news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Revisiting GMA News TV and Its Epic Failures on SONA Day

This is already becoming a habit.

For GMA News TV, their perceived indifference in important news coverage is undeniable. This was none more apparent than on the day the President of the Philippines delivers his State of the Nation Address.

In almost every year since the network rebranded from QTV in 2011, the tendency for GMA News TV is that they don’t always get involved in the SONA in more ways than one. Whenever the fourth Monday of July comes, all the network does is to air regular programming as if nothing important happens.

For instance, President Rodrigo Duterte’s speech this year started at 5:17 p.m. In the meantime, GMA News TV aired ‘Quick Response Team’ in the midst of the SONA (see video below).

It is understandable that GMA management wants to focus more on Channel 7 when it comes to live coverage of the SONA. But what the management do not realize is the overall purpose of GMA News TV (and of GMA News for that matter), which in the years since its launch has been largely neglected due to extracurricular activities not related to news coverage.

Considering that its rivals from Mother Ignacia (ANC/DZMM TeleRadyo), Shaw Boulevard (CNN Philippines) and Reliance (One News) worked a more extensive analysis on the day of the SONA, it is disgraceful to see GMA News TV stand pat and do almost nothing. It is as if they never wanted to be a news channel in the first place.

Perhaps if GMA News TV becomes a cable channel instead of going to free TV like they do now, such issues would have been mitigated. Such an arrangement would have allowed the channel to go 24/7, use English as the main language and cater to upper class audiences.

Unfortunately, the station is stuck on VHF channel 11 and can only play second banana to channel 7, another VHF station. And to make matters worse, GMA doesn’t even own the former due to broadcast restrictions; ZOE continues to own the channel while GMA only leases airtime.

If they are really that disinterested to remain a news channel, they can just rebrand back to QTV or become GMA+, a secondary entertainment channel of the mother network. Or GMA can just break their lease on Channel 11 and allow ZOE to move Light back to its original channel.

In many ways, GMA News TV is an undependable channel for all things news. What GMA did to this channel is so unglorifying that their boasting as the ‘no. 1 news channel’ does not make sense at all.

And on this SONA day, this channel simply failed to deliver when it mattered most. Shame on them.

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drama, entertainment, Korea, Philippines, television

GMA’s Mid-Morning Problems Continue with Kapuso Movie Festival

GMA is bringing back ‘Kapuso Movie Festival’ as they continue to figure out the problems that plague them every weekday morning. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

Poor ratings have characterized GMA’s mid-morning lineup.

After an impressive showing for the network’s Astig Authority block (some of which are often reaired), the drop-off in ratings becomes noticeable once they move into a different set of programs. This has been a perennial problem for the network since Lilybeth Rasonable took over, and they have tried everything just to shake the mid-morning slate up.

There was the ‘Kapuso Movie Festival’ block, which was their obvious answer to ABS-CBN’s ‘Kapamilya Blockbusters’. Then came Heart of Asia Mornings, a block that contains new light-hearted Koreanovelas.

They even attempted to air talk shows (e.g. ‘Basta Every Day Happy’, ‘Yan ang Morning) and local dramas (e.g. ‘With a Smile’). Unfortunately, all of these attempts failed miserably.

Now they are going back to airing movies via the ‘Kapuso Movie Festival’ block. Not to mention a rerun of an old QTV program called ‘H20: Just Add Water’, which will be obviously dubbed in Filipino unlike its original airing on Channel 11.

Let’s face it, there is no way GMA can beat ‘Kapamilya Blockbusters’ with their own movie block. Their portfolio of new movies to air is running low, and to make matters worse, GMA Films has only a few titles to choose from, which is basically 1/8th to 1/16th of what rival Star Cinema has produced lately.

If GMA were smart enough to admit that they can no longer beat ABS-CBN after 9:00 a.m., perhaps the time has come to welcome a TV shopping block of their own choosing. Whether or not it is Shop Japan, EZ Shop or even Shop TV, it doesn’t matter, as long as they fill in GMA’s programming hours every morning.

