news, Philippines, television

In 100 Words: News Night Completes Total Overhaul of CNN Philippines

It will be a completely different CNN Philippines come this Monday.

As reported by MediaNewser.com, ‘Network News’ will cease to exist following tonight’s broadcast, and in its place is a new newscast called ‘News Night’. The weekday editions will still be handled by Pia Hontiveros, while Mai Rodriguez will go on board during weekends.

‘Network News’ was CNN Philippines’ penultimate holdover from the TalkTV/Solar News Channel years. The program first aired in 2012 and continued to broadcast even after Wilson Tieng sold Solar’s news department to the late Antonio Cabangon Chua in 2014.

The rebrand of ‘Network News’ to ‘News Night’ marked the culmination of Armie Jarin-Bennett’s years-long makeover of CNN Philippines to a network that is decidedly similar to its parent network. That said, viewers can only hope that the increasingly positive responses to CNN Philippines will continue after this latest reboot.

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

Is RPN-9 Destined to Return?

The RPN name and logo was last used on air in 2012, after which Solar Television took full control of the network’s airtime. (Logo courtesy of the Radio Philippines Network)

All eyes are on Channel 9 and a possible return to the RPN name.

On July 21, Solar News Channel decided to drop the word ‘Solar’ from its news programs. Consequentially, the renamed programs are now simply known as ‘Daybreak’ (morning), ‘The Headlines’ (news updates per 15 minutes), ‘Newsday’ (afternoon), ‘Cebuano News’ (Cebuano language afternoon), ‘Kapampangan News’ (Kapampangan language afternoon), ‘Network News’ (early evening), ‘Nightly News’ (late evening), and ‘Sports Desk’ (sports).

In a related development, Media Newser Philippines also reported through a network insider that News9, the news department of the original Radio Philippines Network, will also be revived to replace the Solar News name, with a target launch slated for the last quarter of 2014. The report came after Ramon Ang of San Miguel Corporation acquired RPN’s stake from Solar Entertainment.

Then starting August 16, cartoons and educational programs will take over SNC’s weekend morning programming. SNC’s ‘Kids Weekend’ will feature the return of ‘Sesame Street’ to Philippine television, as well as other memorable cartoons such as the ‘Care Bears’, ‘Strawberry Shortcake’, ‘Batman’ and the DC Comics Universe, and ‘Pokemon’.

With all these developments, does this mean the old Radio Philippines Network name will return on the air? Or will this lead to an even bigger plan?

Let’s face it, Channel 9 is and will always be known as RPN-9. Not Solar News Channel, C/S 9, Solar TV, ETC, or any other incarnation in its history. RPN has been an iconic brand on Philippine television, and through good times and bad, the network always provided a great show for its viewers.

More importantly, with SNC’s slow move away from a purely news-oriented network, the possibility of bringing back the RPN name on air seems certain. Even the revival of the long-running but recently retired newscast ‘NewsWatch’ is bound to happen.

But there is one problem. Ramon Ang recently acquired a 30% stake of GMA Network, which means that he now has two stations in his watch. According to Media Newser Philippines, a merger between GMA and Solar News is inevitable, unless Ang gives up partial ownership of Channel 9.

Ang’s ownership of both networks will certainly affect the fortunes of both parties. Since GMA News and Public Affairs is the more recognizable and more credible of the two, they will be more than happy to absorb Solar News into their department. And as far as viewers are concerned, Solar News remains an unproven commodity even after three years of continuous operation.

Then again, these are all possibilities and might be subject to change in the near future.

It is clear that the sun is definitely setting on Channel 9’s latest incarnation. As the ‘Solar’ name is quietly being retired from the brand, a new era in the history of the Radio Philippines Network is about to take place.

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entertainment, news, public affairs, Sports, television

FTT Year 2013 in Review: Other Networks

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2014, 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

Solar Entertainment again shuffled its networks last December. Solar News Channel left UHF Channel 21 for the clearer signals of VHF Channel 9. In exchange, ETC was moved back to UHF Channel 21. In the months leading up to the exchange, SNC’s flagship programs ‘Solar Network News‘ and ‘Solar Nightly News‘ began airing on ETC, albeit only for free TV viewers.

The beginning of the year also saw Eagle Broadcasting’s Net 25 adopt their own version of TeleRadyo during the weekday slots. The apparent reason behind the simulcasts of DZEC 1062 programs is to compensate for the lack of original programming that has haunted the network for several years. In addition, Net 25 aired Iglesia ni Cristo Centennial specials, which is not mandatory considering the network already has INC-TV 49 on free TV.

Lowlights

IBC-13, perhaps the most irrelevant network in the country, lost TV5’s AKTV in May after its blocktime contract expired. Despite that, it was allowed to air the PBA Governors’ Cup games until the end of the quarterfinals. But while the network was able to air two United Football League Cup playoff games and a replay of the Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios fight, IBC continued to suffer from declining revenue and repetitive programs. And with the network still not following the MTRCB ratings guidelines, it looks like IBC will face more problems come 2014.

