news, Philippines, television

In 100 Words: News Night Completes Total Overhaul of CNN Philippines

It will be a completely different CNN Philippines come this Monday.

As reported by MediaNewser.com, ‘Network News’ will cease to exist following tonight’s broadcast, and in its place is a new newscast called ‘News Night’. The weekday editions will still be handled by Pia Hontiveros, while Mai Rodriguez will go on board during weekends.

‘Network News’ was CNN Philippines’ penultimate holdover from the TalkTV/Solar News Channel years. The program first aired in 2012 and continued to broadcast even after Wilson Tieng sold Solar’s news department to the late Antonio Cabangon Chua in 2014.

The rebrand of ‘Network News’ to ‘News Night’ marked the culmination of Armie Jarin-Bennett’s years-long makeover of CNN Philippines to a network that is decidedly similar to its parent network. That said, viewers can only hope that the increasingly positive responses to CNN Philippines will continue after this latest reboot.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Basketball TV Is Now a Poor Man’s NBA Premium

Basketball TV's growing emphasis on local leagues comes at a price, as TV5 plucked the FIBA tournaments (in particular Gilas Pilipinas) away from the network. (Photo credit: FIBA.com)

Basketball TV’s growing emphasis on local leagues comes at a price, as TV5 plucked the FIBA tournaments (in particular Gilas Pilipinas) away from the network. (Photo credit: FIBA.com)

There is a changing of the guard on Basketball TV.

Since its first broadcast in 2006, BTV has been the home for numerous top-notch basketball tournaments. Their flagship product is obviously the NBA, but the network has also aired a number of other tournaments, namely the U.S. NCAA, FIBA and the Euroleague.

However, a recent rebrand last year brought in some drastic changes to BTV’s image. Gone were the major global tournaments that made the network stand out, and in their place were local tournaments such as the NAASCU and the ongoing NCRUCLAA men’s basketball competitions.

The additions of the NAASCU and NCRUCLAA to BTV gave both leagues an outlet with which they can expose themselves to a local audience. But at what cost does a pair of not-so famous leagues come in exchange for more recognizable tournaments?

The loss of FIBA tournaments, in particular, should sting BTV a lot. After all, this is the very same station which brought the FIBA game to a local audience, particularly with the return to prominence of Gilas Pilipinas.

Unfortunately, as TV5 president and Gilas coach Chot Reyes decided to give his own network the exclusive rights to all FIBA basketball games, BTV can only watch helplessly as its second most recognizable product gets taken away by a rival outfit. Such a shame for Wilson Tieng and company.

With the loss of FIBA to TV5, Basketball TV’s only source of relevance now is the NBA. At this point, 80% of BTV’s programming consists of the NBA and its related properties such as the NBA D-League and the WNBA.

As for the remaining 20%, these are now allocated to the NAASCU, NCRUCLAA and other future local competitions. In essence, BTV has become a poor man’s NBA Premium based on these numbers.

The future of Basketball TV will depend on how Solar Entertainment can properly maintain the network. If they can no longer do so, perhaps NBA co-rightsholder ABS-CBN Sports can step in and give a helping hand to its troubled rival.

The BTV people knew had an impressively strong lineup. Now, after over a decade, it was nothing but a distant memory, even if the network decides to give local leagues a chance.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Despite New Deal with ABS-CBN, URCC Still Airs on Solar Sports

Seems like one network forgot about a new deal between the URCC and ABS-CBN Sports.

Since the start of August, rival sports network Solar Sports has been reairing classic URCC matches back when they still had the TV rights. Titled ‘URCC: Bakbakan Na’, it airs every Saturday night at 10:00 p.m.

It can be recalled that in April 2016, the URCC and ABS-CBN Sports inked a partnership deal that will see the latter air the former’s events on ABS-CBN Sports+Action in HD, SD and live stream. According to the said press release, ABS-CBN claimed that they were the ‘official’ broadcast partner of the URCC.

The press release did not clarify if ABS-CBN’s deal with the URCC is an exclusive one. In the event that it was non-exclusive, other networks may enter the picture, and since there was no explanation, Solar Sports was able to reenter the picture by airing classic URCC bouts.

Let’s face it, had ABS-CBN branded its URCC broadcasts as ‘exclusive’, this confusion would have never happened in the first place. The former’s deal was not bad, but whatever benefits they will have by airing the URCC would be negated by another network’s continued broadcast of the said promotion’s old matches.

