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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entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

UFL Unveils New TV Schedule

UFL matches will now be seen from Tuesdays to Fridays at 8:00 p.m. on AksyonTV.

After a brief break in the action due to the Philippine Azkals’ participation in the 2014 Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup, the United Football League resumes Division I action tonight at Taguig’s Emperador Stadium. However, the league will now have a new TV schedule thanks to a new agreement between the UFL and Sports5.

Under the new schedule, UFL games will now be seen from Tuesday to Friday at 8:00 p.m. on AksyonTV. However, only the second Tuesday and Thursday matches will be seen live, while the opening matches on those days will be seen on Wednesday and Friday, respectively. Saturday fixtures will remain non-televised.

The new UFL broadcast deal came after the league and AksyonTV were criticized for prioritizing the UFL broadcasts over the Philippine Basketball Association. During the Philippine Cup quarterfinals, the first game of Tuesday doubleheaders were not aired live due to the UFL matches, forcing irate basketball fans to vent their anger on social media.

As a result, Sports5 was forced to prioritize the 5:30 p.m. broadcasts of PBA games on AksyonTV, beginning with the Commissioner’s Cup. However, this also led to late-night telecasts of UFL games, with some of them airing at 10:00 p.m. or later.

UFL President Randy Roxas believes that by promoting the UFL games into a ‘nighttime habit’, they hope that the league’s fanbase will grow. And the UFL’s new schedule should benefit football fans coming from work, since the 5:00 p.m. matches may pose a problem to their hectic schedules.

The UFL, a young and promising football league, has a long way to go in terms of quality and popularity. A four-day weekly broadcast over AksyonTV should help matters.

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news, Philippines, Sports, television

PBA D-League Shut Out of TV Coverage

Not even the presence of PBA D-League top pick Chris Banchero of Boracay Rhum, and NU-Banco de Oro’s Bobby Ray Parks, was enough to convince the big television networks to air the D-League.

The PBA D-League was supposed to enjoy its fair share of TV coverage during the 2014 Aspirants Cup. However, none of the big networks came calling.

Back in November, I wrote an article about the D-League’s lack of TV coverage at the start of the Aspirants Cup. Sports5, which has covered the D-League on television since its formation, decided to opt out due to its prior commitments to the NCAA, the PBA, the United Football League, and other sports events such as the then-upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics. In addition, GMA News TV was mentioned to have been negotiating with the PBA for the broadcast of the D-League. However, GMA’s negotiations with the PBA would eventually stall, and as a result, not even a single game of the Aspirants Cup was aired on television.

The lack of television coverage within the PBA D-League is surely a disgrace to the fledgling league. This is the league where college and amateur players converge in hopes of getting noticed by PBA teams in the near future. But with television coverage absent, the only way basketball fans and scouts can take notice is to go to the nearest arena and enter for no additional cost. And that takes a lot of miles and money.

Surely, the D-League deserves a whole lot of attention. But without any TV coverage whatsoever, what will the future hold for this league once the next conference begins this summer?

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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.

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