news, Philippines, politics, Sports, television

PTV-4’s PFL Coverage in Hot Water

The PFL’s live matches are currently aired on PTV-4, but speaking engagements of President Rodrigo Duterte have often interrupted their coverage. (Logo courtesy of the Philippines Football League)

There is trouble brewing in the Philippines Football League.

The first season of the fledgling soccer league is currently broadcast on government-owned People’s Television Network (PTV-4), but so far, soccer fans were not happy with the network’s treatment of the matches. In more than one instance, live broadcasts of the PFL were rudely interrupted by President Rodrigo Duterte’s speeches to the nation.

As the only government television station, it is always mandatory for PTV-4 to broadcast each and every live appearance of the president. But if it takes place in the middle of a sports event such as the PFL, fans have every right to complain and voice their disapproval to the network.

 

The PFL is a young and promising league, and television coverage is a must for them to gain further awareness from not only the growing soccer community, but also the general public. But with the way that PTV-4 has treated them, there is a possibility that their relationship could end after only a season together.

If PTV-4 were smart enough to realize the advancements in technology, they should have provided the PFL with a free live stream platform so that the matches can continue online with no interruptions. Unfortunately, the network is still on a rebuilding phase as they focus on the improvement of current facilities and nationwide reach.

So where will the PFL go to? There are plenty of options, but there are some pros and cons.

ABS-CBN Sports has had a history of raising the profile of some of the sporting events they broadcast, but with their commitments already too loaded, there may be no room for the PFL to showcase their matches. Sports5, whose previous soccer experience is with the defunct United Football League (UFL), is also an option, but their reach is questionable.

Solar Sports is also a possibility, but their pullout from media giant SkyCable as well as Solar Entertainment’s financial troubles may also come to play. There is also Fox Sports Philippines with three different channels to choose from, but fitting in may be an issue.

As for GMA, don’t think about that anytime soon because Felipe Gozon and company have no interest in returning to the sporting arena full-time. If all else fails, they can stick around with PTV-4, as long as the network improves its approach.

The PFL has a long way to go before becoming the legitimate national soccer league in the Philippines. But to do so, they need the benefit of television to boost their morale, and so far the start has been anything but impressive.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Sports5’s Doubtful and Desperate Future

The ‘Road to Rio’ will be a bumpy one, as TV5 essentially sacrificed its entire programming lineup just for the coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics. This year’s Olympics could decide the future of Sports5 as well. (Photo credit: PhilStar.com)

These are indeed desperate times for TV5.

It has been over a month since the Kapatid network ‘demolished’ (for the lack of a better term) almost its entire programming lineup in favor of unlimited ‘foreignoy’ movies and home shopping blocks. And while their decision may seem ridiculous, they were essentially preparing this demolition job for one particular event.

Enter the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The Summer Olympics in Rio will be the fourth such event for TV5, following the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing. As early as now, TV5 is going all out, because as far as they were concerned, this could be their last chance to prove their worth as a force in Philippine sports.

Anyone who has followed TV5 over the years know how much a sports fan Manny V. Pangilinan is. The businessman is best known in the sports world as:

  • owner of three PBA teams (Tropang TNT, Meralco Bolts, NLEX Road Warriors)
  • bankroller of two collegiate teams (Ateneo Blue Eagles, San Beda Red Lions)
  • one-time president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas
  • benefactor of Gilas Pilipinas

His work on TV5 was also an extensive one. Between 2011 and 2012, the Kapatid network snared the rights to several top-flight events, which include the following:

  • Philippine Basketball Association
  • United Football League
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (Philippines)
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (United States)
  • Olympic Games
  • National Football League’s Super Bowl
  • Gilas Pilipinas basketball games

At first, MVP collaborated with IBC-13 for a blocktime deal that became AKTV. But when cash flow problems surfaced, he ended the blocktime agreement and was forced to utilize both TV5 and AksyonTV for their sports coverage.

Unfortunately for TV5, they encountered greater problems in handling such coverage. As a result, their entertainment programming was extremely compromised, while news programs on AksyonTV gradually eroded to the point that they were either cancelled or preempted.

Although the network managed to take advantage of the all-sports channel HYPER on its Cignal subscription service, it is clear that Sports5’s problems are becoming increasingly hard to overcome. Which leads to 2016, the year where the network’s contracts with the PBA, Olympics and the UFL are up for either renewal or expiration.

Considering these irreparable problems, the smart choice of action for TV5 at this point is to not renew their contracts with the said events. But with other networks enduring a variety of obstacles themselves, and with ABS-CBN Sports all too loaded to commit for more events, all signs point to a reluctant renewal.

So what’s next for Sports5? No one knows, but for the next several months, their busy schedule will be an evaluation process to see if they still have what it takes to be a big-time player in Philippine sports.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, Sports, television

AksyonTV Needs a Spinoff Channel

A revival of the AKTV brand on Channel 41, plus a new News5 Network on Cignal, should solve the identity crisis of AksyonTV. (Logo courtesy of TV5)

The time for AksyonTV to spin off into two separate channels is now.

The past few months saw AksyonTV increase its emphasis on sports coverage. Just recently, Sports5 acquired broadcast rights to the FilSports Basketball Association, the Philippine Commercial Basketball League*, the League of Legends World Championship, and the International Premier Tennis League.

This, in addition to existing broadcast rights to leagues such as the Philippine Super Liga, the United Football League and the Women’s National Collegiate Athletics Association, gives AksyonTV a more sports-oriented lineup than in past years. Further proof of the network’s ongoing evolution is the presence of instructional segments such as ‘TiuTorials’ and ‘Power Tips’, as well as other sporting highlights.

But while AksyonTV is now focusing more on sports, news programming remained a constant presence. Simulcasts of Radyo5 programs, TV5 newscasts and public affairs programming continue to air on the said network, as it has been the case since 2011.

The increasing imbalance between news and sports programming on AksyonTV should be a cause of concern to News5 and Sports5 heads Luchi Cruz-Valdes and Chot Reyes, respectively. As AksyonTV moves further and further into sports coverage, it is clear that they need to make a change.

Remember the AKTV block on IBC-13? Perhaps TV5 should revive the AKTV brand, and place it on free TV channel 41, in order to give ABS-CBN Sports+Action a run for their money.

If TV5 can improve that channel’s signal, AKTV-41 should pose a challenge to ABS-CBN’s free TV sports-oriented channel. That is a big if, since Sports+Action has the bigger sporting events such as the UAAP, NCAA and NBA to back it up.

As for the news half of AksyonTV, the best possible solution is to turn it into a Cignal-exclusive channel. Perhaps the name News5 Network (N5N) could fit the bill.

That channel should be News5’s answer to DZMM TeleRadyo and ABS-CBN News Channel, as far as Cignal subscribers are concerned. Focusing mostly on Radyo5 simulcasts, TV5 newscasts, and even Digital5 exclusives should be the said network’s priority.

That said, the identity crisis on AksyonTV needs an immediate solution. Splitting it into two separate channels should benefit both News5 and Sports5 in the long term.

One can only hope that TV5 can make the right decision on their UHF counterpart. After all, they don’t want Channel 41 to look so cluttered.

*AksyonTV has dropped the PBA simulcasts on TV5 since the start of the 2015-16 season, in favor of airing the FBA and PCBL.

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