They could also welcome blocktimers who can produce their own programs. While they already have established blocktimers in TAPE, Inc. (‘Calle Siete’, ‘Eat Bulaga’) and APT Entertainment (‘Sunday PinaSaya’), they might as well need another for non-entertainment purposes, such as lifestyle shows or documentaries.

Still, it is up to GMA management to decide the fate of the mid-morning slot. They need to think twice about giving up this venture.

Otherwise, they will be stuck with this hashtag: #KMFMForever, which translates to Kapuso Movie Festival Mornings Forever.

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drama, entertainment, Korea, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Koreanovelas Add to GMA News TV’s Woes

GMA News TV added Koreanovelas to its ever-confusing lineup. (Promotional photo courtesy of GMA Network)

It is hard to tell what kind of network GMA News TV is right now.

In the last three years, From the Tube has been able to dissect the programming issues that surround the sister channel of GMA Network. Whether it is movies, drama series, reruns of public affairs shows, boxing matches or even TV shopping blocks, the true identity of GMA News TV continues to be a question mark.

Now add another wrinkle to this ongoing dilemma. Enter Koreanovelas on GMA News TV.

It all started on July 11, when News TV began to air reruns of three Koreanovelas, namely ‘Empress Ki’, ‘Pinocchio’, and ‘The Producers’. All three were broadcast on GMA’s Telebabad block a few years ago, each with varying degrees of success.

By re-airing Koreanovelas from the parent network, GMA News TV is once again defying the notion that they are indeed a news channel. To make matters worse, the management made the network look as if they are a mirror image of Channel 7, or perhaps the second coming of the old QTV.

What happened to the slogans ‘Oras-oras, Alam Ko’ and ‘Serbisyong Totoo’? It doesn’t make any sense.

The issues surrounding GMA News TV have been well-documented since their 2011 rebrand. As far as the most critical viewers are concerned, News TV is ill-equipped to be a news channel based on content alone.

Let’s face it, a revamp should have been in the works for this channel at this point. Even rival AksyonTV, a one-time news channel, is gradually morphing into a sports channel in the mold of ABS-CBN Sports+Action.

That said, it is never too late for Bro. Eddie Villanueva and Nessa Valdellon to finally give up on this venture. GMA News TV is going nowhere fast, and adding Koreanovelas only made things worse.

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action, drama, entertainment, hits, music, news, Philippines, songs, Sports, television, United States

1995 Flashback: The Rise and Fall of Citynet 27

Citynet 27 was the first UHF station owned by a major broadcast network. Sadly, the station lasted only six years and endured three major rebrands during that span. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

1995 was a memorable year in Philippine television. As part of a year-long special, From the Tube will look back at a year full of historical debuts, unforgettable moments, and celebrated feats in the history of television in the country.

ABS-CBN’s UHF TV network (currently ABS-CBN Sports+Action) has been on the air since 1996, but they’re not the first major network to have a sister UHF channel.

That distinction belonged to GMA Network’s original sister TV station, Citynet 27.  Established on August 27, 1995, the station became the fifth UHF TV network in the country, after SBN-21, DZEE-23 (the predecessor to ABS-CBN’s UHF channel), RJTV-29 and CTV-31.

Citynet 27’s initial focus was on canned programming (mostly from the U.S.), ranging from sitcoms, dramas and action series to sporting events. These programs were moved from GMA-7 in order for the latter to add more local programming.

The channel soon faced intense competition with the launch of Studio 23. While Citynet remained the premiere source for upscale-laden programs, it became clear that GMA is losing money from this venture, and by 1999, Studio 23’s continued emergence and popularity prove to be too much for Citynet to handle.

As a result, GMA had no choice but to reformat Citynet 27 into a music video channel. Initially known as EMC (Entertainment Music Channel), GMA soon joined forces with STAR TV to carry Channel V Philippines, and the rebranded station was launched near the end of 1999.

However, the partial acquisition of GMA’s stake by PLDT (later re-sold to Felipe Gozon, etc.) forced Channel V Philippines to sign off in mid-2001. Among the primary reasons include conflict of interest (PLDT owned MTV Philippines through Nation Broadcasting Company) and increasing competition with MTVPH and the newly-launched MYX.

