Simulcast Frenzy: When Does This Good Thing Go Bad?

[Requested by MJH]

AT THIS SPECIFIC TIME in the pre-pandemic era, you’re about to finish work for the day. As you would drove along a thoroughfare that is well-known for heavy traffic in the evening rush hour, your favorite newscast on TV will start in a few minutes but in a swift moment, you tuned your car radio to their corresponding frequency.

The aforementioned situation described above is the broadcast practice of simulcasting. Simulcasting is the broadcasting of programs across more than one medium or more than one service on the same medium.

Simulcasts can happen within sister channels just like the Six-Lettered Network back then with their UAAP Finals or MPBL Finals on weekend in place of a filler movie block.

Events that are covered to most media platforms are also part of the broad definition of simulcast; one of the best examples of that is the President delivering the State of the Nation Address to Congress every July.

This broadcasting practice is normal but sometimes, like in all things, it can go too far and pretty harmful — especially if you have the virtual sole control in the TV industry. Let’s examine the current case of GMA Network after the jump.


The Turf’s Thoughts on PBA Season 46

EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY IN THE TRYING TIMES | During the resumption of PBA Season 45 in the Clark bubble last -ber months, fans come to see their favorite teams from their computer screens.

THIS WEEK — on Friday, more specifically — will mark the 46th anniversary of our Liga ng Bayan, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

The corresponding 46th season of this league will tip-off in 12 days (on April 18) as initially planned by the Board of Governors but that opening game could be delayed due to the COVID surge that forced NCR Plus still into Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ); therefore, we do know that it will not go into multiple seasoned venues in that geographic area (i.e. not in Araneta Coliseum, Cuneta Astrodome or even Ynares Center).

While the logistics of venues will be managed by the Board and they might go back again to Clark, others have concerns. What challenges and thoughts are we expecting for the nation’s professional league before it tips off?


The Sentiments on VinCentiments

[Requested by C.M. Tapuyao]

[AUTHOR’S WARNING: The following post contains content that can provoke and trigger bad associations. Critical thinking and reading are strongly advised.]

IT HAS BEEN one year — and almost two weeks — since the country went into lockdown and the trend got worst than initially thought. For that long period of time, you might have set new habits and new goals in the COVID-19 pandemic bucket list on the top of the extensive agony in working from home or online classes.

In that list, did you include your goal to be a YouTube content creator? A vlogger? How did it fare?

When the modern Pinoy Internet sprawl, you were idolizing Moymoy Palaboy and Mikey Bustos. But as YouTube creators go personal and original when it got localization, you had followed the late Lloyd Cafe Cadena and Emman Nimedez (may God rest both of their souls) or even CongTV (Lincoln Vasquez) with his Team Payaman, PaoLUL and Mimiyuuuh (born Jeremy Sanchebuche).

But one of them may be remembered as the most provocative — no, we’re not talking about those with political causes — but a duo of filmmakers: VinCentiments.


Holy Week 2021: An Extraordinary Celebration for Our Country and for Our TV

Carlos “Botong” Francisco’s “First Mass at Limasawa” depicts the first Easter Sunday service on our shores half a millennium ago. This year marks our “Great Jubilee” of the Christian faith.

THIS YEAR’S Holy Week is extraordinary. It will mark the seven-day countdown to the Quincentennial Year (the 500th anniversary) of our Christian faith in the country that will start — rather than culminating, as initially planned — on Easter Sunday on April 4.

This sacred week of Christendom happens on the last four days of March and the first four of April. Therefore, the community quarantine status of the country for the coming month would be very critical but it has been anticipated by the IATF.

In the external backdrop, the daily COVID cases across the country recently went on the upward trend (the all-time high daily cases was recorded at 8,109 just yesterday). The dreadful variants made most of the vaccines (meagerly on hand) futile in terms of efficacy; one preferred and enforced brand is questionable due to incomplete salient data. This is more worrying than when the country initially responded back a year ago and we are already suffering the fatigue (We can call it the collective carrying of our crosses).

