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FTT Year 2016 in Review: The 20 Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part II)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2017, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 20 moments that define the Philippine media this year.

If you missed out on Part I of this series, click on the highlighted link for more information.

Here is Part II of the four-part series. These stories are arranged in no particular order.

The End of Kris TV

‘Kris TV’ had been an early morning staple for nearly five years. With Kris Aquino at the helm, ‘Kris TV’ became one of the most enduring talk shows of the decade, and despite all the criticisms and low ratings thrown at them, ABS-CBN kept the faith on both Kris and the show itself.

But on March 23, Kris Aquino made a stunning announcement that she will officially bid farewell due to her recent health issues. As it turned out, this was ‘Kris TV”s last original episode, with the show continuing to air reruns until April 15, before it was replaced by ‘Magandang Buhay’.

Since then, Kris appeared as a guest on rival GMA talk show ‘Yan ang Morning’, and was scheduled to interview President Rodrigo Duterte in November until the latter no-showed due to illness.

News5 Loses Men to Duterte

Speaking of President Duterte, his cabinet featured a select number of former News5 anchors and reporters. This included PCOO chief Martin Andanar, DOT spokesperson Cherie Mercado, and assistant secretary for media relations Mia Reyes.

With the departure of numerous on-air staff, News5 was forced to implement new measures such as solo anchors on select ‘Aksyon’ newscasts. Unfortunately, it did not mitigate the damage that News5 endured this year, so much so that its head Luchi Cruz-Valdes even contemplated on relinquishing her post in favor of a cabinet position, a rumor that was eventually quashed.

However, this was not the only problem that TV5 faced this year.

Dissolution of TV5’s Entertainment Department

Late last year, TV5 reached out to VIVA Entertainment head Vic del Rosario to reinvigorate its entertainment division. The end result of this collaboration included shows such as ‘Ang Panday’, ‘Bakit Manipis ang Ulap’, ‘Born to Be a Star’ and ‘Tasya Fantasya’.

Unfortunately, none of VIVA’s shows clicked, with questionable scheduling and low ratings to blame for the issues. As a result, new TV5 head Chot Reyes had no choice but to start over, dissolving TV5’s entertainment division, and cutting ties with VIVA in September.

For now, TV5 airs TV shopping blocks, Tagalized canned programs and movies, News5 shows and the PBA, while waiting for Chot Reyes to renovate the station from within.

The Rebirth of CNN Philippines

Last year, CNN Philippines was heavily criticized for its revolving door of anchors, a penchant for airing HLN and CNN International shows, and a lack of commitment towards breaking news. Enter Armie Jarin-Bennett, a CNN International veteran who decided to give CNN Philippines an extreme makeover.

Within a year since her entry, CNN Philippines transformed itself into a force in the world of journalism almost overnight. New locally flavored shows were introduced, and newly-hired hosts and anchors such as Pinky Webb, Ruth Cabal, Andrei Felix and Anthony Pangilinan were brought in.

The end result is a positively-reviewed news organization which now strives to tell the story of the Filipino, as evidenced by the network’s highly-praised coverage of the vice presidential debates.

PTV-4’s Revitalization and IBC-13’s Sale, as Promised by President Duterte

Upon assuming office on June 30, President Rodrigo Duterte promised sweeping changes for the country. None was more evident than in the two networks that are owned by the government: PTV-4 and IBC-13.

President Duterte’s plan for PTV-4 is to become a public service network in the mold of the PBS in the U.S. and the BBC in the U.K. As for IBC-13, his objective is to sell the network to private investors for P10 billion, with the eye towards revitalizing its seemingly moribund programming.

While the proposals will take some time, one can only hope that the two networks will soon return to form as the country’s respective government and general entertainment station.

Part III of this four-part series is coming up this Thursday. Stay tuned.

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action, entertainment, fantasy, news, Philippines, Sports, suspense, television, United States

TV5 Must Revamp Primetime Lineup

Odd one out: For TV5 to become truly alternative anew, they need to retire 'Aksyon Prime' for good and go with 'Aksyon Tonite' as their lone evening newscast. (Logo courtesy of TV5)

Odd one out: TV5’s primetime revamp may require ‘Aksyon Prime’ to merge with ‘Aksyon Tonite’. (Logo courtesy of TV5)

It is clear that TV5’s primetime lineup is going nowhere.

