news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, Sports, television

Rudely Interrupted: T5N Does a Heidi Anew for the NFL and U.S. NCAA

Remember the infamous ‘Heidi Game’ in American football?

Back on November 17, 1968, an American Football League (AFL) game between the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders was rudely cut on NBC during the fourth quarter in order to air the program ‘Heidi’ on time. The incident caused viewers to miss out on the game’s final minutes, which saw the Jets kick a field goal only to see Oakland win the game on two touchdowns.

This incident led to the NFL requiring its television partners to air the games in its entirety. Unfortunately, one Filipino television network appears to ignore this rule.

In 2014, TV5 gave NCAA fans no favors when it interrupted two of its live games in favor of news coverage. The first instance, Lyceum vs. Mapua, was cut short in favor of then-President Noynoy Aquino’s impromptu speech, while the second instance, EAC vs. Mapua, featured a bench-clearing brawl and was consequently cut in favor of ‘Aksyon Prime’.

As a result, the NCAA decided not to re-sign with TV5 and chose ABS-CBN Sports as its broadcast partner instead. But this is not the last time The 5 Network became embroiled in such controversy.

September’s NFL Kickoff Game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons was delayed by over an hour due to inclement weather. Consequently, T5N did another ‘Heidi’ and started ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ on time, although they still inserted the live feed of the NFL game during the Raffy Tulfo in Action segment.

T5N also did the same thing Wednesday afternoon when they aired a U.S. NCAA men’s basketball game between Duke and Kentucky. While they still complied in both of these cases, the fact that they pushed through with ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ didn’t sit well with some viewers.

Then again, neither the NFL nor the U.S. NCAA basketball were popular with Filipino sports fans. At this point, ESPN5 is questioning the viability of both sports, especially when the country’s pastimes now are local basketball, volleyball and to a lesser extent soccer.

Also, there is a concern regarding T5N’s insistence on a noontime newscast at the expense of live sports. For all intents and purposes, ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ is now more of a ‘Wanted sa Radyo’ spinoff, with less emphasis on news and more on citizen complaints.

If Chot Reyes were to be approached, he might as well convince Luchi Cruz-Valdes to cancel ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ and proceed with a taped-as-live TV revival of ‘Wanted’. Because who needs a noontime newscast anyway when the news gets thrown out the window.

Either way the never-ending problems within T5N are once again prevalent. Let’s face it, with such an incompetent personnel it’s no wonder they have a disorganized schedule.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Sports5’s Doubtful and Desperate Future

The ‘Road to Rio’ will be a bumpy one, as TV5 essentially sacrificed its entire programming lineup just for the coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics. This year’s Olympics could decide the future of Sports5 as well. (Photo credit: PhilStar.com)

These are indeed desperate times for TV5.

It has been over a month since the Kapatid network ‘demolished’ (for the lack of a better term) almost its entire programming lineup in favor of unlimited ‘foreignoy’ movies and home shopping blocks. And while their decision may seem ridiculous, they were essentially preparing this demolition job for one particular event.

Enter the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The Summer Olympics in Rio will be the fourth such event for TV5, following the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing. As early as now, TV5 is going all out, because as far as they were concerned, this could be their last chance to prove their worth as a force in Philippine sports.

Anyone who has followed TV5 over the years know how much a sports fan Manny V. Pangilinan is. The businessman is best known in the sports world as:

  • owner of three PBA teams (Tropang TNT, Meralco Bolts, NLEX Road Warriors)
  • bankroller of two collegiate teams (Ateneo Blue Eagles, San Beda Red Lions)
  • one-time president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas
  • benefactor of Gilas Pilipinas

His work on TV5 was also an extensive one. Between 2011 and 2012, the Kapatid network snared the rights to several top-flight events, which include the following:

  • Philippine Basketball Association
  • United Football League
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (Philippines)
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (United States)
  • Olympic Games
  • National Football League’s Super Bowl
  • Gilas Pilipinas basketball games

At first, MVP collaborated with IBC-13 for a blocktime deal that became AKTV. But when cash flow problems surfaced, he ended the blocktime agreement and was forced to utilize both TV5 and AksyonTV for their sports coverage.

