Philippines, Sports, television, United States

In and Out: TV5 Announces, Then Pulls Out NFL

Unless things change, the NFL will not be seen on Philippine television in the foreseeable future after Sports Illustrated Asia backed out and TV5 pulled out any scheduled games from its lineup. (Photo courtesy of the National Football League)

America’s most popular sport appears to be on its way out of the Philippines.

Sports Illustrated Asia, formerly the All-Sports Network (ASN), dropped the NFL from its lineup of programs at the start of the 2017 season. The channel best known for airing the National Hockey League, U.S. NCAA college football and college basketball had been broadcasting NFL games for nearly a decade now.

Almost simultaneously, TV5 announced that they will carry NFL games this season. But as soon as they placed the schedule of NFL games on its website, they decided to pull them out at the last minute in favor of ‘Movie Max 5’.

This means that for the first time in decades, the NFL will not be seen on Philippine television this season (unless one network will air the Super Bowl this February). It’s a shame considering that the league has had a long and distinguished love affair with Filipino sports fans and American expats, even though it falls behind basketball, volleyball and soccer in terms of local popularity.

Going back to TV5, the last-minute pullout of NFL games is the latest in a series of blunders committed by the network this month. Last week, TV5 ceased airing Cartoon Network and Boomerang shows in favor of TV shopping and movies, then in another last-minute move, they postponed anew the premiere of Brillante Mendoza’s ‘Amo’.

These moves are typical of Chot Reyes’ incompetence as a network executive. Once lauded for promoting the network’s ‘Choose Courage’ mantra, Chot’s questionable decisions has now turned the slogan into a joke.

The NFL, despite its lack of popularity in the Philippines, would have filled TV5’s suddenly moribund schedule. Had it aired as scheduled, people would have praised Chot Reyes for this fearless and courageous move.

Instead, Chot retreated like a coward and instructed his staff to pull them out in favor of endless Tagalized movies and TV shopping blocks. Which leads to where TV5 is now, a network lacking any sense of direction.

Considering the expensive broadcast rights of the NFL, perhaps TV5 was right in not pursuing the league. But without a ‘Plan B’, all signs point to Chot Reyes becoming a pariah in the world of Philippine television.

Standard
action, cartoon, drama, entertainment, Japan, movies, Philippines, Sports, television

TV5 Pulls Out Cartoon Network Shows, Refurbish Lineup Anew with NFL, Cockfighting, Japan Japan and Amo

What is Chot Reyes thinking?

When viewers tuned in to TV5 on the first week of September, one noticeable aspect of their programming is missing. It turns out that the Tagalized cartoons from Cartoon Network and Boomerang have been pulled out of the network, possibly due to the expiration of a contract between the two parties.

As a result, the network is once again living and dying with Tagalized movies and TV shopping blocks in the morning and afternoon. However, this latest development is not the only surprise that greeted viewers.

Tomorrow morning, TV5 will bring the NFL anew to the small screen. Except that the game is not the Super Bowl but an opening night contest between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs.

It can be recalled that it was ABS-CBN’s S+A that aired Super Bowl LI last February when TV5 could not accommodate said game. Now that TV5 has opened a gigantic hole in the morning, it is highly likely that they will carry some NFL football live all season.

Continuing the ‘Choose Courage’ theme that Chot Reyes implemented this year, TV5 also acquired a pair of refugees from the beleaguered IBC-13. Anyone who is a fan of sending roosters to the cockpit may remember ‘Tukaan’ and ‘Bakbakan’ right?

Both shows were long-time staples of IBC-13’s seemingly moribund lineup. But with the network poised to take its long-overdue process of privatization, they had no choice but to give up the two programs, and luckily TV5 was there to save them from extinction.

Another new show in TV5’s lineup is ‘Japan Japan’, a travel and lifestyle reality show starring Yachang and the Kawaii Pinays. Produced by the same company that brought ‘Amachan’ to the network, ‘Japan Japan’ takes a look at the various scenic destinations in Japan from the perspective of Filipino travelers and Yachang himself.