Questions abound the said lineup once Chot Reyes made it clear that he envisioned a more ‘alternative’ approach for the network. For instance, ‘Aksyon Prime’ and ‘Aksyon Tonite’ now seem out of place in Chot’s new approach, due to its ‘masa’-fied format and competition with ABS-CBN and GMA newscasts.

To make matters worse, ‘Aksyon Tonite’ recently added unproven journos in Lia Cruz and Marga Vargas, both of whom seem more suited to sports than news. And finally, PBA’s overall poor showing last season leave a lot to be desired.

With all problems considered, here is a to-do list that TV5 must do to revamp its primetime lineup.

1. Merge and Reformat Aksyon Prime and Aksyon Tonite

Two evening newscasts were too much for News5, considering the plight it endured of late. Thus, merging both ‘Aksyon Prime’ and ‘Aksyon Tonite’ into one nightly newscast is a necessity.

If that’s not enough, this merged newscast will employ a more hard news approach, and will air at 9:00 p.m. Hence, it will compete against CNN Philippines’ ‘Newsroom’, GMA News TV’s ‘State of the Nation’, ANC’s ‘The World Tonight’, and other similar newscasts.

As for the anchors and title, look no further. The newscast will carry the ‘Aksyon Tonite’ name, and Ed Lingao and Luchi Cruz-Valdes will be the anchors.

2. Replace Aksyon Prime with Sports360

The PBA games are a regular fixture on TV5 during weeknights, but the presence of ‘Aksyon Prime’ became a bane to viewers and game attendants. Placing ‘Sports360’ instead should alleviate this burden.

The format of ‘Sports360’ will remain the same. It will air for 15 minutes, and will focus mostly on viewer interaction and game analysis.

3. Foreign Canned Shows from 6 to 9 on Non-PBA Game Days

Finally, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on a non-PBA game day will be dominated by TV5’s American action, suspense and fantasy shows. Doesn’t get more alternative than this.

Chot Reyes’ vision of a more ‘alternative’ TV5 may take time getting used to. But as far as the primetime lineup goes, solving this dilemma should be the first step, provided that management is smart enough to realize its flaws.

However, it doesn’t mean that this proposal will be achieved. Still, one can only hope that Chot Reyes will make the soundest of decisions in order to restore TV5’s fortunes, even if it means no more local entertainment fare.

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Philippines, Sports, television

PBA Expected to Remain on TV5 Due to Short Offseason

Barangay Ginebra's victory in the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup would have marked the end of a five-year relationship between the league and TV5, but a short offseason changes things. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

Barangay Ginebra’s victory in the 2016 PBA Governors’ Cup would have marked the end of a five-year relationship between the league and TV5, but a short offseason could change all that. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

The shorter-than-expected offseason could keep the PBA within TV5’s hands.

The 2015-16 season came to an end Wednesday night, when Barangay Ginebra San Miguel broke an eight-year title drought by winning the season-ending Governors’ Cup title over the Meralco Bolts. Game 6 of the Governors’ Cup Finals would have marked the end of a five-year contract that TV5 signed with the PBA back in 2011.

Instead, another year of coverage looms in the seemingly fruitful relationship between the PBA and the Manny V. Pangilinan-owned network.

Two weeks from now, the 2016 PBA Rookie Draft will take place at the Robinsons Place Manila. The draft will be conducted in two batches: a regular draft for early entry applicants, and a special draft for amateur players who were invited to the Gilas pool.

Then on November 20, the season-opening Philippine Cup will get underway. Thus, it will be a very short offseason for the PBA, owing to a long break from late May to mid-July due to the FIBA Olympic Qualifiers that Gilas participated.

With a short turnaround from last season, it is expected that TV5 will remain the main home of the PBA. And there are three reasons why the league could still air on the MVP-owned network, which are:

  1. The PBA Rush channel, which was only established prior to last season’s Governors’ Cup.
  2. The lack of other network options due to a variety of circumstances.
  3. The promotion of Chot Reyes to the role of head honcho within TV5.

With all these situations coming into play, it is clear that the PBA has no other choice. Despite the past issues that the league faced during its initial five-year tenure with TV5, the latter’s progressive steps to improve its coverage indicate that the relationship is an otherwise successful one, contrary to the critics’ perceptions.

