news, Philippines, Sports, television

Dissecting the Filipino Sports News Landscape with Entry of SportsCenter Philippines

It has been an eventful month so far for sports news programs in the Philippines.

As of this week there are four weekday sports news programs that currently air on Philippine television. These include:

  1. The Score (ABS-CBN S+A) – anchored by TJ Manotoc
  2. Sports Desk (CNN Philippines) – morning edition anchored by Andrei Felix, evening editions anchored by Mico Halili
  3. Gametime (ABS-CBN News Channel) – anchored by Migs Bustos
  4. PTV Sports (People’s Television Network) – anchored by Dennis Principe, Meg Siozon, Angel Atienza and Arianne Mallare

On Sunday, December 17, a fifth program will emerge. As part of ESPN’s new deal with TV5, the network will officially premiere its version of ‘SportsCenter’, to be anchored by Aaron Atayde and Lia Cruz.

Before viewers can get excited about ‘SportsCenter Philippines’, here is a summary of how each current program brings to the table. These are ranked according to quality and depth.

Sports Desk

A holdover from Solar News Channel era, CNN Philippines’ ‘Sports Desk’ has by far the best content of sports news that is to offer. The program is not shy to tackle all the sports news that people should know, whether it is the UAAP, the PBA or even other local and international sports.

It also helps that it airs three times a day, at 11:00 a.m., 6:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on weekdays. However, with news of Mico Halili potentially departing CNN Philippines for perhaps a full-time role as a commentator with ABS-CBN Sports, can the show continue to deliver with regular substitute Paolo del Rosario?

PTV Sports

This program has been in and out of PTV-4’s lineup in recent years (remember Snow Badua?), but its latest iteration is simply a straight-up summary of the whole day’s worth of sports news. There are a few interviews here and there but other than that, they are more into quick bursts of reports.

However, as PTV-4 is a government station, there is a tendency for the program to be preempted whenever President Rodrigo Duterte makes an appearance on national television. Still, when the show does air, expect plenty of juice extracted in each report.

Gametime/The Score

Both shows are currently aired on ABS-CBN sister channels: ‘Gametime’ on ANC and ‘The Score’ on S+A. Unfortunately, they do not offer much in terms of sports news as they merely focus on sporting events currently handled by ABS-CBN Sports (e.g. UAAP, NCAA, NBA, ABL), not to mention they do not usually air live.

For those who seek a greater scope into sports news (albeit on a weekly basis), there is ‘Hardball’ on ANC and ‘Fastbreak’ on DZMM. It’s sad to say that both ‘Gametime’ and ‘The Score’ are a disappointment since ABS-CBN treated them like a showbiz news program that is biased towards a particular network’s artists.

So what expectations do people have for ‘SportsCenter Philippines’? For one, the show will premiere on a Sunday (a weekend no less) and it is assumed that the program will air seven days a week as opposed to a mere weekday airing that other shows do.

Also, with TV5 possibly rebranding into a full-on sports network as ESPN5, the network is expected to highlight ‘SportsCenter Philippines’ as its centerpiece program with all the sports news that people should know. That said, it will be interesting to see how this new player fares amid a crowd of sports-hungry fans.

Good luck to ESPN5. As for its competitors, there is no way to go but up.

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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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Overview of PNoy’s Final SONA Coverage

Eyes will be on President Noynoy Aquino as he makes his final State of the Nation Address. (Photo credit: Philstar.com)

Welcome to SONA Monday.

Held every fourth Monday of July, the State of the Nation Address is an annual event where the President of the Philippines addresses the public of his accomplishments and plans for the nation. While the SONA is not a national holiday, it remains an important political event in the country, ranking just above the presidential inauguration and the national elections.

This year’s SONA will be the last for President Noynoy Aquino, and it will be interesting to see how he will respond to the recent string events that have plagued his administration. As always, it will be greeted by protests from those against his administration.

Television and radio coverage will once again be at the forefront of this annual event, so without further ado, here are the plans for some of the stations covering the SONA.