Finally, TV5 will bring the long-awaited Brillante Mendoza mini-series ‘Amo’ to the small screen. This 12-episode take on the country’s drug-related killings was originally slated to begin August 20, but the network’s coverage of Gilas in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games pushed back its premiere to this Sunday night.

Chot Reyes’ ‘Choose Courage’ vision is indeed alive and well, sort of. However, it’s still baffling to see more of the same old ‘Shop Japan’, ‘EZ Shop’ and Tagalized movies on the same roof, and unless TV5 can find a way to minimize said programs, they will not be perceived as being ‘courageous’ as their CEO emphasizes.

Standard
action, comedy, dance show, drama, entertainment, game show, humor, news, Philippines, public affairs, radio, reality show, Sports, suspense, talent show, talk show, television

FTT Year 2014 in Review: TV5

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 TV5, who made the transition from a mainstream to an alternative station this year.

The Positives

2014 was a year of change for TV5. And some changes were for the better.

A heavily-criticized coverage of the previous PBA season led to several tweaks in TV5’s current schedule. Initially made to benefit¬†the NCAA, the FIBA World Cup, the Youth Olympics and the Asian Games, this was then implemented for the PBA, which was welcomed by fans after expressing their disgust¬†with last season’s coverage.

The year also saw TV5 broadcast other major sporting events, such as the Super Bowl, the U.S. NCAA men’s basketball tournament, and the Winter Olympics. Furthermore, they aired the games of the¬†‘Batang Gilas’ in¬†the 2014 FIBA Under-17 World Championship, keeping in step with the moves made by ABS-CBN Sports.

TV5 viewers also¬†witnessed the premieres of highly-praised weekly series ‘JasMine’ and ‘Trenderas’, as well as a new game show in ‘Quiet Please! Bawal ang Maingay’.¬†TV5 also collaborated with both E! and Wattpad to broadcast ‘It Takes Gutz to Be a Gutierrez’ and ‘Wattpad Presents’, respectively, to good reviews.

And finally, News5 garnered some awards from various bodies, particularly in the programs ‘T3: Enforced’, ‘History with Lourd’, ‘Yaman ng Bayan’ and ‘Bigtime’. ‘It Takes Gutz to Be a Gutierrez’, ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ and ‘Celebrity Dance Battle’ were also honored.

The Negatives

The transformation of TV5 was not without some obstacles, however.

When TV5 revealed its programming lineup for 2014, one of the upcoming programs mentioned was a Philippine adaptation of ‘Pretty Little Liars’. Unfortunately for the network, the project never materialized, even as they denied rumors that it was ‘shelved’.

Not all of TV5’s programs under Noel Lorenzana’s new initiative paid off. The programs¬†that were cancelled in his first full year in charge¬†include the likes of ‘SpinNation’, ‘What’s Up, Doods’, ‘The Mega and the Songwriter’, ‘Killer Karaoke Pinoy Naman’, ‘Face the People’ and ‘Let’s Ask Pilipinas’.

TV5’s sports coverage was also not spared. Early this year, the¬†Kapatid network introduced¬†‘Moneyball: Dribol op da Pipol’ to its PBA and NCAA coverage,¬†much to the dismay of¬†the more informative and knowledgeable viewers; eventually TV5 relented by moving ‘Sports5 Center’ to the livestream format (as ‘Sports 360’).

AksyonTV, TV5’s sister network, was severely crippled by News5’s programming changes, particularly after the cancellation of its original programs and newscasts ‘Andar ng mga Balita’ and ‘Balitang 60’. As a result, the network became overly dependent on TV5’s programming, which is not a good sign for a news/sports channel like AksyonTV.

The sex scandal involving News5 anchor and Rescue5 leader Paolo Bediones in September also demoralized the network. While he left¬†‘Aksyon Tonite’ in the midst of the controversy (he was later replaced by Ed Lingao), he did return to host ‘Demolition Job’ and Rescue5 short videos once the impact of his scandal dissipated.

