Author: timowp17

Christmas in Our Hearts: The Essence of Christmas in the Radio-TV Sphere


[Requested by MJH]

IT’S EXACTLY 100 days before Christmas and by tonight, every newscaster will notify them how many days are left at the end of each program. They have not yet released their Christmas IDs until by November but surely, Christmas is closer.

Jose Mari Chan, our very Mr. Pinoy Christmas, has been busy guesting in every media outlet possible since September 1st, despite his advanced age at 76 years old. Although his popular holiday album “Christmas in Our Hearts” was released 31 years ago, it has become a melodic trademark associated with the four-month-long festive season.

The lyrics of the titular hit single are definitely not secular — that role goes to “A Perfect Christmas” — but religious.

Oh boy, there goes that ear-worming lines. Even if you remove the music, you’d still sing along as you read its lyrics. 

What role did this song’s lyrics play in today’s traditional media landscape?

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Revisiting DepEd TV


OH BOY, the country’s public school system begins its school year this Monday (September 13); it will be another school year without face-to-face interaction as COVID-19 continues to spread violently with various variants while our vaccination efforts lag. (The rest of the world is resuming face-to-face instructions with minimum health and safety protocols in place save Venezuela and us.)

Last year, parents and teachers were concerned about their children’s ability to continue their education in the face of the pandemic, as Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones desired. Furthermore, due to the President’s premeditated and petty motive, access to the most popular educational TV channel in the country was lost or limited because the company that made that channel lost its broadcast franchise.

At last, a solution was found; DepEd TV was born. 

In this blog post, we will revisit the state-sanctioned distance learning program: What went right? What went wrong? Are there any localized options?

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Can Social Media Influence the National TV Sphere?


[Requested by MJH]

WHEN PEOPLE are asked about public relations (PR), they usually have mixed feelings about them in question — whether their products or services in a firm were favorable or not — as an adage goes: “Good or bad publicity is still publicity.” 

This holds in our national television industry.

Before the Internet, the reactions to the shows and networks that had just aired were published in print (in the entertainment section in the newspapers and specialty magazines) on the next issues. Then, there was the online world; for those who remember the early days of it, PinoyExchange comes to mind, and then, Friendster.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram grew in popularity and diversity during the previous decade (the 2010s). As a result, entertainment department executives from various TV networks and program producers were urged to include their Facebook pages and other social media handles on their title cards, fearing that they would be out of touch.

In some cases, they put the official hashtags (HTs) for each episode on the title card before the commercial break or on the left side of their screens (as the right is reserved for the station logo and the MTRCB rating).

As a result, some users can respond by tweeting with the corresponding HT. In the perspective of a social media marketer (whether working for a program or a TV network), they purposefully select praise tweets either from a specific network’s brigade or a die-hard fan and dismiss negative criticisms, even constructive ones, regardless of validity and substance. Others, on the other hand, use the same official HTs to gain clout.

Nevertheless, it’s the dynamic marketing mix for the 21st-century viewer.

We are now in the 2020s; a fifth of the current century has been passed and this decade is still relatively new. We’ve seen how last year’s twin events — a major player’s fall and a global pandemic — caused significant setbacks and pains in the industry, although social media survives and becomes a tool for protest and reform.

How did the surviving Two Major players respond? Can they be influenced in the new course of television history for the better or the worse?

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[QuOP No. 17] Expanding Horizons: Can GMA Regional TV’s Newscast Beat the Former Competitor?


[AUTHOR’S NOTE: ALMOST FIVE YEARS AGO, I published a blog post about a different tug of war (which is not within the South Triangle): about the share of national and regional newscasts. In that post, Metro Manila’s happenings are integrated into the national newscast, which drew much irritation for those outside the concerned area that is not considered a big deal. I decided to revisit that post and apply it to a more concrete conjecture.]

LAST MONTH, I read a piece from Karl Aguilar (a.k.a. the Urban Roamer) on Medium about how regions of our country should be divided. Currently, we have 17 but he thought that it was arbitrary and meaningless. In that specific entry, he reimagined it based on multicultural linkages and logistics; he came up with 21.

After reading his reimagined divisions, it popped out an idea from my head: How would GMA Network expand its regional newscasts to that number? It seems that they can surpass the number of their previous competitor before their closure last year by switching the digits around.

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Your Favorite Music Radio station is heading to Mega Manila sooner than you think


FOR TWO of the committed posts this month, I have thought about two themes: seizing the opportunity and expanding horizons. 

First, the seizing the opportunity: whenever adversity strikes (whether it be a global pandemic or a fall of a prominent major player), they dust themselves off, be resourceful and go up the ante.

The second, expanding horizons: While many are climbing up from troubles, few try to go further than their former prominent holders; they are not supposed to rest on their laurels.

On this first of two distinct posts, we’re not going to tackle one of the present nationwide media conglomerates. We’re going to tackle the rising ones (which is not much recognized or not reached by at least three metropolitan areas in the country); I know I’ve done this last October but another player is grabbing the opportunity much faster among the rest that will stun some loyal radio listeners but some (including yours truly) will not found this one surprising.

In this post, we will tackle the prospects of this media entity called: Philippine Collective Media Corporation.

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[Pre-SONA Special] Can PTV really be editorially independent?


[Requested by MJH]

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: In the run-up to President Rodrigo Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, we will tackle one of the legacies between him and the media. This blog post is dedicated to Howard Johnson, a BBC correspondent in our country and Jules Guiang, who is now in Rappler.]