Unfortunately for TV5, they encountered greater problems in handling such coverage. As a result, their entertainment programming was extremely compromised, while news programs on AksyonTV gradually eroded to the point that they were either cancelled or preempted.

Although the network managed to take advantage of the all-sports channel HYPER on its Cignal subscription service, it is clear that Sports5’s problems are becoming increasingly hard to overcome. Which leads to 2016, the year where the network’s contracts with the PBA, Olympics and the UFL are up for either renewal or expiration.

Considering these irreparable problems, the smart choice of action for TV5 at this point is to not renew their contracts with the said events. But with other networks enduring a variety of obstacles themselves, and with ABS-CBN Sports all too loaded to commit for more events, all signs point to a reluctant renewal.

So what’s next for Sports5? No one knows, but for the next several months, their busy schedule will be an evaluation process to see if they still have what it takes to be a big-time player in Philippine sports.

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FTT Year 2015 in Review: Television’s Best

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 best moments in Philippine television this year.

AlDub Invades Eat Bulaga and the World

The now-popular Kalyeserye segment of ‘Eat Bulaga’ began on July 16, as a then-unknown Maine Mendoza (under the Yaya Dub character) caught the eye of rising Kapuso star Alden Richards. Since then, AlDub grew into a social media phenomenon, and it culminated into a slew of advertisements, magazine covers, a supporting role in ‘My Bebe Love: #KiligPaMore’, and a sold-out ‘Sa Tamang Panahon’ live episode at the Philippine Arena.

While the popularity of AlDub had some negative effects on GMA and its rivals, there is no denying that the duo became the key ingredient that introduced ‘Eat Bulaga’ into a new generation. The 36-year-old variety show is now enjoying its best ratings in years, thanks largely to AlDub.

LizQuen, KathNiel and JaDine Dominate Primetime Ratings

While AlDub dominated noontime, primetime belonged to ABS-CBN’s three hottest love teams.  The year began with LizQuen (Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil) of ‘Forevermore’ continuing their winning run, before handing it over to KathNiel (Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla) of ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’, and JaDine (James Reid and Nadine Lustre) of ‘On the Wings of Love’.

The success of LizQuen, KathNiel and JaDine were crucial in Primetime Bida’s thorough domination of Telebabad in the national ratings. Although GMA responded with BiGuel (Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix) in ‘Once Upon a Kiss’, and GabRu (Gabbi Garcia and Ruru Madrid) of ‘Let the Love Begin’, they were unable to make an impact.

A New Sunday Afternoon Habit

August 9 saw a new rival for the 20-year-old ‘ASAP’, but they did not expect it to be different. In came ‘Sunday PinaSaya’, GMA’s newest variety show that emphasized more on comedy than musical performances.

The presence of ‘Eat Bulaga’ hosts Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola and Alden RicRhards (with Maine Mendoza later added) helped ‘Sunday PinaSaya’ defeat ‘ASAP’ on a consistent basis. In response, ABS-CBN moved ‘Banana Split: Extra Scoop’ to Sunday afternoons as ‘Banana Sundae’, but it still failed to reverse the trend.

Willie Revillame Returns 

Speaking of Sunday afternoons, May 10 saw the return of Willie Revillame to the small screen with ‘Wowowin’. Initially airing every mid-Sunday afternoons, it later moved to an earlier timeslot after ‘Sunday PinaSaya’, where it has since flourished.

Even though Willie faced an arrest warrant over the ‘Willing Willie’ macho dancer kid case, this didn’t stop him from receiving accolades for ‘Wowowin’. The rebirth of the controversial host was capped off with a pair of awards for best game show and host in the PMPC Star Awards.

Wattpad Presents Turns 1

The teleserye dominance of ABS-CBN and GMA did not deter TV5. Following the cancellation of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ in early November, ‘Wattpad Presents’ became the network’s longest-running active entertainment program, having been on the air for over a year.

Under-appreciated by most television viewers, ‘Wattpad Presents’ was able to make it over a year thanks to an endless supply of new stories and a dedicated fanbase. It is considered a perfect alternative to the long and dragging storylines that a teleserye usually provides.