ABS-CBN

The SONA coverage on Channel 2 will proceed after ‘Flordeliza’. ‘Nasaan Ka Nang Kailangan Kita’, ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737 Gold’ and ‘Mission Possible’ will be preempted, while ‘Kapamilya: Deal or No Deal’ may be preempted in case the SONA runs overtime.

ABS-CBN will use three different broadcast teams for their coverage. Channel 2 will be led by Ted Failon and Lynda Jumilla, ANC will be led by Tony Velasquez and Karmina Constantino, and DZMM TeleRadyo and Radyo Patrol 630 will be led by Anthony Taberna and Gerry Baja.

A live and uninterrupted feed of the coverage will also be streamed on abs-cbnnews.com. It is unknown if the SONA coverage will also be seen on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, since the NCAA will no longer be in conflict with the SONA.

TV5

The SONA coverage on TV5 will proceed after the Marvel animation block. ‘Hi-5 Philippines’ will be the only show preempted, as ‘Movie Max 5’ only airs as a filler program.

TV5 will utilize a parallel broadcast approach for the coverage. Erwin Tulfo and Cheryl Cosim will anchor TV5’s coverage of the SONA on four different platforms: TV5, AksyonTV, Radyo5 92.3 News FM, and News5Everywhere.

GMA

The SONA coverage on GMA will proceed after ‘The Half-Sisters’. ‘Buena Familia”s premiere will be moved tomorrow, while ‘Healing Hearts’, ‘Alisto’ and possibly ‘Birth of a Beauty’ will be preempted.

The press release of the network only indicated that Mel Tiangco and Mike Enriquez will anchor Channel 7’s coverage. Whether or not it will be a parallel coverage or a separate coverage on Channel 7, GMA News TV, GMA News Online and Super Radyo DZBB 594 remains to be seen.

All AM stations, save for specialty ones, will also pool their resources for the SONA coverage. Updates on the event will also be provided by a few FM stations.

Net 25 will also cover the SONA, but since it takes place on the same day as the Iglesia ni Cristo’s 101st founding anniversary, the primary focus of the station could be on the latter. UNTV will also handle their own coverage of the event.

Finally, the neophyte CNN Philippines (formerly Solar News Channel and 9TV) will join in on the SONA fun for the first time. Their coverage of the SONA will be anchored by Jing Magsaysay and Pia Hontiveros.

Regardless of the station, the entire nation will pay attention to the statements made by President Aquino. His last SONA will be very important, so keep an eye on what he says.

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Is Sports Desk On the Way Out?

With the impending rebrand of 9TV to CNN Philippines, it appears that ‘Sports Desk’ is nearing its end.

Last Friday’s edition of ‘Sports Desk’ marked the final reports of host Jinno Rufino, who left the network as part of a reorganization of the said network. He made the announcement via a self-written article published on the 9News website the day before.

The departure of Jinno left Cesca Litton as the only remaining host of the revived program. Meanwhile, Jinno will continue to appear as an on-air talent for Basketball TV.

‘Sports Desk’ debuted on the then-Solar News Channel on December 3, 2012, with Jinno Rufino as the host. The program was also simulcast on SNC’s then-sister network Solar Sports, and later on, Jinno was joined by Cesca Litton as co-host.

When SNC was renamed 9TV in August of last year, ‘Sports Desk’ was one of the programs retained by the new network. As the ownership of 9TV was transferred from Solar Entertainment to Antonio Cabangon-Chua’s ALC Group, it created a conflict of interest for the show, as Jinno was a talent of Solar’s Basketball TV during the move and at the time, ‘Sports Desk’ was simulcast on Solar Sports.

But late last year, Solar Sports stopped simulcasting ‘Sports Desk’ due to its loaded sporting schedule, and as 9TV made the announcement to rebrand as CNN Philippines, the days of ‘Sports Desk’ seem to be numbered, since the possible 9TV to CNN move may include replacing ‘Sports Desk’ with a localized version of ‘World Sport’.

That said, Jinno’s departure was a huge loss for the show. ‘Sports Desk’ became successful thanks to his wealth of experience as a sports journalist, and without him, the show will have to compensate for his credibility among sports fans.

Whatever happens, viewers can only hope that ‘Sports Desk’ will hang on until the end. It will be a huge challenge for the show without Jinno, so good luck with that.

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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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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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