news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

ASEAN Summit Nothing – News5 No Longer Involved (Mostly) in ASEAN Summit

The possible final straw: News5’s lack of involvement in the 2017 ASEAN Summit was an indication that the organization is nearing its end, and the emphasis towards sports only made it worse. (Logo courtesy of ASEAN)

One seemingly moribund news organization is obviously non-committal when it comes to the ASEAN Summit.

Perhaps the biggest political event in the Philippines this year, the 2017 ASEAN Summit had it all. Whether it is the first visit of U.S. President Donald Trump to the country or the countless hours of talks between the ASEAN member states and top nations such as the U.S., China, Canada and Australia, the four-day event was for the most part memorable.

But not all of the Philippines’ top networks were around to cover those whirlwind four days. Just ask News5.

As expected, Luchi Cruz-Valdes and co. made little noise when it comes to coverage of the ASEAN Summit. And despite assigning some of their reporters (if there is any) to cover the said event, not to mention providing some live coverage on social media, the ASEAN Summit was buried in the pecking order in favor of sensational crime stories.

At least sister network Bloomberg Television Philippines did its share. As for the main network, nada.

Blame ESPN5 for all of this. After all, it was Chot Reyes who basically killed ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’, cut ‘Aksyon Tonite’ in half, and turned ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ into a ‘Hoy Gising’ wannabe.

They may still have ‘Aksyon Prime’ as their primary news program, but then again it has become a constant distraction to ESPN5’s sports coverage.

I have already written a eulogy that paid tribute to News5 and its ‘proud’ heritage. But as the ASEAN Summit neared, I thought to myself,

“Perhaps there is still a way to save News5 from the verge of collapse'”.

As it turned out, Chot Reyes was no longer committed to help News5 and instead made ESPN5 his ‘baby’. With sports now dominating TV5 and (for the most part) sister network AksyonTV, there is no room for said network to make the ASEAN Summit a must-see event the same way its rivals from Timog, Mother Ignacia, Shaw Boulevard and Visayas Avenue did.

It is safe to say that the time is now to pay our last respects to News5. Chot Reyes can dissolve this ‘pain in his butt’ anytime he wants, because as it stands, this division’s pain and suffering is unbearable and impossible to heal.

Hopefully the remnants of News5 will find a new home soon in the event that it will be dissolved. Good luck.

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CelebriTV premiere is Kapuso Network’s another desperate move

Timow's Turf

CelebriTV will premiere tomorrow afternoon on GMA 7. CelebriTV will premiere tomorrow afternoon on GMA 7.

ASIDE FROMIlustrado’s rerun on GMA News TV this Monday, another litany of desperate strategy comes from the main channel in Timog Avenue that will premiere tomorrow.

Enter CelebriTV.

CelebriTV is said to be the weekly “trend-tertainment news” and “comedy talk show” replacing the nearly two-decade-old Startalk (with 1,024 episodes). The end of Startalk was mainly due to the shift of preference of providing local entertainment news online rather than on television.

Unlike Startalk, Butch Francisco will no longer be part of the new show but will be replaced by Ai-Ai de lasAlasfor her second TV project (also, her first in weekend and in afternoon) as an exclusive talent this year. Secondly, Ricky Lo will be demoted from host to a correspondent. Lastly, Heart Evangelista will not be seen on the new program, in order not to show…

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In 100 Words: The Flying House is Now a Kapamilya

It’s now the turn of ‘The Flying House’ to jump from Timog to Mother Ignacia.

Much like its sister series ‘Superbook’, ‘The Flying House’ has become very synonymous with GMA since the 1980s. But starting this Saturday, it will now be seen on ABS-CBN, who almost a year ago acquired both the classic and reimagined versions of ‘Superbook’ through distributor CBN Asia.