One month from now, a new season of the PBA begins. Unfortunately for the league, there is not much time to plan, so it’s safe to say that next year, it will be TV5 who will once again bring the PBA to every television set in the country, for now.

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news, Philippines, politics, television

Busy Day for Networks in a Marathon Senate Hearing on EJK

The Senate hearing on extrajudicial killings reached fever pitch Monday night.

The hearing began at 9:30 a.m., with Senator Richard Gordon presiding the proceedings. Senator Gordon and company presented the following witnesses that day:

  • SPO1 Vivencio Jumawan Jr.
  • PO3 Enrique Ayao
  • Ret. S. Supt. Dionisio Abude
  • SPO3 Arthur Lascañas

All four testified and questioned the validity of star witness Edgar Matobato’s statement. They claimed that they knew Matobato and they also denied the existence of a Davao Death Squad.

However, the highlight of the hearing took place deep into the evening. Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Gordon, Panfilo Lacson and Manny Pacquiao learned that star witness Edgar Matobato had left the building even before his scheduled testimony, with Senator Antonio Trillanes IV even telling Matobato to leave for security reasons.

This led to a word war between Senators Gordon and Leila de Lima. The two senators clashed over what Gordon claimed was ‘material concealment’ of information on de Lima’s part over Matobato’s kidnapping case in 2002, and it led to de Lima storming out of the Senate.

In the end, Senator Gordon announced that the hearing on extrajudicial killings will be suspended until further notice. Gordon then called for a caucus of committee members, which may take place today.

At around 12:00 p.m., the following major networks were covering the Senate hearings:

  • DZMM TeleRadyo (and DZMM Radyo Patrol 630)
  • ABS-CBN News Channel
  • CNN Philippines
  • GMA News TV
  • Super Radyo DZBB 594
  • AksyonTV
  • Radyo5 92.3 News FM
  • PTV-4

Save for TV5’s ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’, there was no noontime newscast that day due to the hearings. However, for some unknown reason, AksyonTV and Radyo5 92.3 News FM chose to stop carrying the feed by 12:30 in favor of regular programming, a decision that did not sit well with the Kapatid faithful (the PBA coverage is excused, however).

At around 6:00 p.m. CNN Philippines ended the coverage in favor of ‘Network News’. Thirty minutes later, DZMM and DZBB concluded their coverage in order to carry ‘TV Patrol’ and ’24 Oras’ respectively.

By 6:45 p.m. ANC likewise ended their coverage in favor of regular programming. The network was unable to cover the heated confrontation between Senators de Lima and Gordon, however, and they deferred the coverage to DZMM TeleRadyo instead.

Overall, it was a very busy day for the networks at the Senate. In a hearing that lasts over 13 hours (with a suspension of over an hour), every action needs to be followed, and many of them tried their best to do so.

Now that the hearings are suspended until further notice, it is back to mostly regular programming for the networks. Still, it remains to be seen if the impending continuation of the hearings will be as action-packed as the last one.

 

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

News5 a Non-Factor in Live House, Senate Hearings Last Week

Star witness Edgar Matobato was the center of attention in last Thursday's Senate hearings on extrajudicial killings. Live coverage on TV and radio was provided by a majority of outlets, save for News5. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

Star witness Edgar Matobato was the center of attention in last Thursday’s Senate hearings on extrajudicial killings. Live coverage on TV and radio was provided by a majority of outlets, save for News5. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

It was a busy three days for the Philippines’ top news outfits.

On September 20 and 21, the House of Representative conducted a nine-to-ten hour hearing regarding the drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons. Then on September 22, the Senate conducted two hearings, one involving the use of emergency powers to combat traffic, and the other the continuation of the hearings on extrajudicial killings.

In between, President Rodrigo Duterte appeared on live television to address his own concerns regarding the presence of American troops in Mindanao, and the United Nations’ continued intervention in his war against drugs. The President gave his speech in front of the country’s hard-working soldiers in Mindanao.

Then there is the urgent coverage of an apparent hijack inside a Saudia Airlines place at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which turned out to be a false alarm. Finally, a press conference involving Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino was also aired live.