However, the extraordinariness behind this Holy Week is not just for its monumental commemoration — in which the key theme of Missio Ad Gentes (mission to the peoples) will be integrated — and the current external situation but also on the events happening on the small screens.

Here on Timow’s Turf, our mission is to chronicle what is confirmed and to guess closely what will happen in the coming week. (Jump ahead to get with the content.)


The News and Beyond: What’s next when FTA channels are gone?

[Requested by MJH]

CASUALTY IN SHAW BOULEVARD. An internal memo from CNN Philippines said that there will be downsizing in operations on March 16 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

THIS YEAR would’ve marked the tenth anniversary of the free-to-air news channel experiment.

However, we witnessed almost two weeks ago that GMA News TV became GTV (despite the nearly completed transition). It took them a bit more than two years after TV5’s realization in their counterpart, AksyonTV (now One Sports). The story behind their slowest realization in Kamuning-Timog Avenue doesn’t need any further explanation.

Not only that, in ten days (March 16), CNN Philippines will start retrenching some of its employees due to the impact of the pandemic after their internal memo was released to the newser outlets last month. Before this moment, one edition of their newscasts was quietly axed. How unfortunate that as they will turn six years old when this will happen as last year, the channel from Mandaluyong was twice off the air when two different employees in their headquarters in Worldwide Corporate Center tested positive for COVID-19. However, the renewed naming rights that were bestowed to Shaw Boulevard will not expire until 2024.

At first, this specific genre in a particular radio-TV frequency spectrum was used to feed news and information for the middle to lower classes as those in cable and satellite for the highest and upper-middle strata.

GMA was planning for this on Channel 11 to replace QTV last February 28, 2011, but TV5’s Aksyon TV rolled ahead by one week and ran round the clock. A few days later, Solar Entertainment Corporation launched Talk TV on SBN 21, which was inaccessible for neighboring provinces.

A year later, Talk TV became Solar News Channel and introduced their own local newscasts — in English — so that viewers can get a straightforward, broadsheet-style alternative. (Filipino newscasts did not deliver until 2016 when Pinky Webb arrived.)

The year 2013 became a turning point for the genre as Aksyon TV stopped the 24/7 operation and began to dilute their sports content after the AKTV blocktime with IBC 13 expired. Meanwhile, Solar News Channel went up to VHF territory channel 9 — which became the home of successor channels, 9TV and now, CNN Philippines.

When digital TV receivers became newfangled and commercialized in the mid-2010s, Inquirer 990 Television was launched and used to be part of BEAM’s digital subchannel lineup. Like with the Forbidden yet Unforgettable Network, their franchise expired just last year when they were off the air due to the ongoing lockdown, leaving a gaping hole for the DTT novelty channel.

As of this writing, GMA, despite the dominance, has no pure news and commentary channel and they are facing a complicated decision if they’ll try again for one of the two vacant digital subchannels left in their lawful frequency. TV5 has One PH with its operations and programming under the control of Cignal TV and PhilStar Media Group since the start of this year. CNN Philippines has integrated cartoons from Cartoon Network on the weekend daytime when there is a slow news day before their news of operation downsizing happened.

What have we learned after this decade-long run? The experiment of news channels in the free-to-air analog sphere is not successful in the long run. They are not moneymakers as news and information spread faster online, despite consumer’s need for verification.

That being said, media pundits said that pure news channels don’t exist and every channel on the common platform has to profit. As such, they are definitely profitable in the cable and satellite (cab/sat) platform for 25 years and counting. This is why in Mother Ignacia and — for those who have obvious contempt with the former — in Reliance succeeded; Kamuning never took that opportunity and waited until social media adapts to livestream.

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Photo courtesy of CNN Philippines

Preparing MPBL in the New Arrangement

IT’S COMING BACK. Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League is resuming play today to determine the national champions but there are no TV broadcasts.