‘The Flying House’ will be dubbed in Filipino, using virtually the same voice cast as ‘Superbook’. The latter series will replace the original ‘Superbook’ at 9:30 a.m., while the reimagined ‘Superbook’ will continue to air on Sundays at the aforementioned timeslot.

Another terrific addition to ABS-CBN’s weekend morning lineup.

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Collapse of GMA-Ang Deal Further Baffles GMA’s Business Operations

A deal between Ramon S. Ang and GMA has been terminated for unspecified reasons, furthering the already troubled business operations of the Kapuso network. (Photo credit: San Miguel Corporation)

The resuscitation of GMA Network has once again hit a roadblock.

It was announced Tuesday that talks between the said network and businessman Ramon S. Ang for the latter’s acquisition of a 30% share have been terminated. Responding to this sudden turn of events, Ang called the move surprising and unexpected, and promised to wait for any explanation by GMA regarding the situation at hand.

This was not the first time that talks between GMA and a potential investor have ended without any conclusive results. PLDT and TV5 chairman Manny V. Pangilinan have also entered talks to acquire a portion of GMA’s shares in 2001, 2004, 2012 and 2014, only to collapse in the end.

The latest development involving Ang and GMA marked the latest chapter in the decline and mismanagement of the network. Just recently, the Kapuso network have been involved in a pair of un-Kapuso-like decisions in relation to its business operations.

Late last year, 52 GMA employees were laid off while fighting for the regularization of their services, leading to a protest by the group known as ‘Talents Association of GMA’ (TAG). Claiming there were ‘unfair labor practices’, the group recently held a protest in front of the GMA headquarters in Timog Avenue.

Then in late April, GMA closed down four regional offices, canceled a pair of regional morning programs, and laid off at least 100 employees. The network claimed that they were merely streamlining its operations in order to increase ratings and revenue.

Coupled with still-declining ratings and programming quality, it is now clear why GMA is going nowhere. The lack of urgency to improve and expand the business is taking its toll on the network.

And it only made worse with its latest debacle involving Ramon S. Ang.

This is now a hopeless situation for Felipe Gozon, Gilberto Duavit and the rest of GMA management. Without any support from other investors, GMA is destined to become an afterthought in the media industry, something they cannot afford to happen.

They desperately need a new investor at this point. Perhaps a sit-down discussion with SM’s Henry Sy and family may help.

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Loss of Regional Outlets Another Cause of Concern for GMA

Regional networks become the latest area of concern for GMA. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

Things have gone from bad to worse for GMA.

After enduring numerous issues concerning programs, artists, manpower, advertising and revenue, the Kapuso network’s next obstacle comes from its regional networks. Just last weekend, GMA closed its four regional offices in Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Naga and Ilocos, cancelled morning shows in Cebu and Davao, and laid off at least 100 employees.

In response, GMA released a statement saying that“the strategic streamlining is geared towards increasing ratings and revenues of all of its regional stations from more efficient operations.” 

Furthermore, the network stated that they are “not closing down any regional station”, but rather they (except Cebu, Davao, Iloilo and Dagupan) will be continued as “satellite selling stations”, pending completion of the study and recommendation of the Regional TV Review Committee.

The network also mentioned that the news programs in Cebu, Davao, Iloilo and Dagupan will remain and will be strengthened, despite the cancellation of other regional programs in the morning. And finally, GMA also promised to offer its affected personnel “severance packages”.

This latest development definitely hurt GMA’s regional network group. Even though the network mentioned that no regional stations will be closed, it is clear that the lack of manpower and operations in the key cities will force GMA to use its Metro Manila relay feed, rendering them at a disadvantage against ABS-CBN’s RNGs.

That said, with ABS-CBN’s regional stations in Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Naga and Ilocos still operating, viewers may find themselves watching more regional news on ABS-CBN than on GMA due to the latter station’s closure. It may also contradict their statement regarding strategic streamlining for increased ratings and revenues, further hurting the network’s overall budget.

