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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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FOX Philippines Is the New Home of the WWE

Daniel Bryan and other WWE superstars will have a new network in the Philippines, as FOX becomes the official home of the WWE.

WWE has come to FOX Philippines for good.

After taking over the rights to air WrestleMania XXX, FOX Philippines officially positioned themselves as the rightful home of the WWE by acquiring the broadcast rights to WWE’s flagship television program, Raw. Beginning tonight, the full three-hour serving of Raw will be seen on FOX Philippines in its entirety.

In addition, FOX Philippines also acquired WWE NXT, the weekly program that features up-and-coming wrestlers from the developmental unit of the same name. But for unknown reasons, FOX Philippines has decided not to air WWE Superstars, and instead the network will continue to pick up WWE Main Event as its tertiary program for the organization’s other top talents.

Only WWE SmackDown and WWE Vintage will remain on the air under FOX Philippines’ new programming deal, while recap shows WWE Bottomline and WWE Afterburn were removed. Pay-per-views, beginning with the upcoming Extreme Rules, will also be aired on a same-day delay on FOX Philippines. The new deal also allows FOX Philippines to air WWE programs on the same week as the American telecast.

Previously, WWE coverage was split between ABS-CBN Sports and FOX Philippines, with IBC-13’s defunct AKTV block serving as a free TV subsidiary for the latter. And prior to that, Solar USA/Jack TV served as the official broadcaster of the WWE in the Philippines.

The WWE on FOX Philippines programming schedule will be as follows:

WWE Vintage – Thursdays at 9:50 p.m.

WWE Raw – Fridays at 9:50 p.m.

WWE Main Event – Saturdays at 10:45 p.m.

WWE NXT – Saturdays at 11:40 p.m.

WWE SmackDown – Sundays at 9:50 p.m.

WWE pay-per-views – monthly; first airing on Monday at 9:50 p.m.

Replays of WWE programs will also be aired at certain points of the day.

With FOX Philippines now at the helm, watching WWE programs will never be the same again. Not only will viewers be treated to a three-hour Raw, they will also experience the same-day pay-per-views and complementary programs such as SmackDown and Main Event. Wrestling fans will definitely look forward to more action-packed storylines and matches that affect the WWE today.

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What Happened to Jack TV?

In my previous post I talked about the problems facing Solar Sports in recent years, and the need for a rebrand. But while Solar Sports is suffering from lack of content, fellow Solar network Jack TV is facing an identity crisis, something that needs to address as soon as possible.

Originally launched in 2005 as a block-timer to Solar USA, Jack TV achieved full-time network status the following year. At first, its programming ranged from sitcoms, animated comedies, wrestling programs and game shows to reality programs, gag shows and talk shows. However, in the last two years Jack TV began to reintegrate drama, suspense and action series inspired from its days as Solar USA, in anticipation of the launch of its sister network Jack City.

The resulting concoction left a bad taste in the mouths of some viewers. But perhaps the biggest damage to Jack TV’s reputation was when Solar let go of WWE programs in 2011, presumably due to high expenses. The loss of the WWE was devastating to Jack TV, as it provided wrestling fans with live pay-per-views along with full broadcasts of WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown.

Jack TV definitely needs to rebrand, period. They should start by dumping its animated comedies like The Simpsons and Family Guy, since Fox Asia currently air them. They should also get rid of sitcoms and place it on 2nd Avenue. And bring in more reality programs, such as The Biggest Loser. In short, better rename the channel or revert to the name Solar USA.

Jack TV, originally a male-dominated channel, now attracts females and high school youth. Having said that, a shift of audience also means a shift in programming, and Solar executives should begin the process of rebranding as soon as possible.

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