE events, both live and recap.

It remains to be seen if TV5 will do the same things that FOX used to do, but regardless, wrestling fans should rejoice this decision. Good luck.

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Philippines, Sports, television

ABS-CBN Sports: Basketball TV’s Only Hope

The loss of FIBA basketball and the abrupt cancellation of the NCRUCLAA coverage has hurt Basketball TV’s profile of late. (Logo courtesy of Solar Entertainment)

Basketball TV’s 10th year on the air has not been a smooth-sailing one.

The Solar Entertainment-owned network has seen plenty of losses in the last several months. Not only did it lose the FIBA basketball rights to Sports5, it also cut short its broadcast of the fledgling NCRUCLAA men’s basketball tournament a month into its maiden season.

On the positive side though, they managed to air an entire season’s worth of the NAASCU men’s basketball tournament while continuing its long and loyal commitment to the NBA and its related properties. Still, BTV’s increasing irrelevance has put a lot of pressure on Solar, and with the costs still growing, BTV’s days appear to be numbered.

There is a reason why BTV is known as ‘Basketball TV’: it is the home to a variety of basketball tournaments. While the network centers around the NBA, it also aired a number of other tournaments as well, such as the Euroleague, the U.S. NCAA March Madness, and local leagues such as the PBA and the defunct Philippine Basketball League.

However, as 2017 proved to be a poor year for both BTV and Solar, it is clear that the former needs a lot of help. At this point, a backup financier is all that BTV requires, and they can look no further than a fellow coveror of NBA games.

Back in 2011, ABS-CBN Sports signed a deal with the NBA to cover its games on free TV. Now the partnership between ABS-CBN and the NBA is six years strong, and they also expanded their scope online when ABS-CBN signed a contract with the NBA to operate the Filipino website of NBA.com.

ABS-CBN Sports also carry a wealth of experience covering local basketball. The network has existing deals with the UAAP and NCAA, and more recently, they began to broadcast the ASEAN Basketball League, along with grassroots basketball tournaments such as the NBTC and Slam Rising Stars competitions.

If Basketball TV wants to survive this cutthroat world of cable television, their only hope right now is to join forces with ABS-CBN Sports. With the latter’s experience and deep pockets, they could help BTV in any way, shape or form when it comes to providing top-notch basketball coverage.

It may take some time to materialize, but let’s face it, this is the only choice for BTV given their recent issues. That said, let’s just hope that Solar will be willing to allow rival ABS-CBN Sports to resuscitate BTV, and in doing so, alleviate the pressure of running a high-profile cable channel in the Philippines.

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Philippines, Sports, television, United States

ABS-CBN to Air NBA Finals Game 7 Live

Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals will indeed air LIVE on ABS-CBN Channel 2, preempting ‘Magandang Buhay’ and the premiere of ‘Kuroko’s Basketball’ season 3. (Promotional photo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

ABS-CBN is finally doing something right for once.

Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, according to ABS-CBN, will be aired LIVE. But since the game will be held on a Sunday in the United States (Monday in the Philippines), the game time will be at 8:00 a.m. Manila time, an hour earlier than usual.

Circumstances like this warrant a delayed telecast because of the presence of ‘Magandang Buhay’. But with Game 7 of the NBA Finals obviously the most important game of the season, ABS-CBN finally decided to give in to the viewers’ demands.

Thus, ‘Magandang Buhay’, along with the premiere of ‘Kuroko’s Basketball’ season 3, will be preempted for today, and the NBA Finals will air LIVE on Channel 2. It will still be called in-studio by Boom Gonzalez, Ronnie Magsanoc and Benjie Paras, among others, alongside TJ Manotoc on location in Oakland, California.

Basketball TV and NBA Premium TV will also simulcast Game 7 of the Finals with English commentary via ABC in the United States. There will also be a live viewing party at the NBA Cafe in SM Aura, Taguig.

The 2016 NBA Finals pits the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, and the Golden State Warriors, led by Stephen Curry. The Warriors seek to win back-to-back titles and validate their record-breaking 73-win season, while the Cavaliers look to end a 52-year title drought for Cleveland with their first championship.

The Warriors initially led the NBA Finals 3-1. But thanks to a pair of 40-point games by LeBron James, the Cavaliers were able to force a Game 7, and will now try to become the first team in NBA history to win the championship after trailing 3-1.

Replay of Game 7 will be later tonight at 10:30 p.m. on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, with another replay to be aired on an undetermined time tomorrow morning. Basketball TV and NBA Premium TV will re-air Game 7 at 7:00 p.m.

