A2Z: Will It Save ABS-CBN from the Debris?

[Requested immediately by Inna Kim]

WELCOME HOME? A2Z Channel 11 launches today, signalling a somewhat return of ABS-CBN after their franchise renewal was denied and their frequencies were revoked.

TODAY is the unique date combination that happens in our lifetime and it will never be repeated. Moreso, today marks the return of the talked-about media entity this year on free-to-air television after five months.

Well, somewhat.

The reaction to the launch of A2Z Channel 11 is generally elated since streaming online – whether on Kapamilya Online Live on YouTube or iWant-TFC – is a hassle. Of course, some people are skeptical and extremely unhappy with this news.

But how did we end up with this development?

 

The Contingency Game Plan

In 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte began to sputter constant vendetta against the media giant in public engagements for different reasons. In response, ABS-CBN and ZOE Broadcasting Network reportedly talk about the possible airtime lease if the former loses the franchise renewal, which happened last May 5 and reaffirmed exactly three months ago today when the House of Representatives rejected it.

The gossips in news sites heighten with September 28 as the launch date but missed the specific date. A few days later, Vice Ganda announced on It’s Showtime that the rumored deal will finally happen.

 

Programming on Offer

As part of the blocktime agreement, A2Z will primarily include selected ABS-CBN programs and movies. Moreover, A2Z will feature content from ZOE TV’s sister channel Light TV and content partners CBN Asia (where Superbook reboot is) and Trinity Broadcasting Network.

The noontime variety staples like It’s Showtime and ASAP Natin ‘To are airing this opening weekend. The former has to enforce a more careful approach with this brokered deal, particularly for Vice Ganda.

As of press time, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, Ang Sa Iyo ay Akin and Walang Hanggang Paalam will go on marathon airing before setting to weekday primetime.

Two programs launched in Kapamilya Channel will be included in this roster like Iba ‘Yan and Paano Kita Mapapasalamatan? Knowledge Channel programs will be included as blended learning in public schools has just formally started.

On October 26, Bagong Umaga will be a new teleserye under this arrangement.

 

#MajorDowngrade

While it is good news for most viewers who are yearning for its return, the big disappointment comes from digital terrestrial TV enthusiasts and from outside Mega Manila.

Before the materialized deal, ZOE TV was able to test digital broadcasts with a test card on digital TV receivers (e.g. TV Plus, Affordabox) but with this news, A2Z downscales to pure analog. Therefore, it is not available for wide access; you have to get cable or satellite (that includes Cignal) to reach it.

 

With Loopholes beget Violence

The quasi-return on another frequency meets with hostility from die-hard supporters not only from the former media rival but those in the government, particularly to the solons (Rep. Rodante Marcoleta and the Gang) who demolished Mother Ignacia during the 12 prolonged hearings in the House of Representatives.

Such people invoked the calls of “usufruct” or shutdown ZOE. Unknowingly, the legislative franchise of ZOE was renewed in 2016 (expiring in 2041) as it was lapsed into law without the President’s signature due to the recent change of hands. Nevertheless, they will go the extra mile by hurling the offensive against the Villanueva’s or CIBAC Partylist and convinced their peers not to vote for any of them in 2022.

 

Conclusion

With the formerly dominant media giant lost 3 billion pesos this first half of the year from the loss, this quasi-return could cushion further losses but because of the limited reach, we don’t know until the periodical financial highlights are publicly announced next year. We can’t say about the percentage that ABS and ZOE agreed on because of the non-disclosure agreement.

Former competitors in the VHF, like TV5 (where a part of Kapamilya talents are heading now in two production companies), are admitting their deficiencies from the now-former benchmark but are facing some threats before their new programs roll in a week.

In other words, will it save ABS-CBN from any prolonged damage? Well, that depends on you.


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Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN Corporation, ZOE Broadcasting Network and The Summit Express

6 comments

  1. NEWS: Magandang Buhay will join the A2Z lineup on October 19 (tomorrow as of this posting), with a new timeslot of 10:30 AM (across all available platforms), before It’s Showtime. A2Z premiere dates for Kapamilya Channel original shows Iba ‘Yan and Paano Kita Mapapasalamatan are still yet to be announced.

  2. Last November 1, A2Z Channel 11 also aired the JIL Church Worldwide Live Worship and Healing Service where it simulcasting with ZOE’s UHF-DTV station Light TV DTT Channel 33

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