But¬†perhaps¬†the¬†biggest news coming out of TV5’s camp was the departure of Sharon Cuneta. A P1 billion¬†signee of the network a few years ago, Sharon joined TV5 with high expectations, but shows such as ‘Sharon: Kasama Mo¬†Kapatid’, ‘The Mega and the Songwriter’ and ‘Madam Chairman’¬†failed to deliver.

And finally, there is the annual issue of TV5’s overreliance on Tagalized foreign movies, as well as reruns of local programs.

Outlook

TV5 has already unveiled a list of new and returning programs for 2015, which will be discussed in detail very soon.

It was not a bad year for TV5, even with all the changes that took place. With a new year looming, Lorenzana and company now hope to build on these gains even further, though changes are still to be made as the year progresses.

Standard
Philippines, Sports, television

No to UAAP on TV5

The UAAP’s recent surge of popularity can be attributed to ABS-CBN’s effective marketing strategies in events like the Cheerdance Competition, something that rival TV5 needs to address in its sports programs to become more competitive.

TV5 is at it again. After earning the rights to air the Super Bowl and the Winter, Youth and Summer Olympic games, its next target is the UAAP, which is currently under ABS-CBN Sports.

Spin.ph reported Saturday that a letter of intent was submitted by TV5 to the UAAP board expressing its interest to acquire broadcast rights to the league. The same article also said that ABS-CBN is determined to extend its current contract, which is expected to expire after Season 77 (2014-15).

I think TV5 is not a good fit for the UAAP. Their sports division has been frequently at odds with the entertainment department over the scheduling of the PBA and other events, and their coverage of the NCAA and UFL has often been erratic. In addition, AksyonTV is not as powerful as ABS-CBN Sports + Action in terms of reach and clarity, not to mention lacking the commercial advertisements needed to support the network. In short, the potential acquisition of the UAAP games by TV5 will only complicate matters.

Having said that, it is only appropriate that the UAAP should remain with ABS-CBN Sports. Its 14-year relationship brought nothing but growth, improvement and popularity, and keeping the said league with the Kapamilya network will only continue to foster a comfortable and loyal relationship between the two parties.

But if TV5 is really determined to acquire the UAAP coverage, they should address their programming and advertising issues first. Not only that, they need to improve their existing facilities and equipment to be at par with what ABS-CBN is currently doing. And finally, the Kapatid network must prove worthy of the coverage by airing more NCAA games in sports other than basketball (its contract with that league also expires after 2014-15).

TV5’s pursuit of the UAAP will only begin in 2015. But for now, it is ABS-CBN Sports who is responsible for the broadcasts. And as far as the rights were concerned, I hope that the UAAP will remain a Kapamilya for an extended period of time.

Standard
Philippines, Sports, television, United States

PBA’s Inconsistent Broadcasting Crews in the Finals

Big games such as the PBA Finals need only the top broadcast team, but instead the league has suffered because of its broadcast partners’ constant shuffling of their announcing teams.

The PBA has had a long history of shuffling its broadcast crews during the Finals, and the 2013 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals is no exception. Some things do not work out for the better, and for the PBA and its broadcast partners, it may be a matter of time before deciding that only one broadcast team is enough to describe the action of every Finals game.

TV5’s coverage of the PBA currently has no de facto No. 1 or No. 2 broadcast team. Instead the network assigns a variety of play-by-play announcers, color analysts, sideline reporters and studio hosts to work every game, including the Finals. That constant shuffling leads me to these questions. Who is really the No. 1 play-by-play man, Magoo Marjon or Mico Halili? And who is really the No. 1 analyst, Jason Webb or Quinito Henson?

During¬†ABS-CBN’s recent coverage of the UAAP¬†Men’s Basketball Finals, they only used Boom Gonzalez and TJ Manotoc to work every game. The duo were also assigned to cover the recent NBA Finals¬†locally. The usage of just one broadcast team in the Finals ensures a high quality, consistent and smooth description of the action as the games get tougher. Just ask the American announcers at every sport.

