[Requested by Gian Paolo Dela Cruz]
(UPDATED, June 3, 2019)
GMA NEWS TV, for the Metro Manila viewers and its neighboring provinces, will no longer be on Channel 11.
After 14 years (eight, under the current identity), the block time agreement with ZOE Broadcasting Network (the owner of Channel 11) has ended.
Beginning Tuesday (June 4), aside from being the start of classes in public elementary and secondary schools, GMA News TV will move to Channel 27 — a frequency held by their network’s subsidiary, Citynet Network Marketing and Productions, Inc. for 24 years would be awake from the 18 years of dormancy.
For media enthusiasts and critics, this is “long overdue,” since it was “unfair” and “imbalanced” for a major national network to operate two VHF frequencies. In the perspective of From the Tube, it is perhaps the same sentiment after his publication regarding the holding of that inactive UHF frequency almost four years ago.
However, that is not their primary reason. It had something to do with increasing lease payments for the past three years to ZOE, according to the media entity’s 2018 financial report.
Program-wise, there will be a major cleanup of their offerings after they realize that they aired non-essential programs (such as Wagas), movie blocks and home shopping.
On that day, DZBB will launch new programs for the extension of days and hours of Dobol B sa News TV (from weekday morning to daily morning and noon).
Nonetheless, this case is not new. Well, under the standpoint of viewers (fawning fans or independently thinking).
Almost exactly a year ago almost this date, Solar Entertainment’s 2nd Avenue ended their free-to-air broadcast on RJTV Channel 29. When it expired, RJTV ended its analog broadcast and resume their airing of their own programs according to their own time.
Another deal involving Solar Entertainment is RPN 9. In 2007, the network entity announced the partnership with the local cable operator and by next week, it was christened as C/S 9. In 2011, they became ETC (a specialty feminine channel) but two years later, it switched places with Solar News Channel. The deal of RPN and Solar ended in 2014.
Back to the main question: Is there really a downtrend of full block time deals with third-party broadcasters?
Well, there is.
It is based on business decisions of both parties, which in turn are based on external and internal environments (in addition to the aforementioned finances):
For one, the market segment veers away from the traditional television to video-on-demand services (e.g. Netflix, iFlix and HOOQ). Another one is the sense of urgency from respected authorities. The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has set the mandate that the digital television transition across the country must be completed by 2023.
In the current case with GMA, this should have happened and formulated their master plan a long time ago if they did not smug over their ratings and looked on the constant problem of the video output of pan-and-scan 4:3 glory.
Follow-up, though: What would happen to Channel 11 afterward?
Some say it will be rendered obsolete as GMA’s digital television broadcast will have to broadcast on UHF Channel 15 (479.143) — now under testing phase. Other reports say that the frequency will simulcast the first digital TV network, Light TV, but it was deemed one step backward.
We are not sure but we’ll see about it on Tuesday. In the meantime, rescan your devices and the TV sets.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / GMA Network Inc.