That said, the URCC needs to have the rights to every televised bout that once aired on other networks, not the other way around. That way, any highlight of it can be seen on the channel (in this case ABS-CBN Sports) with which they have the rights right now.

Perhaps this situation needs to be addressed by URCC founder Alvin Aguilar, ABS-CBN Sports head Dino Laurena, and Solar Entertainment head Wilson Tieng in order to avoid any further complications. After all, the URCC deserves nothing more than a good, clean fight, and a stable partnership with the network they are currently paired with.

Hopefully it is for the best that they solve this issue immediately. This one is for the fans of mixed martial arts in the Philippines, and a good product is a must for the URCC to succeed.

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action, Philippines, suspense, television, United States

Jack TV, FOX Philippines Battle for Heroes Reborn

A bidding war between Jack TV and FOX Philippines over ‘Heroes Reborn’ has left viewers of both networks perplexed, even though the former will air the series much earlier. (Photo credit: Solar Entertainment/Jack TV Official Facebook)

Two cable channels are now fighting for the right to air ‘Heroes Reborn’.

Jack TV and FOX Philippines have announced that they will both broadcast ‘Heroes Reborn’ via satellite starting tomorrow. The premiere broadcast of ‘Heroes Reborn’ on both channels will be as follows:

  • Jack TV – 11:00 a.m.
  • FOX Philippines – 11:35 a.m.

‘Heroes Reborn’ is a 13-episode miniseries that picks up from where the original series ‘Heroes’ left off. In the U.S., the mini-series will air on NBC, the same home network as the original.

The original ‘Heroes’ first saw the light of day in the Philippines when it was aired on RPN-9 via its Prime Shift and C/S 9 branding. The series ran from 2006 to 2010 and spanned four seasons.

Just recently, all episodes of the original ‘Heroes’ were re-aired on FOX Philippines, who also intend to air ‘Heroes Reborn’. However, Jack TV, a former sister station of RPN-9, also made their own case on the upcoming miniseries, and as a result, a bidding war began between the two networks.

The program rights battle between Solar Entertainment and FOX International Channels is no longer new. There have been instances of one program being aired on each of the company’s channels; for example, Jack TV and FOX Philippines have the rights to ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Family Guy’, among other programs, with the difference being that the former airs the current season and the latter the previous seasons.

That said, it’s hard to fathom the fact that two cable networks will premiere the same program at almost the same time. It is also confusing, because the viewers will find it hard to choose which channel to watch.

Perhaps the time has come for Solar’s Wilson Tieng and FOX International’s Jude Turcuato to settle this issue once and for all. The similarities between the two outfits should not go a little too far by airing the same program almost simultaneously, so they have to figure out a way to differentiate themselves according to content.

Let’s just hope that they work out a deal in the near future. After all, this is for the best interests of the viewer.

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Philippines, Sports, television

ABS-CBN, TV5, GMA to Simultaneously Air Pacquiao-Mayweather Fight

Representatives of Solar Sports, ABS-CBN, GMA and TV5 come together for the special press conference announcing the joint free TV coverage of the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight on all three networks. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN Sports)

The ‘Big Three’ stations will now join forces for the much-anticipated super-fight of the century.

It was announced by Solar Sports that the bout between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. will be aired simultaneously on free TV via ABS-CBN, GMA and TV5. Solar is expected to retain production rights for the fight, but the three stations are also expected to send in their respective broadcast teams within weeks of the fight.

The Pacquiao-Mayweather fight will still be screened live in theaters and arenas throughout the country via Solar All-Access. In addition, both SkyCable and Cignal will produce a pay-per-view feed.

The radio coverage of the fight will still be exclusive to GMA’s radio division.

The simultaneous airing of the fight on Channels 2, 5 and 7 should help Solar Sports a lot in terms of shouldering the burden. After all, Wilson Tieng and company spent over P400 million just to acquire the exclusive broadcast rights for the fight, which is very costly to say the least.

Setting aside a long-standing rivalry for a major non-news event is no longer new for the ‘Big Three’. Three years ago, a musical tribute concert for the late Dolphy was aired on ABS-CBN, TV5 and GMA at the same time.

This is definitely a watershed moment in Philippine television, one that will still be discussed well after the fight is over. The three networks may have been rivals for a long while, but collaborating for a mega-fight of epic proportions should help unite Filipinos in support of its greatest hero.

The Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, dubbed ‘Battle for Greatness’, commences on May 3 Manila time.

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