Only the top broadcast teams have the honor of calling the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Stanley Cup Finals and the NBA Finals. They were trained to call big games involving the great players, and their experiences at calling the game gave them the honor of being called up to announce a championship series. That is why the likes of Mike Breen, Joe Buck, Jim Nantz, Al Michaels and Mike Emrick have been so successful at their craft because they earned their stripes calling the game involving the best players and the best teams. And their broadcast partners in Jeff Van Gundy, Troy Aikman, Tim McCarver, Phil Simms, Cris Collinsworth and Eddie Olczyk proved capable of providing a deeper analysis of the game through their intuition and knowledge.

It is a different story though when it comes to TV5’s PBA Finals coverage. On some nights it would be Magoo Marjon and an assigned color man, other nights will see Mico Halili, Charlie Cuna or Rado Dimalibot work play-by-play with an assigned analyst. Even the sideline reporter and studio host assignments are a revolving door. Several of the personalities even play two different roles; Halili, for instance, worked as both a studio host and a play-by-play man. This is not the case in the United States, where the two roles are separate from each other.

TV5 has to make a decision on who is really the No. 1 broadcast team. Both Halili and Marjon have the capability to be the No. 1 guy, but in terms of experience and big-game minutes, I had to give it to Halili because of his extensive broadcast work. As for the analyst spot Henson should have been the man, but due to his part-time status and multiple roles, I had to give it to Jason Webb for his youth, exuberance and knowledge of the game. TV5 needs only ONE broadcast crew for the Finals, and the Halili-Webb partnership may be the needed answer.

The PBA needs to carefully handle its broadcasts. They have already suffered from TV5’s broadcasting issues prior to the Governors’ Cup, and now with the rigodon of personalities calling the Finals, it is clear that PBA’s television coverage is lacking in both identity and distinction, one that would put them at par with the UAAP coverage on ABS-CBN Sports.

Standard
Philippines, Sports, television

No NFL on Solar Sports Again

The recent Super Bowl was aired on Solar Sports last February, but despite the opening of the new NFL season, no live games were being aired on the said network.

If you were a fan of the National Football League, you may remember that Solar Sports aired both the conference championship games and the Super Bowl early this year. However, as the new NFL season got underway this week, there was no sign of NFL programming on the Solar Sports channel.

As many of you know, the NFL has been aired exclusively in the Philippines via the All Sports Network (ASN), which unfortunately is exclusive through SkyCable and can only be unlocked if subscribers are able to afford more expensive packages. With American football fans craving and asking for a more affordable viewing choice, the Solar Entertainment management caved in to their demands and aired the final three NFL games of the 2012 season through Solar Sports. I thought they were on their way to airing NFL games for the 2013 season. However, they decided that these will be the last NFL games ever seen on a more affordable channel for the forseeable future, owing to the lucrative costs and low viewership numbers.

If low viewership numbers were to be considered, then the Solar management were pretty much correct in deferring themselves from airing the NFL. However, Fox Sports Asia continues to air Major League Baseball games despite the fact that a few people watch baseball in the Philippines. If Fox had their way, they would have stopped airing baseball games in favor of a more exclusive cable network. At the moment the most popular team sports in the Philippines are basketball, volleyball and soccer, owing to the recent success of the Gilas and Azkals national teams, as well as the local leagues established in Metro Manila (e.g. PBA, UAAP, NCAA). The popularity and loyal fanbase of these sports are the reasons why the likes of Solar, ABS-CBN, and TV5 continue to air these sports on a frequent basis.

The NFL is undoubtedly the most-watched league in the United States after the MLB. However its global popularity is limited due to the sport’s physical nature, lack of foreign players and high expenses of funding an American football team, which is why the NFL is taking baby steps in extending its fanbase beyond the United States. Despite their efforts, it may take a while before they can finally establish a foothold in the world of sports. Meanwhile only a few viewers can afford watching the NFL on the All Sports Network, hence the future of the sport on a more affordable outfit remains uncertain.

Standard