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Philippines, Sports, television, United States

BTV Robbed by NBA’s Biased Scheduling Assignments

The first week of NBA playoff coverage on Basketball TV will focus on less popular teams like the Raptors and Pacers, rather than the more highly followed ones like the Warriors and Cavaliers. (Photo credit: Solar Entertainment)

The NBA Playoffs have not been kind to Basketball TV these days.

When the NBA released its playoff schedule for Filipino broadcast partners, five things stood out for Basketball TV as far as the first week of coverage is concerned. They are:

  1. No assigned game to BTV for April 20, Wednesday. The said date (Manila time) will feature Game 2 of both the Hawks/Celtics and Spurs/Grizzlies series.
  2. A combined six appearances in eight playdates for either the Raptors/Pacers or the Heat/Hornets series, with the other two assigned to the Hawks/Celtics series.
  3. No Western Conference games, plus the Cavaliers/Pistons series.
  4. No doubleheaders.
  5. Three games shared with either ABS-CBN or ABS-CBN Sports+Action (Heat/Hornets on April 21, Raptors/Pacers on April 22, Hawks/Celtics on April 23).

This means that viewers on BTV will have to endure watching less popular teams such as the Raptors, Hornets and Pacers on a regular basis rather than the more marquee ones like the Warriors, Spurs and Cavaliers. So much for maintaining balance of coverage.

Even worse for the network is the lack of game coverage on select playdates. That will be the case tomorrow, as the NBA did not assign one game for BTV.

So what was left for BTV to do? They have no choice but to air the postgame edition of NBA Gametime, then replay it over and over again until the next game concludes.

Very unfortunate indeed. And that has been the case for the past few years.

Regardless of the expected negative reaction, it was and always will be the NBA’s decision to assign these games, so there’s no need to complain on it. That said, subscribing to both NBA Premium and Fox Sports Philippines is necessary to everyone who can’t stand BTV’s coverage.

If not, just endure the Taglish coverage of ABS-CBN Sports for this year’s playoffs. Good luck with that.

 

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FTT Year 2015 in Review: Television’s Worst

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2016, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 10 worst moments in Philippine television this year.

GMA Scraps Sunday TV Mass

On January 4, GMA decided to cease its broadcast of the Family TV Mass organized by the Society of Divine Word – Mission Communications Foundation, Inc. (SVD-MCFI), replacing it with the movie block ‘Kapuso Sine Klasika’. The Sunday Mass of SVD-MCFI returned to its old home in IBC-13 a week later.

Poor ratings of the Sunday Mass was among the reasons behind the cancellation. Despite the claims of many that GMA is promoting apathy and not favoring the Catholic religion, they still managed to cover (albeit not as dedicated as other stations) the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines, as well as produce a religiously-themed teleserye ‘Pari ‘Koy’ starring Dingdong Dantes.

Gone Too Soon for KISPinoy and Misterless Misis

‘KISPinoy’ and ‘Misterless Misis’ aired for only three episodes each during the third quarter of 2015. The former was axed in late July, while the latter received a postponement (or possibly a cancellation) notice the following month.

Both events paved the way for VIVA to take over TV5’s entertainment department, with Vic del Rosario replacing Wilma Galvante.

PBB, It’s Showtime Summoned by MTRCB

‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ and ‘It’s Showtime’ were each summoned by the MTRCB for offending viewer sensibilities. The former was for the so-called ‘bromance’ involving teen housemates Bailey May and Kenzo Gutierrez, while the latter was for the alleged ‘pimping’ of ‘Pastillas Girl’ Angelica Yap in the ‘Nasaan Ka Mr. Pastillas’ skit.

Both shows eventually complied by imposing self-regulatory measures, among other rulings. MTRCB also summoned GMA’s ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ for strong language inappropriate to viewers.

GMA’s Finances Put Into Question

Despite an increase in revenue, GMA’s financial capabilities were on the hot seat anew this year. The increased revenue was done at the expense of the network’s ‘streamlining’ efforts which featured, among others, the closure of regional networks and programs, and the termination of long-time employees.

Felipe Gozon’s reluctance to sell a part of the network’s shares was also a major issue. Talks between him and Ramon Ang collapsed in August (with the latter later accusing Gozon of estafa), and a few months later, Gozon rejected offers from Chavit Singson and Manny Pacquiao to purchase a part of the network.

