entertainment, lifestyle, news, paid programming, Philippines, public affairs, religion, Sports, television

FTT Year 2014 in Review: Other Networks

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2015, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article will focus on the minor TV networks in the Philippines.

Highlights

A transitional period from the Solar News Channel to CNN Philippines got underway in August. Temporarily known as 9TV, the network was launched on August 23 after Antonio Cabangon-Chua purchased the network from Solar Entertainment’s Wilson Tieng; CNN later signed an agreement with Nine Media Corporation to rename the station as CNN Philippines early next year.

Net 25 also unveiled a new look, featuring a logo inspired from an eagle’s wing (in reference to its parent Eagle Broadcasting Corporation). The station then joined forces with sister station INC-TV 49 to cover the events surrounding the centennial of the Iglesia ni Cristo, including the Grand Evangelical Mission at the Philippine Arena that opened the centennial celebrations.

And finally, UNTV broke ground on the new broadcast center that will open in two years. The groundbreaking ceremony kicked off the station’s 10th anniversary (13th if the rock music format of UNTV were to be included in its history).

Lowlights

In June, IBC-13 and Asian Television Content Corporation joined forces to launch the ATC @ IBC block, featuring a lineup consisting of telenovelas, lifestyle and travel programs, and sports events. Low ratings and loss of revenue caused the block to be cancelled, though ATC later returned to broadcast the PBA Developmental League’s Aspirants Cup on IBC-13 in late October.

Solar Entertainment’s problems continued after the loss of 9TV to the ALC Group. Weeks after the sale of Solar News to Chua’s group was announced, Solar lost another partner in RMN and BEAM Inc. after the latter ceased its affiliation agreement, resulting in the loss of Jack City from free TV 31 in favor of religious programming and O Shopping block.

PTV-4 also made some drastic steps to improve their programming. While ‘Oh Ja Ryong is Coming’ was launched as planned, ‘K-Pop Idol Search – Pinoy Edition’, a partnership between PTV and HBKOR Inc., remains in limbo, as its launch date remains uncertain.

Outlook

The transition to digital television in a few years represents numerous challenges for the minor networks, some of which involve budgetary concerns. Still this is an obstacle that can be overcome, especially now that Philippine television is headed into a new era.

Both the ATC-IBC and PTV-HBKOR deals are at a crossroads, while Nine Media’s new venture as CNN Philippines is about to get underway. This and more as 2015 begins in earnest.

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entertainment, news, Philippines, Sports, television

PBA D-League Has a New (or Old) Partner

The PBA D-League will return to IBC-13, this time under the deal forged by blocktimer Asian Television Content Corporation. (Photo credit: Interaksyon.com)

The PBA Developmental League will have a new partner to cover their games this upcoming season.

It was announced that the PBA D-League and Asian Television Content Corporation will join forces to air the said league’s games on IBC-13, beginning next season. The league’s games will be aired on a delayed basis from 8-11 p.m.

Last season, the PBA D-League was practically shut out of television coverage. Although Sports5, by way of AksyonTV, aired the finals of the two conferences, they were unable to air the elimination and playoff matches due to their prior commitments with other sports events.

A possible broadcast deal with GMA News TV also fell through, mainly because the parent network lacked the necessary resources to cover the games.

The new broadcast agreement will mark the PBA D-League’s return to its original coveror. IBC-13 previously covered the D-League from 2011-13, as part of the future Sports5 blocktime deal.

The ATC on IBC started last June, and featured a mix of new and old programs. Among their new programs are telenovelas ‘The Two Sides of Ana’ and ‘La Teniente’, and documentary programs ‘Animalia’ and ‘Confidential’. Classic programs such as ‘Retro TV’, ‘Cooltura’ and ‘Stoplight TV’ are also included.

The addition of the PBA D-League further establishes ATC as an emerging force in the media industry, one that is expected to bolster its current lineup in the future. But it remains to be seen if their new investment will result in some revenue for both ATC and IBC-13.

Nevertheless, this should be a welcome development for the PBA D-League, who needed some exposure for their teams and its upcoming players.

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Philippines, Sports, television

The Lack of PBA D-League TV Coverage

The new PBA D-League season is underway, but the league started off without a television broadcast partner. The D-League is now in its fourth season, with 14 teams currently competing in the first conference Aspirants’ Cup. And with the recent PBA Rookie Draft attracting 79 prospects, interest in the PBA’s farm league is starting to pick up.