ABS-CBN Goes Digital and HD

February 11 saw the much-awaited launch of ABS-CBN TVPlus, the first-ever digital terrestrial television service in the country. The so-called ‘mahiwagang black box’ quickly became popular, selling nearly a million units.

Then on October 3, ABS-CBN HD was launched, bringing virtually every program on Channel 2 into crystal clear high definition. And finally, ABS-CBN announced that they will replace Balls HD with ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD starting January 1, ending a six-year run for the network’s first-ever HD channel.

Kapamilya Gold Reloaded

Teleseryes made their return to Kapamilya Gold on January 13, as ‘Flordeliza’ and ‘Nasaan Ka Nang Kailangan Kita’ premiered on the afternoon block. This was followed by four other series: ‘Doble Kara’, ‘All of Me’, ‘Walang Iwanan’ and ‘And I Love You So’.

Since then, the battle between Kapamilya Gold and Afternoon Prime dramas became a tight one, both in ratings and momentum. However, it didn’t stop ‘The Half-Sisters’ from achieving the one-year milestone in June.

NCAA Returns to Channel 23; UAAP Extended

After a fruitless three-year tenure with Sports5, the NCAA returned to ABS-CBN Sports in late June. The renewed partnership featured new innovations, such as social media interaction and high-definition broadcasts.

ABS-CBN Sports also signed a fresh five-year deal with the UAAP, following another successful season. The network now plans to extend its coverage to other UAAP tournaments, in addition to full coverage of men’s basketball and women’s volleyball.

The Big Two-0

November 27 saw ‘Bubble Gang’ celebrate its 20th anniversary with a documentary special. The 20-year-old gag show continues to defy time, maintaining its status as a Friday night habit despite an evolving cast of talents and advancements in technology.

Also reaching its 20th year is ‘Saksi’, the second longest-running active free TV newscast in the country. So is ‘ASAP’, who despite fading ratings with the entry of ‘Sunday PinaSaya’, remains a fixture on Sunday noontime.

Janella, Jana Shine on Lunchtime

Following up the success of ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ was a difficult task, but Janella Salvador and Jana Agoncillo proved that they were able to thrive with this challenge. Janella’s ‘Oh My G’ and Jana’s ‘Ningning’ flourished as one the country’s top-rated programs on weekdays, despite a stiff competitor in ‘The Ryzza Mae Show’.

In response, the TAPE-produced talk show starring Ryzza Mae Dizon was rebooted into a drama series as ‘Princess in the Palace’. However, the reformat did not produce the desired results.

2015 was another year to remember for television viewers. Although ABS-CBN continued to reign this year, GMA and TV5 enjoyed their own share of moments as well, and with digitization now underway, the preparation for a full-digitized television signal in the Philippines is on.

So what is in store for 2016? Find out as From the Tube continues to look at events and changes that shape Philippine media.

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entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

Evaluating the First Month of the NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports V.2

The NCAA’s return to ABS-CBN Sports has been a good one so far. (Logo courtesy of the NCAA)

The second incarnation of the NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports is now a month old.

The oldest collegiate league in the country returned to ABS-CBN Sports in hopes of getting back on track. So far, though, viewers were treated to a slightly similar broadcast approach as the one that Sports5 previously handled, with a few differences of course.

Here’s a look at how ABS-CBN was able to make their mark on the league so far.

Use of Taglish

Unexpectedly, the network decided to use Taglish while calling the games. In their first run from 2002-12, ABS-CBN Sports announcers called the NCAA games in English, but with Sports+Action increasingly attracting a mass audience, the use of Taglish was necessitated.

This was the same approach that TV5 used when they covered the NCAA, but unfortunately for them, they failed to catch on for various reasons.

Emphasis on Social Media

The NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports also tapped in a new market called social media. Throughout each game, tweets and Instagram posts from players, fans and even basketball enthusiasts are read by the announcers in relation to the game at hand, with an official hashtag to boot.

They even allow announcers to take pre-game selfies (a novel practice in sports broadcasting), which are then posted to their individual Instagram accounts. And for the curious viewers, graphics of the announcers’ names now include their Twitter and/or Instagram accounts.