In March, the government-owned PTV-4 accepted a new charter signed by President Noynoy Aquino that enables the government to infuse P5 billion to revitalize the network. As it stands, the network is expected to rebuild its aging infrastructure and upgrade its existing facilities. However, the network continues to experience problems with its programming, especially when it aired UNTV’s ‘Ang Dating Daan’ for a brief period.

Outlook

Heading into 2014, several minor stations will enter the crossroads of their broadcasting lives. Solar Entertainment is currently in talks with San Miguel Corporation’s Ramon Ang for a potential minority stake on the company. IBC-13 continues to look for a new suitor, while sister network PTV-4 tries to take advantage of a new charter. And Eagle Broadcasting’s Net 25 and INC-TV will celebrate the Iglesia ni Cristo’s centennial. With that said, expect a rollercoaster of broadcasting emotions this 2014 for the minor networks.

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news, Philippines, public affairs, television

Comparison Between News Tickers of Philippine News Networks

In all news networks, the most frequent graphic used in programs is the news ticker. These graphics were used to display the latest local and foreign news, along with the occasional entertainment and sports stories that develop in time.

Currently there are four all-news networks in the country: the ABS-CBN News Channel, GMA News TV, AksyonTV, and Solar News Channel. Each network uses a news ticker in most of their news and documentary programs. However, their usage of the ticker varies, and some even have flaws that accompany them.

With that in mind, I decided to compare the tickers of all the news networks and look at the strengths and weaknesses that each of them has. And to make this comparison as consistent as possible, the tickers used in the news programs of ABS-CBN, TV5 and GMA are excluded.

ABS-CBN News Channel

The oldest of the four current all-news networks, ANC’s ticker currently has the most consistent look of the four. Their ticker was the first in the country to display one headline at a time rather than the common ‘scrolling’ approach. They also kept up with the technological advances in television graphics by displaying the ticker in a three-dimensional style.

What I’m impressed about is that ANC uses the ticker in ALL of their programs, including re-runs of ABS-CBN public affairs programs. They also did a good job in placing the graphics of their programs above the ticker in order to prevent a distraction in case it airs again. They did have one flaw, which is the few inches of space separating the ticker, the left side  and the bottom of the screen. I hope they can lengthen and place the ticker all the way to the bottom so as not to see the remainder of the studio during live broadcasts.

Rating: 4

GMA News TV

If there is one network that defines the word ‘failure’, it is the network owned by Gilberto Duavit and Felipe Gozon. And its sister network is even worse. Already with a reputation of not airing 24/7, GMA News TV exacerbated the situation by using TWO news tickers. So why waste a lot of your money by operating two tickers, when in fact you only needed one? I just don’t get it.

The best ticker for GMA News TV is the black-clocked one used for news programs. I don’t prefer the red-clocked version used in their other programs since it is too generic and frequently interferes with the on-screen bugs; the black one is more beautiful and more appropriate to the technological advancements of the industry. And like ANC, they should place the ticker at the bottom of the screen instead of giving a few inches of separation. Overall GNTV’s ticker is a near-meh, but not as worse as the next one on the list.

Rating: 2

AksyonTV

I can’t stand AksyonTV’s ticker, mainly because of the Radyo5 92.3 News FM logo displayed after every headline. The worst part of it is that they only show it during simulcasts of Radyo5 programs, therefore creating an illusion that I was watching a TeleRadyo copycat than an AksyonTV program. And the ticker’s look was so late 1990s.

However, I do praise the placing of the ticker at the bottom, leaving no space between it. But that alone cannot make up for AksyonTV’s deficiencies, so I’ll give the network a thumbs down. It would be better if you replace the Radyo5 logo with AksyonTV’s, and use the ticker on all your programs except the live TV5 simulcasts and sporting events.

Rating: 1

Solar News Channel

While a young player in the news department, SNC has the most technologically advanced graphics of the four. And their ticker is by far the most impressive. SNC’s meticulous approach can be seen on the bottom of their screen, with the left side displaying the type of news story and the right side scrolling the headlines. Even with different looks to accompany different programs, the same basic structure of SNC’s ticker still applies.

If there was one thing I wanted to change, it is the ticker that accompanies ‘Solar Headlines‘. While simplistic, it does not serve its purpose as the other ticker. Perhaps it is time to drop that ticker in favor of the one used in newscasts such as ‘Solar Network News‘, which is more informative to the eyes.

Rating: 3.5

The addition of news networks in the country helped widen the reach of news reporting. No longer relying on newsprint and hour-long newscasts, these networks are here to deliver a more detailed coverage of events without any complications. And if there is one thing to improve, it is at the bottom of the screen where headlines are displayed. And it starts with the graphics staff fine-tuning the necessary details.

 

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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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