business, lifestyle, Philippines, television, TV shopping

Shop TV Now on GMA

GMA enters the world of TV shopping when it joined forces with Solar Entertainment’s Shop TV. (Logo courtesy of Shop TV, Solar Entertainment)

GMA Network is now joining the TV shopping bandwagon.

Last night marked GMA’s first foray into the TV shopping genre, when it joined forces with the Solar Entertainment-owned Shop TV. This brings the total number of free TV stations with at least one TV shopping program to ten, the list of which are as follows (parenthesis indicate the TV shopping programs the channel currently airs):

  • ABS-CBN (O Shopping)
  • PTV-4 (TV Shop, EZ Shop, Shop Japan)
  • TV5 (Shop Japan)
  • GMA (Shop TV)
  • IBC-13 (TV Shop, EZ Shop)
  • ETC/SBN-21 (Shop TV)
  • Net 25 (EZ Shop)
  • 2nd Avenue/RJTV-29 (Shop TV)
  • BEAM-31 (O Shopping, Shop Japan, TV Shop)
  • AksyonTV (Shop Japan)

Shop TV features products that are advertised on the Home Shopping Network in the United States. The network airs as a standalone cable channel on SkyCable, Cignal and various other outlets, while also acting as a program block on all of its Solar Entertainment sister channels, save for CT.

With the new collaboration, GMA now hopes to compete against its fellow Big Three networks and their TV shopping affiliates. The alliance should also attract a more sizable audience for Shop TV, who look to use GMA as a tool to further promote and advertise its products.

The Shop TV on GMA block currently airs every weekday from 12:30 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.

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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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action, comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, movies, Philippines, reality show, suspense, television, United States

With Jack City Now Cable-Exclusive, Jack TV’s Future Becomes Uncertain

Jack City became a cable-exclusive network on September 1, ending Solar Entertainment’s affiliation with BEAM Channel 31. (Logo courtesy of Solar Entertainment Corporation)

It was another loss for Solar Entertainment.

A week after selling the Solar News Channel (now 9TV) and part of the Radio Philippines Network (RPN-9) to Aliw Broadcasting’s Antonio Cabangon Chua, Solar’s Jack City channel decided to part ways with affiliate Radio Mindanao Network (BEAM Channel 31). As a result, Jack City became a cable-only entity while BEAM freelanced with other blocktimers.

That left Solar Entertainment with just two free TV channel affiliates: ETC on the Southern Broadcasting Network (SBN-21), and 2nd Avenue on the Rajah Broadcasting Network (RJTV-29).

With Jack City becoming an exclusive cable channel, what will the future hold for Jack TV?

Let’s face it. Jack TV is becoming a shell of its former self. Instead of capitalizing on the funny and breathtaking side of television, as Jack TV had emphasized in their early years, they have reverted back to where they were a decade ago: a mashup of Solar USA’s old format and Jack TV’s own.

Jack TV’s identity crisis is starting to become a cause of concern for Solar, and yet they insist that the network will be fine. But it is clear that the name Jack TV (and its red and yellow motif in particular) no longer fits the type of programming they have now.

The same cannot be said of Jack TV’s sister channel, Jack City. Their black and white motif is more fitting to their darker and more mature set of programs, which in essence pay tribute to their predecessors Solar USA, C/S and CHASE.

Simply put, Jack City is an even more superior channel than that of Jack TV. And while Jack TV can still put up a strong set of programs on a daily basis, it is obvious that the said channel is starting to become a liability with the presence of its sister channel.

That said, a merger between the two channels needs to be considered, if not implemented soon. Should this happen, the old format of Jack TV will have to be integrated into one of Solar’s existing channels, while Jack City will be retained, both in name and in format.

Merging the two networks will greatly benefit Solar Entertainment, since they will only lose one of their channels. Revenue issues have become well-documented for the Solar group, especially in the aftermath of their sale of SNC and RPN to Aliw, and a possible merger between Jack TV and Jack City will help alleviate such stress.

Still, it will be up to the company’s management for that to make it happen. For now, Jack TV and Jack City will remain separate entities, at least for the foreseeable future.