New Announcers

Speaking of announcers, ABS-CBN Sports employed a mix of young and experienced broadcasters to the NCAA game. Anton Roxas and Andrei Felix were carried over from the original incarnation, while Boom Labrusca, who also doubles as a courtside reporter, is a neophyte to the play-by-play profession.

Unlike TV5 which used former professional players as analysts, ABS-CBN hired mostly former collegiate standouts in order to relate better with the college game. The network has used Mikee Reyes, Migs Bustos, Martin Antonio and Olsen Racela to analyze the games, with Racela having also worked with the Sports5 crew in the past.

Familiar and Not-So Familiar Courtside Reporters

Those who have watched the NCAA so far may notice some familiar and unsuspecting faces to the courtside reporter spot. Before the season began, ABS-CBN Sports announced that cosplayer, Hero TV jock and former ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ housemate Myrtle Sarrosa would be one of the courtside reporters for the season.

Since then, Myrtle was joined by the aforementioned Boom Labrusca, followed by Ceej Tantengco and Rox Montealegre. Quite a familiar bunch, but one with little experience to the world of sports.

The ABS-CBN Sports courtside reporters have three different responsibilities:

  1. To report on the teams’ strategies,
  2. To interview a player’s family members and friends, school alumni, students or fans, and
  3. To interview players and coaches during pregame and postgame (if applicable)

The said strategy is similar to what TV5 employed, but with less on-cam time.

Halftime Presentations

Halftime of each game usually consists of a brief glimpse of a school’s cheering exhibition, followed by a special feature and an analysis of the first half. For the viewers who had enough of TV5’s radical changes (e.g. Moneyball), this is a welcome development to bring back the intended mission of the NCAA: to promote loyalty, camaraderie and school spirit.

HD Broadcasts and Return of Smart and PLDT

In a surprise move, ABS-CBN welcomed Smart and PLDT as sponsors. The two telecommunications outfits are a sister company of ABS-CBN’s competitor TV5, which is a stunning move to say the least.

And finally, the NCAA games are now broadcast in its full 16:9 HD glory. While ABS-CBN Sports was the first to broadcast an event in HD, they did not fully take advantage of the new technology until this year.

So far, it’s been a beneficial first month of NCAA coverage. And while some would disagree with these moves, ABS-CBN is clearly intent on taking serious steps to make the NCAA more appealing to the masses.

The season is still a long way to go, but from the looks of it, the NCAA has found a perfect partner to thrive with. With a few tweaks, expect this partnership to last a lot longer.

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Philippines, Sports, television

With NCAA Out, TV5 Focuses on International Multi-Sport Events

Coverage of the 2015 Southeast Asian Games will be held exclusively by Sports5. (Photo credit: Interaksyon.com)

The loss of NCAA rights did not stop TV5 from pursuing other sporting events.

Starting today, TV5’s family of channels will have a live and exclusive coverage of the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore. The SEA Games will be aired on three different platforms: VHF channel TV5, UHF channel AksyonTV 41 and livestreaming site Sports5.ph.

A majority of the coverage will be dedicated to the Philippine national teams, with major focus on the country’s basketball, volleyball and football teams. Sports5 will also provide highlights to the country’s other teams, such as athletics, boxing and swimming.

While the opening ceremonies will take place on June 5, preliminaries of events such as football, netball and table tennis will get underway today. Both the opening and closing ceremonies will take place at the Singapore National Stadium, which will also host the athletics and football events.

In the previous SEA Games at Myanmar two years ago, the Philippines endured its worst performance of the event, finishing a paltry seventh in the medal round. Much of the blame is centered on Myanmar’s inclusion of indigenous sports in lieu of other well-known disciplines, forcing the country to send a smaller-than-expected delegation.

The poor performance of the country was further justified by the lack of extensive coverage by previous coveror ABS-CBN Sports (via Studio 23), who only covered basketball, football and boxing. The reluctance and eventual unwillingness of ABS-CBN Sports to extensively cover the event marked the low point of the SEA Games on Philippine television.

With ABS-CBN Sports now focusing more on college sports such as the UAAP and the recently-acquired NCAA, TV5 decided to further its portfolio towards international multi-sporting events. And the SEA Games became their latest coup.