Pope Francis, SONA and APEC Coverage Issues

Not all news networks were able to cover the three biggest news events of the year. GMA News TV received major heat for their lack of coverage in both the visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines and the State of the Nation Address, while AksyonTV was criticized for their non-coverage of the APEC Summit.

The two embattled news networks deserved a lot of blame this year. Speaking of AksyonTV,…

AksyonTV’s Identity Crisis Continues

Admit it or not, AksyonTV really needs a makeover. No longer the 24/7 all-Filipino free TV news channel of years past, the network is now increasingly littered with sports coverage, ranging from major leagues like the PSL to more low-scale ones like the PCBL.

Perhaps the time is now for the network to bring back the AKTV name it once used as a blocktimer on IBC-13. After all, AksyonTV’s glory days are behind them.

StarStruck’s Disaster

The return of ‘StarStruck’ proved to be a glorified failure, as ratings and a questionable timeslot doomed the reality show’s sixth season. It was also long overdue, and it would have made a big difference for the network had it been placed opposite ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’.

That said, there may never be another season of ‘StarStruck’ after this. So much for hype gone wrong.

Goodbye Showbiz Talk Shows As We Know It

Easter Sunday of this year marked the final episode of the 16-year-old ‘The Buzz’. Seven months later, ‘Startalk’ took a bow as well after 20 years on air.

A change in viewer’s taste was a key reason behind the demise of both shows. Although ‘CelebriTV’ replaced ‘Startalk’, and ABS-CBN planned to revive ‘The Buzz’ in the future, it won’t be easy adapting to a new audience.

CNN Philippines Not Living Up to Expectations

Launched last March 15, CNN Philippines was supposed to be a local version of its parent network. However, a lot of issues surfaced from the beginning.

Whether it’s due to the revolving door of anchors and reporters, an overemphasis on Nancy Grace or the lack of round-the-clock news coverage, it is clear that CNN Philippines is still a work in progress. That said, Nine Media will need to make a lot of changes to ensure that this venture between them and CNN won’t end quickly.

NBA on ABS-CBN Demoted to the Studio

Since February, NBA coverage on ABS-CBN and ABS-CBN Sports+Action has been purely local, handled in-studio by Boom Gonzalez, TJ Manotoc, Ronnie Magsanoc and Benjie Paras. But to the surprise of many, only Manotoc traveled to the United States to cover the NBA Finals, and ABS-CBN opted to call the games in-studio rather than on location.

Delayed broadcast of the NBA games were a primary reason behind ABS-CBN’s questionable decision. Still, with digitization looming, and the migration to HD underway, it seems like this is a more logical solution for the network to save costs.

In tomorrow’s year-end special, From the Tube will look back at the 10 best moments in Philippine television this 2015.

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Philippines, Sports, television, United States

ABS-CBN Goes All Out With Local NBA Commentary

The NBA on ABS-CBN Sports is now in Taglish on a full-time basis.

Since opening week, all NBA games on ABS-CBN and ABS-CBN Sports+Action are called straight from the network’s studios in Quezon City. The commentary of the games are being rotated among its four announcers: Ronnie Magsanoc, Benjie Paras, Boom Gonzales and TJ Manotoc.

It can be recalled that ABS-CBN began to air NBA regular season games with their commentators at the start of this year. Initially the local commentary is exclusive to Channel 2, but come the conference finals, it has been extended to its sister station on Channel 23.

During the previous season’s NBA Finals, however, ABS-CBN elected to keep their local crew at the studio instead of sending them to the United States, presumably to save costs. This seems more logical, as the finals games on the network are now broadcast on a delayed basis due to various programming concerns.

This season, ABS-CBN made the jump towards an all-local NBA coverage for all of its games. The debut of the full-time ‘localized’ NBA coverage took place on opening night last October 28, when Sports+Action aired the Cleveland Cavaliers-Chicago Bulls matchup with commentary from Ronnie Magsanoc and Benjie Paras.

This latest move by ABS-CBN Sports is intended towards attracting a more ‘masa’ audience. But for those disenchanted with this decision, don’t worry, because NBA games on Basketball TV, Fox Sports Asia and NBA Premium TV will still feature commentary from American announcers.

NBA games are currently aired on ABS-CBN Sports+Action every Friday, Sunday and Monday, and on ABS-CBN every Saturday. ABS-CBN Sports will also air a Christmas game and several late-season games if possible.

For more information on the upcoming NBA broadcasts in the Philippines, click on this link.

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