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education, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Solar News Channel Out, 9TV In

Solar News, along with the Solar News Channel, will officially become 9News and 9TV, respectively. The change will take effect on August 23. (Logo courtesy of 9News)

Channel 9 on Philippine free TV has a new name.

On August 23, Solar News Channel will officially rename themselves as 9TV, leaving behind its iconic ‘sun’ logo and blue and yellow scheme in favor of a more generic blue and red branding. In addition, the Solar News organization will change their name to 9News.

The announcement was first made on August 13 through a Twitter post of 9News senior anchor Jing Magsaysay. According to the said statement, the network’s rebrand ‘marks the beginning of the channel’s thrust to reach a wider audience and to strengthen its presence on free TV RPN-9.

Other than the brand change, the staff, objectives and values, and programming will be retained. However, the previously announced Kids Weekend, originally slated to premiere last August 16, will now be launched this Saturday, alongside other programs aimed towards a bigger audience.

The seeds of Channel 9’s rebrand were first sown in November 2013, when Ramon Ang acquired Solar News and a stake on RPN-9 from Solar Entertainment. Soon after, SNC and ETC traded channels, with SNC moving to RPN-9 and ETC to SBN-21.

Then in late July and early August, all news programs of SNC dropped the ‘Solar’ name, while the ‘sun’ logo and Solar News signage were taken off the network’s studios in Mandaluyong. And in a sign of things to come, all reporters of the said network are now required to use the 9News name after every report.

That said, the rebrand of the Solar News Channel to 9TV will officially mark the end of Solar Entertainment’s decade-long relationship with RPN. Solar was essential in privatizing RPN after two decades of government sequestration, but the loss of finances also led to their sale of Solar News and RPN to Ramon Ang, who promptly changed the direction of Channel 9.

This Saturday will mark a new era in Channel 9’s storied yet tumultuous history. And for 9TV, it is time to start fresh.

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news, Philippines, public affairs, television

Solar News Channel Goes to Channel 9

Solar News Channel will go national starting tomorrow with a move to RPN channels across the Philippines.

For the fifth time since Solar took over operations of the Radio Philippines Network, Channel 9 will take on a new identity. The all-news network Solar News Channel will move to RPN starting tomorrow, featuring the same programming along with upcoming dialect-based news programs and talk shows.

Meanwhile, its previous iteration ETC has taken over SNC’s place at SBN 21. ETC previously called channel 21 home from 2008-11, and was one of Solar’s erstwhile cable networks to embrace the move to free TV.

Solar’s history with RPN started as a blocktimer in 2007. At that time few people knew about the network’s financial problems. Initially the agreement with Solar was made in hopes of revitalizing RPN. But as the years went by Solar gradually took over RPN’s programming, save for the network’s self-produced ‘Newswatch‘, and by 2010 virtually every program on RPN belonged to Solar Entertainment.

The end came near for RPN when Solar acquired 34% of its shares, after which most of the network’s employees were laid out in favor of Solar’s staff. As it turned out, RPN was absorbed under the Solar umbrella, and ‘Newswatch’ ended production by 2012.

The RPN-Solar block was initially called ‘Prime Shift’, before it transitioned to C/S and then C/S 9. All three iterations were catered to a more masculine audience, and normally featured crime, suspense and reality-based programs. In 2009 it adopted a new identity as Solar TV, adding entertainment and talent-based programs. Then in 2011 the Solar TV name was dropped in favor of ETC, and removed most male-based programs to cater to a more feminine audience.

While the Solar TV name was inactive, Solar executives continued to operate the network in absentia. Then in late 2011 Solar began integrating its own news operations into the fledgling Talk TV network, which eventually evolved into the Solar News Channel. By the middle of the year SNC’s flagship programs ‘Solar Network News‘ and ‘Solar Nightly News‘ were airing on channel 9 in between ETC’s programs, hinting at a possible transfer.

SNC’s move to channel 9 should benefit the said network. With a reputation for delivering straight news without the excesses of sensationalism, the professionally sound approach of SNC is a great alternative against the mainstream networks’ tabloid-based journalism. More importantly, the move to the VHF band will help improve SNC’s reach and clarity, in an effort to become more competitive.

In a few hours Solar News Channel will go on air in its new home. It may have been a daring move by the Solar management to finally go national after a few years of building its news department, but it should be all worth the wait.

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