ON WEDNESDAY, Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) will resume where it left off; this time, they’ll play the remainder of the playoffs in the Subic bubble — the same location as the Philippine Super Liga where their season-opening Volleyball Challenge Cup spiked off. Unfortunately, this amateur league has no broadcaster to cover as the original home lost its license.

For those who are lying under the rock about what MPBL is and what is happening about it, jump for a little refresher.

Later, we will tackle how to solve a problem before their new season tips off in June and if they sealed a new home.


What’s Wrong with Brightlight Productions?

[Requested by MJH]

BRIGHTLIGHT GONE DIM? Albee Benitez’s new venture to TV ended up with a dim result.

THE REQUESTER behind this post decided to do this as the production company was reportedly ending its contract with TV5 in March due to financial losses.

At first, it was shocking because of those talents who are primarily relying on their exposure on the small screens to sustain their means of living amidst the pandemic after losing their home network’s license. Alas, we are disappointed but not shocked of the strong affinity of belongingness (in politically incorrect term: fantardism) between Mother Ignacia and Kamuning remains for more than three decades, even though the former choked and forced to close the case until next year’s election if the new President favors a fresh start.

For the readers who are ignorant of the production company that saved a handful of talents and their track record because of your sharp mindset. Let me reintroduce to you: Brightlight Productions (hereinafter BLP).


The background behind Brightlight

BLP was founded by former Negros Occidental congressman Albee Benitez when they produced “Game Changer” that aired in 2014 on the Cable News Channel that We Cannot Utter.

Six years later, the premeditated loss of the Six-Lettered Network’s license — and the Chief Perpetrator’s continuation of its unhealthy obsession to annihilate them from memory (an attempt of damnatio memoriae) — marked the last straw to the decades-old exclusivity culture within the media industry. With TV5 ready to reinstate their entertainment division from the invincible monopoly of GMA, Game Changer Benitez decided to save the talents from their irrelevance.

The talents under his media company came mostly from Sgt. Esguerra and a few from Kamuning; the directors involved in this new production firm include veterans like Johnny Manahan, Edgar Mortiz and Gina Alajar.


The First Programs

BLP’s first programs under the arrangement with the Reliance Network began to air on October 18, 2020, with Sunday Noontime Live, I Got You (starring Beauty Gonzales, RK Bagatsing and Jane Oineza) and Sunday ‘Kada (the successor to Banana). However, they all ended last January 17 when the talents of SNL like Piolo Pascual and Maja Salvador crawled back to their mother network.

The following day (October 19), Lunch Out Loud, spearheaded by first-time father Billy Crawford after defecting with permission from the “Sinful” Network, premiered and became the striving competitor to Eat Bulaga. On Saturday afternoons since October 24, Rated Korina and the sitcom, Oh My Dad! (starring Ian Veneracion) came on the air.

The blocktimers’ advertisements come mostly from ACS Manufacturing Corporation (yeah, that advertiser most popularly associated with Manila Broadcasting Company’s radio stations) — more specifically from Charm Fabric Conditioner (which you are probably under LSS in their jingle) and Pride Fabric Conditioner Sakura Blossom.

Announcements in the Works, Materialization in the Doubts

Love on The Move was supposed to start last February 7 but the agreement to cover the 26-year-old Sunday noontime musical variety show and FPJ Classics block took effect two weeks ago as BLP became a co-distributor to the fallen giant-turned-content distributor. The Spotlight and Mr. M Show are also on the roster of the upcoming shows on TV5 this 2021 but are facing the same fate of non-materialization.

Social media rumors have it that Sunday ‘Kada has just reportedly finished filming in Boracay for their second season but the airing is another question.


Another reason for striving

Other than the heavily-defined affinity between South Triangle and the reach, some blamed the financial woes of the production company over their first Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry, Magikland.

Named after the theme park in Silay, Negros Occidental (where Albee used to serve) and a spiritual nod to the 1996 film Magic Temple, Magikland took three years to complete. The production process hindered due to the demise of its producer, Peque Gallaga, and the pandemic’s impact on cinema that forces all MMFF entries to be streamed online via Upstream. Despite reaping lower returns than expected, it garnered six awards (Best Musical Score, Best Visual Effects, Best Production Design, Best Virtual Float, FPJ Memorial Award and Special Jury Prize for Gallaga).