GMA was left without a sister channel for the next four years. Then in 2005, they entered into a lease agreement with ZOE-TV and launched QTV (later rebranded as GMA News TV), with Channel 27 briefly serving as a repeater.

Today, DWDB 27 is currently inactive, possibly for future use as a digital TV outlet. The station would have turned 20 this year had GMA kept it active.

To this day, GMA continues to regret its failed experiment of Citynet 27. With the network now enduring some financial issues, they can only hope that the lessons of Citynet 27 will be applied to whatever decisions they will make moving forward.

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entertainment, hits, music, Philippines, reality show, songs, talent show, United States

In 150 Words: Goodbye American Idol

Season 15 will be the last for ‘American Idol’.

FOX announced its cancellation during the week of ‘American Idol”s 14th season finale, citing declining ratings, competition with similar programs such as ‘The Voice’ and falling record sales for recent AI alumni. ‘American Idol”s final season will commence in January 2016.

Debuting in 2002, ‘American Idol’ quickly became one of America’s most-watched programs, ranking atop the ratings for several years and averaging 30 million viewers at its peak. The show became a launchpad for singers such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson.

For Filipino viewers, AI was credited for introducing Filipino-Americans such as Jasmine Trias and Jessica Sanchez to the national consciousness. Sanchez, the runner-up to Phillip Phillips in Season 11, even earned an endorsement deal with Bench and Smart Communications.

‘American Idol’ currently airs in the Philippines on ETC (via satellite) and Star World (within hours of original American broadcast). The show previously aired on ABC-5 and QTV/GMA News TV on free TV.

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drama, entertainment, news, Philippines, public affairs, television

News TV Continues Fall From Grace with Amaya Rerun

‘Amaya’ returned to the airwaves, this time on GMA News TV last Monday. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

It doesn’t get any worse for GMA News TV.

After defying the logic of a news channel with classic movies and reruns from their previous incarnation QTV, News TV took it one step further by re-airing an old teleserye from their parent channel. And it was led by no less than the network’s so-called ‘Queen of Primetime’.

‘Amaya’, the 2011 ‘epicserye’, started re-airing on Channel 11 last Monday. The said series, which took place in 16th century Visayas, starred Marian Rivera, with supporting roles from Rochelle Pangilinan, Glaiza de Castro, Sid Lucero, Mikael Daez, Aljur Abrenica, Diana Zubiri, Gardo Versoza, Raymond Bagatsing, Lani Mercado, Gina Alajar and Ayen Munji-Laurel.

The series originally aired on GMA from May 30, 2011 to January 13, 2012. ‘Amaya”s run coincided with the gradual decline in the network’s performance during the current decade, as ABS-CBN’s counterparts began to dominate the ratings.

Nevertheless, ‘Amaya’ received citations from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and the Department of Education for its culturally significant story.

But that is not the real story behind News TV’s decision to re-air ‘Amaya’. Having exhausted all of their programming material to air, and having lacked the drive and the resources to produce more news programs, News TV resorted to another desperate manuever: re-airing older teleseryes from the parent Channel 7.

News TV is no stranger to airing historical and socially-significant dramas. After all, they aired GMA News-produced mini-series such as ‘Titser’, ‘Katipunan’ and ‘Bayan Ko’ to critical success, and they even re-aired the equally costly but less popular drama ‘Ilustrado’ at one point.

But ‘Amaya’ is a different animal. After all, it was a ‘true’ teleserye that GMA produced, and not a mere mini-series like the aforementioned ‘Ilustrado’.

And while ‘Amaya’ shares a similar historical significance as the other dramas, the fact that it had over 150 episodes to boot makes it an exhausting series to watch and remember. That said, re-airing ‘Amaya’ is a waste of time and space for GMA News TV.

So what’s next for the suddenly teleserye-friendly News TV? Will they re-air a Koreanovela remake like ‘Endless Love’, a fantaserye like ‘Encantadia’, or a more mature drama like ‘My Husband’s Lover’? We’ll never know, but one thing’s for sure: the worst is yet to come for GMA’s troubled little sister.

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