hits, music, Philippines, songs, television

Sixth Incarnation of MTV in the Philippines to Launch Tomorrow

A revival of MTV in the Philippines will be launched tomorrow. (Logo courtesy of Viacom International Media Networks)

A new version of MTV in the Philippines will be seen anew.

On Tuesday, August 1, the sixth incarnation of MTV’s Philippine channel will officially launch in a majority of cable and satellite outlets in the country. This new channel, a collaboration of Viacom and Solar Entertainment, will be known as MTVph.

Viacom International Media Networks vice president and general manager Paras Sharma is excited to revive the MTV brand in the Philippines, saying:

“We are thrilled to work with Solar Entertainment Corporation to not only bring a brand new MTVph into the Philippines, but expand MTV’s reach across platforms. We already have a strong MTV fan base in the country, so this move solidifies our on-going commitment to bolster local programming to cater to the viewing preferences of our Filipino young audience.”

The premiere will coincide with the 36th anniversary of MTV in the United States. Before YouTube became the go-to-source for popular music videos, it was MTV that popularized the vehicle, turning unknown artists into superstars almost overnight with the help of music videos.

However, the history of MTV in the Philippines is anything but memorable. There have been five prior incarnations of MTV in the country, none of which lasted as long as the original.

  • MTV Asia (1992-96) – Aired on Channel 23 licensed by Ermita Electronics Corporation. Viacom and STAR TV joined forces for this venture, until the latter’s decision to launch Channel V eventually led to its demise.
  • MTV Philippines (1996-2000) – Channel 23 was acquired by ABS-CBN and rebranded as Studio 23. MTV continued to air in the channel during the daytime, but its broadcast ended after ABS-CBN launched MYX.
  • MTV Philippines (2001-07) – By far the longest-lasting and most popular incarnation, the original MTV Philippines was aired on Channel 41 24/7 through a partnership with Viacom and the Nation Broadcasting Corporation. The partnership ended once NBC and Viacom parted ways.
  • MTV Philippines (2007-10) – A partnership with Viacom and All Youth Channels, this version of MTV was the first to air exclusively on cable and satellite. However, AYC chairman Francis Lumen ended the partnership in 2010, and for the next four years, the MTV seen in the country was that of MTV Southeast Asia.
  • MTV Pinoy (2014-16) – Viacom and Viva joined forces to launch the more recent localized version of MTV. Unlike previous incarnations, MTV Pinoy aired mostly Filipino-dedicated content. After its dissolution, an MTV Pinoy block aired on MTV Southeast Asia for a few months.

Now that this latest incarnation of MTV in the Philippines will be launched anew, a few questions remain.

  • Will it become relevant in the age of YouTube and other streaming services?
  • Will Solar’s recent poor financial history play a big factor in this venture?
  • Will MTV be able to compete against contemporaries MYX and Channel V?

One can only hope that MTVph will make a lasting impression and not suffer the same fate as its previous incarnations. That said, if Solar can somehow put their finances into order, then MTVph will be in good shape in the years to come.

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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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