There are four films to be reportedly produced and co-produced this year. The aforementioned criticism and this kakistocracy’s questionable handling of the pandemic by permitting movie houses to open up to half of the normal capacity while the virus’ new contagious variant emerges and the inoculation against COVID scarce with the enforced preference of a brand of such a jab with contentious efficacy rate, BLP might wind up faster.


This fledgling TV production and distribution company would’ve been prosperous or last longer had the pandemic not happen or be as severe as is today. But then it happened, they should’ve been really careful in making financial decisions and we can’t blame them due to the reach and recognition factor.

Don’t get it wrong, it’s better to seize the opportunity when TV5 made a radical programming strategy rather than wait for their original home network to come back (if ever) or that newly-crowned media giant who waits for the ex-rival to fall, plays them too safely and creates their new programs with mediocre quality.

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Photo courtesy of Brightlight Productions / PhilNews.PH

GTV: Kamuning Network’s Attempt at Killing TV5’s Momentum?

(Updated: February 21, 2021 @ 11:51)

[REQUESTED by Inna Kim]

DROPPING THE N. In two days, GMA News TV is dropping the news after the ten-year-old experiment to become GTV.

EARLIER THIS MONTH, we tackled the holistic reforms needed for 2021 for the now-invincible-and-inevitably-the-monopolistic media giant GMA Network. One of them happened to be about GMA News TV, who would’ve turned a decade old next week. However, two days from now, they will be known as GTV.

Not to be confused with the original identity of People’s Television (Channel 4) from 1974 to 1980, Government Television, the “G” in GMA’s GTV is said to be “Good.” (Welp! There goes the conspiracy nuts connecting the dots.)

Indeed, this rebranding move is a good thing (but not so best) as they learned the lessons from their humiliations arising from the coverage response on Supertyphoon Rolly in November. The acquisition of the remainder of NCAA’s broadcasting deal on that same month proves that the pressure on Kamuning by the pro-reformist faction and independent media enthusiasts (like yours truly) to change the name of this specific channel has clearly paid off.

All current GMA News TV shows and entertainment blocks will carry over into the new channel branding effective Monday, February 22.

Just this week, they are under negotiations to place the semi-pro Philippine Super Liga (PSL) from TV5’s hands as Reliance becomes the new home for the now-professional Premier Volleyball League (PVL), in which GNTV once was the broadcaster as Shakey’s V-League.

Brewing soon is another high-quality drama to be debuted under the new channel rebrand is called Heartful Cafe (under GMA Entertainment Group, not Public Affairs as initially presumed). Other new programs and broadcast rights under this new channel will be provided on their social media handles.

Now for the real reason…

Based on the premise of this title, will GMA’s rebranding of its sister channel on UHF Channel 27 (or the primary digital subchannel) kill TV5’s momentum? Without a shock, yes primarily because of the overall reach factor. Being a subsidiary of GMA Network, GTV doesn’t affect their perpetual streak of quasi-passive revenue generation amidst the external environment and the new and reviving rival’s impulsive decisions (especially with the chaotic programming grid in the primetime).

Die-hard Kapuso fanatics are definitely unfazed, whether they have their Affordabox or their new mobile counterpart, GMA Now, installed or not. In the ratings, where AGB Nielsen is the only such firm in the country to conduct such metrics, GMA or GNTV virtually dominated the Top 20 since their first day as the truly No. 1 network (i.e. since May 6, 2020) but the numbers are barely increasing. In the resumption of their afternoon drama on the mother channel this year, their ratings were up by an average of 2 percentage points from the moment the South Triangle had the head-to-head competition before the pandemic stopped the tapings and the loss of the trailblazer. In the end, ratings didn’t matter for Kamuning now; they care about the audience share (a lion’s share) that becomes a factor of their expected, bottomless bottom line.

