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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entertainment, lifestyle, news, paid programming, Philippines, public affairs, religion, Sports, television

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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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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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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Broadcasting Notes on the Canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII will be canonized this Sunday at the Vatican.

The canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II will be a worldwide affair, one that involves over 200 countries broadcasting the event live and via satellite. And in the Philippines, the coverage of the event will be among the most extensive to date.

The canonization, slated to air this Sunday afternoon Manila time, will be aired in most stations of the country.

ABS-CBN

The Kapamilya network’s coverage on Channel 2 will be aired as part of both ‘Buzz ng Bayan’ and ‘TV Patrol Weekend’. Simultaneously, both DZMM TeleRadyo and the ABS-CBN News Channel will air a more comprehensive coverage of the canonization.

TV5

The Kapatid network’s coverage will be shown simultaneously on both Channel 5 and AksyonTV 41. Fortunately, no PBA games were scheduled on this day, as the Commissioner’s Cup semifinals was slated to begin the following day, giving News5 the opportunity to broadcast the event.

GMA

Instead of broadcasting the canonization on the main Channel 7, GMA decided to broadcast the event via its other VHF station GMA News TV 11. As a result, this Sunday’s edition of ‘Startalk’ will be aired without any opposition, as its rival program ‘Buzz ng Bayan’ will give way to the coverage of the canonization.

Other Stations

The government-owned People’s Television Channel 4 and IBC-13 will have a shared coverage of the canonization, while a separate broadcast will be aired for viewers of the Solar News Channel 9. However, there will be no live coverage on the Iglesia ni Cristo-owned Net 25 and the Members Church of God International-owned UNTV 37, for obvious reasons.

With that, From the Tube will like to congratulate both Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II on entering sainthood. God bless.

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