That newfound interest did not translate to television coverage, however. The league’s erstwhile partner in Sports5 decided to back out, as their commitments to the NCAA, the PBA, the United Football League, and other sports events made it impossible to add the D-League to their schedule. At the same time, the D-League started to negotiate with GMA for game coverage, according to sources. But as of today, GMA and the D-League have yet to agree on a television deal.

The addition of the D-League on GMA should be a welcome boost to the network, whose sports coverage have been few and far between. GMA’s recent sports resume only includes Manny Pacquiao fights, Shakey’s V-League matches and other minor events, a resume that does not equal that of ABS-CBN Sports or Sports5. If the Kapuso network agrees to air the D-League it will definitely increase its opportunity of acquiring the rights for PBA games soon, in the process adding its own reputation as a force in the sportscasting department.

Meanwhile, airing the D-League on GMA News TV should only boost the league’s exposure. With the talent pool growing, the league needs a broadcast partner to showcase some of the players’ skills, and introduce lesser-known basketball players to the audience. Imagine if the league failed to find a broadcast partner throughout the season, then no one will pay witness to see the likes of Chris Banchero or Bobby Ray Parks play against fellow Fil-foreigners and provincial talents. So the D-League needs that kind of exposure to help the fans memorize these up-and-coming players.

The PBA D-League is currently ongoing, and if GMA is able to pick up its games, it should help the league in the long-term.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Goodbye AKTV

After nearly two years on air, AKTV signs off for good. But problems within TV5’s sports division continue to persist today. (Logo courtesy of ABC Development Corporation)

On May 31, 2013, the AKTV on IBC 13 block aired for the last time. As reported over a month ago, Mediaquest has decided not to renew the blocktime contract with IBC 13, which expired in May. With AKTV ceasing to exist, Sports5‘s properties are being moved to AksyonTV and Hyper starting this month.

The AKTV programming block made its rousing debut in August 2011 with the Smart All-Star Ultimate Challenge, pitting the Gilas national team and an all-PBA selection against NBA players led by Kobe Bryant. In October, AKTV became the home of the PBA, airing all of its games for the next two years. Over the next few months, AKTV aired sports events like soccer’s United Football LeaguePremier League, La Liga and Bundesliga, the 2012 London Olympic Games, the NCAA, PBA D-League and professional boxing, among others. However, mounting costs, coupled with lack of profits, forced TV5 management not to renew its block-time agreement after two years.

The signs that AKTV’s days were numbered showed after the PBA allowed to air the recently concluded Commissioner’s Cup Final on TV5. In addition, IBC decided to reduce AKTV’s programming hours during the weekends. Originally the block aired for 12 hours on weekends, but was reduced to six hours in the block’s final few months. As AKTV was winding down, Mediaquest was scrambling to find a new network for its UFL and incoming NCAA coverage, which AksyonTV was able to oblige.

AksyonTV is no stranger to airing sports coverage. In its infancy, it aired a boxing match featuring Filipina Ana Julaton, but has since deferred from airing further sports in favor of news and public affairs. However, with AKTV no longer in the equation, AksyonTV had no other choice but to air the UFL, the PBA D-League and the upcoming NCAA season.

The demise of AKTV exposed TV5’s budgetary deficiencies. By committing too much on several sports properties without giving enough time to tinker and experiment, they lost so much money, and by the time the deal expired, they scrambled to get their sports properties on another channel. The 2012 London Olympics was a broadcasting failure, both in expenses and revenue. Also their more recent venture with the NCAA had an adverse effect on its budget. The ‘AKTV Center’ before PBA games, though well-viewed, was unnecessary. Perhaps the network’s owner Manny V. Pangilinan had a full pocket that he spent lavishly on it, without realizing how to conserve them. With all that in mind, it is clear that TV5 wants to be a cut above the rest, at par with competitors ABS-CBN and GMA 7. But instead their free-spending ways betrayed them in the end.

I already wrote about GMA 7’s lack of a sports division before. Perhaps GMA should step up already. Then again, neither will GMA 7’s ownership be serious enough to acquire the sports properties that TV5 has. Until then, TV5 should remain committed with what they have now, regardless of how their budget would play a role. Otherwise it will be a long season for the still-fledgling network.

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