Whatever happens on GTV next week and the coming months, we hope they provide what is for the “good” of the viewers. Good luck anyway!

GTV is available on local cable/satellite operators and free-to-air (on analog and on digital) channels.

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Photo courtesy of GMA Network Inc.

Timow’s QuOP No. 15 | A Different Kind of Love

[AUTHOR’S WARNING: This blog post is NOT for the ABC readers: those who are aromantic, broken-hearted and/or close-minded.]


Today, it’s all about romance and love. For the second year in a row due to the pandemic, you might go on a date right at your home and watch your favorite romantic movies — it doesn’t matter if it’s serious or cheesy.

However, for this year, we will tackle a different kind of love. A love that can shock you at first or you have seen it a few times but in a different form: boy’s love.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF LOVE. This screengrab may be seen as familiar to you — it’s a TV series from Thailand called “2Gether.” For the newcomers, this is not your ordinary series because of the genre but why such a genre may not materialize here anytime soon?

Boys Love (BL) or yaois is a genre derived from the Japanese in the 1970s (literal translation: climaxless, pointless and meaningless) where two male characters expose their homoerotic relationships. The acronymous term BL didn’t popularize until 1994 (what a surprise, my birth year). I did not encounter that particular genre until I stumbled upon DeviantArt during my teen years (the late 2000s to early 2010s) where male characters of different shows (Western or anime) strut their mind-boggling love affair. (Same applies to fan fiction websites.)

Because of the longest time lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 11 months on and counting, you might have binge-watched the series “2Gether” from Thailand or some similar series on iflix or Netflix.

However, we do have our own versions that transpired last year. You may know the online series Gaya sa Pelikula and if you were lucky to purchase a digital ticket for the digitally-modified Metro Manila Film Festival during the preceding holiday season, you may recognize the film The Boy Foretold by the Stars.

However, have we done this on our local TV airwaves like on GMMTV? We have or we had; that’s on you to decide.

My Extraordinary, starring Darwin Yu and Enzo Santiago, aired just one episode on TV5 on one Sunday late night in September. However, it pulled out afterward never to be seen again on free-to-air TV and would rather continue the series on AsterisK Entertainment’s YouTube channel and on Cignal.

A feature by Chuck Smith on CNN Philippines last April proved difficult to get the BL series into the mainstream: it’s the traditionally conservative and “restorative” culture and issues with MTRCB. In that particular piece, the culture of our common teleseryes focuses at the end — on rebuilding the family and oneself — while BL dramas focused on the process of self-journey and coming-of-age.

Even if this hidebound paradigm gets in the way, it won’t be that easy to get through it as the network executives and the production company concerned have their mutual and final say.

In this case, GMA, despite their uninhibited creative juices now, can pitch their own BL series whatever they want, whenever they want. However, they won’t be able to do so now due to the list of stalled shows waiting to be produced with possibility and permission. (Moreover, DON’T EVEN EXPECT government-owned and religious-owned networks to produce a program in this fledgling kind!)

In short, free-to-air broadcasts and traditional theatrical releases are conservative to handle (therefore, a no-no); cable/satellite channels are pretty much in the middle but online is the most liberated and the most uninhibited platform.

What do you think about the BL series? Should it prosper or should it not?

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Photo courtesy of CNN Philippines / GMMTV

[The New PHTV Order] GMA Network Still Requires a Major Change of Heart

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is the second of the two-part series. Although January is behind us, the plan for 2021 remains.]

THE OLD ORDER of things has passed away and Philippine television is no exception.

After the decades of heated head-to-head rivalry in the South Triangle of Quezon City, they concluded not just from a planned fall of a pioneering giant but also by a global pandemic.

With the New Normal now adapted, we also witnessed a New Landscape of this traditional media. It will be a test between the triumphant giant, GMA and the momentum-gaining challenger, TV5.

In the second part, we will tackle the Kapuso Network — fittingly right in the month of hearts — but did they win the hearts of the public as they are finally earned the No. 1 spot? Let’s find out.