In those three days, the usual suspects were there to cover them all: the ABS-CBN News Channel, DZMM TeleRadyo, CNN Philippines, and the government-owned PTV-4. Surprisingly, the oft-criticized GMA News TV, infamous for their apparent unwillingness to cover various live events, joined in the act as well, alongside DZBB.

The same cannot be said for News5, however. Although they managed to broadcast the live feed of the said events online, TV coverage proved to be mostly non-existent.

Though AksyonTV, now more known for sports coverage than news, covered the first day of the NBP probe, they failed to do so on the second day, in large part to their own sports programming. The network also failed to air the live coverage of the two Senate hearings as well, also for the love of sports.

Which leads to the worst culprit of them all: Radyo5 92.3 News FM. While a majority of the AM radio stations covered the three-day live-a-thon, Radyo5 chose to air their regular programming instead of following the action (Wednesday’s events was excusable because of the PBA).

This act of reprehensible proportions only served to add insult to injury to News5. If losing some of their top personalities is not enough, what more is their increasing unwillingness to cover important live events as it happens.

As it stands now, it is clear that the ship TV5 is steering continues to sink further and further. There is nothing more to say about this, other than the hope that they can start over anew.

To Luchi Cruz-Valdes and Gladys Lana-Lucas, perhaps it’s time for an explanation. This has gone too far, and Kapatid followers deserve better than this.

The House and Senate hearings are expected to continue this week. Still, it remains to be seen whether or not News5 can finally commit themselves to a multi-platform broadcast of these events.

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entertainment, Latin America, Philippines, Sports

Rio Olympics on TV5: A Review

TV5’s coverage of the Rio Olympics was not a good one, as their free TV outlets failed to commit themselves to full-blown coverage. (Logos courtesy of the MVP Group and the International Olympic Committee)

The Olympic season has come to an end.

The 2016 Rio Summer Olympics officially concluded yesterday with a colorful closing ceremony, followed by the turn-over of hosting rights to Tokyo, Japan. The close of the event capped off two weeks of unforgettable moments and problematic issues that tested Rio’s resolve and courage.

This year’s broadcast of the Rio Olympics was solely handled by TV5, and much like the games itself, it endured a lot of difficulties. Many expected TV5 to fill in most of their hours with Olympic coverage, yet they failed to do so.

Much of the blame is centered around their continued airing of TV shopping blocks, Tagalized movies and other entertainment programming during the two-week Olympic period (this does not include the PBA Governors’ Cup). TV5 should have preempted them just for the Olympics, but it never happened despite their best efforts.

Even sister station AksyonTV had its own share of issues, but to a lesser extent. While the Olympics were ongoing, they still showed the Philippine Super Liga finals, the PBA D-League playoffs, and the opening of the CESAFI basketball tournament, all of which were the network’s priorities.

However, during vacant hours, AksyonTV still showed a TV shopping block, ‘Relasyon’ and ‘Wanted sa Radyo’. They should have preempted them for Olympic highlights.

One thing in common about TV5’s free TV Olympic coverage was their inability to re-air events that were aired live in the wee hours of the morning. Rio’s time is similar to that of New York, and TV5’s failure to take account of the time difference and the lack of TV audience during that period proved to be their doom.

There were some positives in the network’s Olympic coverage, however. TV5, along with sister companies Cignal, PLDT and Smart, collaborated for a multi-platform broadcast that involved satellite and internet subscription.

Despite that, the free TV coverage of the Olympics remains important. Considering that not all people subscribe to Cignal, PLDT and Smart, TV5 should have prioritized their free TV platforms to benefit their competitors.

Overall, it was an F grade for TV5’s Olympic coverage this year. Their coverage was doomed from the start, and their poor planning effort was not what the viewers wanted to see from the so-called ‘Olympic Network’.

So where will the Olympic coverage in the Philippines go from here? The lack of suitable options will be biggest issue for the Philippine Olympic Committee, since a variety of issues hound all of the country’s free TV networks.

Regardless, the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics is still four years away. That said, the POC will need to think about their options very well, and for the networks, good luck in trying to snatch the rights to the 2020 Games.

As for TV5, it was an opportunity that blew right before their very eyes. Now they should look forward for the long-awaited rebuilding process, one that should put them back on track.

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