GMA’s loss of regional outlets will be severely felt throughout Timog Avenue and its remaining satellite offices. One must wonder when GMA will ever rebuild its regional network group after this debacle. Only time will tell.

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FTT Year 2014 in Review: GMA

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 GMA Network, who endured yet another frustrating year.

Positives

In a year where anything could go wrong, only a few bright spots remained on the corner of EDSA and Timog Avenue.

GMA’s Afternoon Prime emerged as the network’s top performer on weekdays, with ‘Villa Quintana’ and its successor ‘The Half Sisters’ leading the way. Also enjoying impressive performances were ‘The Borrowed Wife’, ‘Yagit’, ‘Innamorata’ and ‘Ang Lihim ni Annasandra’.

Afternoon Prime’s predecessor ‘Eat Bulaga’ remained a force on noontime, gaining some notoriety for its ‘Suffer Sireyna’ segment. Fellow long-running programs ‘Bubble Gang’, ‘I-Witness’ and ‘Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho’ also continued to impress viewers.

Perhaps the most welcome sight on the Kapuso network this year was the return of the Sunday TV Mass after a four-year absence. In response to criticisms that GMA was biased towards Catholics, they got the services of Society of Divine Word – Mission Communications Foundation, Inc. (SVD-MCFI) to broadcast the weekly mass every Sunday morning, thus appeasing their Catholic viewers for now.

And finally, GMA earned numerous awards in both local and international award-giving bodies. GMA News and Public Affairs, in particular, continued to garner praise for its excellent journalistic work by winning another Peabody Award, in addition to numerous New York Festival awards.

Negatives

If there is one network who deserves much of the blame for its failures, it is GMA. And 2014 was just another tough year for the No. 2 network.

GMA Telebabad continued to be an underwhelming performer for the Kapuso network. Virtually every teleserye GMA threw at its disposal failed to make an impact, including the four-week long historical drama series ‘Ilustrado’, who performed badly against its rivals from Mother Ignacia.

The 19-year old ‘Startalk’ also underperformed this year, with timeslot changes to blame for its poor performance. Neither a return to Sundays (vs. ‘Buzz ng Bayan’/’The Buzz’), nor a transfer back to Saturdays (vs. ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ and ‘Failon Ngayon’) helped ‘Startalk”s performance this year.

An ongoing purge to GMA’s weekend programming proved to be not as tense as last year, although the slumping ‘Sunday All Stars’, a clear candidate for cancellation, moved to a later time to avoid ‘ASAP’. Three movie blocks on Sundays, along with ‘Asian Horror Stories’ on Saturdays, did not help GMA at all.

Being the king at answering ABS-CBN’s every move, GMA countered ‘Meteor Garden’ and other Kapamilya throwback Asianovelas by re-airing ‘Jewel in the Palace’, ‘Coffee Prince’ and others, none of which were successful. GMA also countered ABS-CBN by airing ‘Marian’, ‘Bet ng Bayan’ and ‘Don’t Lose the Money’ versus its rival’s programs, again to negative results.

Controversy also affected GMA in 2014. Both Aljur Abrenica and embattled GMA employees under the name ‘Talents Association of GMA’ filed lawsuits against the network for various complaints, while Sen. Bong Revilla’s arrest due to the PDAF scandal prompted the network to cancel ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ to avoid any negative publicity.

Overall, it was an abysmal year for GMA, both in terms of ratings, financial performance, and standards of quality.

Outlook

Ramon Ang may have taken some of the shares, but GMA’s fortunes continue to revolve around their aging pair of owners in Felipe Gozon and Gilberto Duavit. So expect another difficult and trying year on the corner of EDSA and Timog Avenue.

‘Second Chances’, a long-overdue series, will kick off GMA’s slate of new programs this 2015, but it remains to be seen whether or not will there be second chances for the said network this year. One thing’s for sure: a wild ride continues for the men and women inside the GMA Network Center.

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