The acquisition of the SEA Games, along with prior additions such as the Olympics and the Asian Games, gave Sports5 the three most important events in the calendar of the Philippine Olympic Committee. Not since the early 2000s had the rights to these three events belonged to one network.

That said, it is now up to TV5 to bring back a sense of pride and honor to the Filipino athlete. This year’s SEA Games should be a proving ground for the Philippines to regain its place among Southeast Asia’s best.

The 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore will be held from June 5-16.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Remembering the NCAA on TV5

Adios, NCAA on TV5.

In one month, the 91st season of the NCAA will get underway. The league will have a new (or old) media partner going forward, as they joined forces with ABS-CBN Sports beginning this season.

But before we look ahead to the league’s return to the Kapamilya group, let us reflect on the three-year relationship between the NCAA and TV5.

Ambitious Beginnings

The NCAA joined forces with Sports5 prior to Season 88. The games were first broadcast on the AKTV on IBC-13 block, with a Monday-Thursday-Saturday schedule and a 4:00 p.m. start time.

The league also held a pair of provincial playdates in an effort to attract new fans. But to fans’ dismay, neither of the out-of-town games were aired on AKTV, a predicament that continued the next season with AksyonTV.

AKTV also employed full-time sideline reporters as opposed to student representatives/OJTs used by ABS-CBN Sports. They also deviated from ABS-CBN’s practice of showing cheering squads at halftime, and instead used the time to read netizens’ tweets and talk to fans of opposing schools.

And of course, a new partner means a new broadcast staff. Sports5 elected to employ a younger cast of announcers, as opposed to a more veteran-laden team during the ABS-CBN era, in hopes of connecting to younger fans.

Brewing Troubles and Change of Stations

The first sign of trouble for the NCAA on Sports5 took place in the Season 88 Finals. Game 3 of the San Beda-Letran series was aired on TV5 but on a more unfavorable early afternoon slot, a scenario that was repeated in the following year’s finals between the same two teams.

Then in May 2013, Mediaquest and TV5 decided to end their blocktime deal with IBC-13. This forced Sports5 to move the league’s games to AksyonTV, a decision that didn’t sit well with the viewers due to the station’s poor reach and accessibility.

Worse, the lack of an online livestreaming platform only exacerbated the situation, especially during heavily prioritized live news events such as the State of the Nation Address. Although Sports5 managed to provide a livestreaming platform by Season 90, the damage was already done at that point.

A Last-Ditch Effort By TV5

Season 90 saw a select number of games aired on the flagship TV5, in hopes of addressing the need for wider access. Still, a few games that ran overtime were cut off TV5 in favor of Aksyon Prime (a decision known as the ‘Heidi Moment’), something that was not experienced when ABS-CBN Sports (via Studio 23, now ABS-CBN Sports+Action) had the rights.

The TV5 games also featured the infamous Moneyball game that was first implemented during the network’s PBA coverage. The presence of Moneyball took away the school spirit aspect of the game, as it prevented the league’s fans from watching the performance of the cheering squads at halftime.

Even though TV5 aired a select number of games that season, AksyonTV still had a major presence on the NCAA coverage. The addition of TV5 did little to increase attention to the league’s games, despite a major promotional campaign that signified the NCAA as ‘Ang Larong Tunay’ (A True Game).

Aftermath

In the end, the ambitious plans of TV5 for the NCAA backfired. The demise of AKTV proved too much, as it affected whatever grand plans the Kapatid network has had in making the NCAA more competitive and attractive to viewers.

Promotion of the league was also a problem, as Sports5 continues to prioritize the PBA. Furthermore, the constant change in channels, along with the use of unorthodox gimmicks such as Moneyball, the lack of modern technologies, and the use of full-time reporters as opposed to student representatives, only hastened the decline.

The final straw for the NCAA on TV5 took place once their regular on-air announcers were elevated to the PBA. In hindsight, it was clear that TV5 has had enough; even though they tried to offer an extension, the NCAA felt the time to move on was now.

And so it did. From now on, it’s ABS-CBN Sports’ turn once more. And the NCAA couldn’t be happier.

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