PLANTITO-STYLED SONA. Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte personally delivered his penultimate (5th) State of the Nation Address in Batasang Pambansa with limited attendance to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

FINALLY, the last SONA of President Rodrigo Duterte is upon us. After this, there will be no more rants that come from his bruised ego heart, right? (SPOILER: Not quite, he has more every week after this.)

His valedictory SONA will be a verdict to judge his legacy but the people had already decided before that and they knew who will succeed him for next year’s election.

Before he will deliver his last annual speech to the 18th Congress this Monday afternoon inside Batasang Pambansa, I would like to share an excerpt of his maiden SONA on July 25, 2016 (with ad-libs):

To better manage public information, a law should be passed – I’m addressing Congress– to create the People’s Broadcasting Corporation, replacing PTV-4, [applause] the government-run TV station, which now aims to replicate international government broadcasting networks.  Teams from these international news agencies — I’d like to mention those interested BBC — are set to visit the country soon to train people from government-run channels to observe. Ito ang gusto ko — tutal pera naman ng tao — to observe editorial independence through innovative programs [applause] and intelligent treatment and analysis of news reports, as well as developments of national and international significance.

The government’s Bureau of Broadcast Services, better known as the Radyo ng Bayan,  shall undergo upgrading to make it financially viable and dependable for accurate and independent, and enlightening news and commentary. Radyo ng Bayan will be integrated with the PBC.

As we are presently setting up a Presidential Communications Satellite Office in Davao City, PBC will also put up broadcast hubs in the Visayas and Mindanao. [applause] Davao City will also be the first site of the first Muslim channel, to be called Salaam Television, [applause] and the first Lumad channel. [applause]

Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte (July 25, 2016)

Well, he fulfilled about the Salaam TV which took off a year later as the People’s Television Network (PTV) digital subchannel but the Lumad channel didn’t and became a TV program. He got the Mindanao Hub at his bailiwick in Davao City — which was opened last year — became fully operational since last March. (This is going to be used as a weapon for its remaining die-hard supporters in their interpretation of his legacy.)

Legislation regarding the People’s Broadcasting Corporation remains pending in Congress. By now, the chance to make it will be slim as the 3rd Regular Session of this current Congress will have the shortest number of session days on account to the filing and campaigning of politicians for May 9, 2022.

But look at a specific passage of text earlier, what does editorial independence mean? Did they ever try to uphold it?

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For the 3rd time, PBA trounces the Olympics on TV5


The Tokyo 2020(+1) Olympics will be the bluest in history. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Games was postponed for a year and due to threats of mutating variants, no spectators — foreign or local — will be admitted to watch the action and to support their athletes. Some important traditions — from the opening, the competition proper and until the closing — are modified to prevent the spread of the virus.

NINETEEN (19) INDIVIDUALS — competing in 11 sports — form as one Team Philippines (PHI), as they aim for the first, elusive Olympic gold medal to cheer the country up in these gloomy times. 

The delayed Tokyo Olympics will finally open this Friday (July 23) amidst no spectators; albeit, preliminary competitions have started today for football and softball.

For TV5, this is the third time — fifth, if you include the Winter Games of Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018 — they acquired the broadcast rights through Dentsu. However, this has been again obscured because the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) has just tipped off its 46th season as they try to go back to normal as they can, despite the recent internal controversies and viewership dissatisfaction these past few days. 

Unlike the NBA, our most cherished domestic league seemed to disrespect or refuse to yield to the sacred period of this international multi-sporting event. (Recently, Team USA’s tune-up exhibition games have gone bonkers with some upset losses before the competition.)

According to our Monthly Media Survey conducted just last week, the respondents were nearly unanimous (88%) that the network prioritized PBA over this two-week-long international quadrennial (in simple terms: every four years) meet.

But they are not the only league that would crash them this year, it clashed with the inaugural professional season of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) where they are playing in Ilocos Norte. Effectively, this is a juggling act for the sports department in the Reliance/Novaliches.

Before the 16 days of action in the Land of the Rising Sun officially begins, let’s take a glimpse of the two previous Summer Games TV5 has recently handled.

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Timow’s Turf Midyear Report 2021


ONE YEAR AGO today, the House of Representatives triggered a mercy shot on Mother Ignacia, completing the President’s premeditated plot that was four years in the making. The repercussions triggered around the national TV industry amidst the global pandemic. 

For GMA Network, it’s given them inevitable crowning glory and a free pass.

For TV5, it triggered the execution of revival of local entertainment after four years.

For CNN Philippines, it signaled a pivotal moment for aiming for serious, in-depth news and current affairs.

For the state-owned and controlled media entities (PTV and IBC), an urge to change their paradigms and compete with them. 

But did it work out well?

We are now past the midpoint of 2021 — the first full year without the trailblazer, a time to restore from the effects of the pandemic and a resolution to adapt to better normal and reformation of their respective image. 

For the TV industry, is there life after Mother Ignacia? If so, how would we rate them?

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The Disney+ Effect: Will This “Magic” Happen Here Domestically?


[Requested by MJH]

Disney+ is coming to the Philippines but when?

A BIT MORE than three months from now (October 1, 2021), a part of our childhood will be fading away and marching into memory. 

On this day, Disney Channel Asia and other Walt Disney Company’s cable channels — including Channel V, Fox Networks Asia and National Geographic — in Southeast Asia will cease operations.

This business decision was announced to focus on the burgeoning rise of the Disney+ platform (wherein I made it as an exemplifying case of opening the economy to foreign investments as one of the radical and persistent lessons from 2020). 

This prevailing change of business model is known to most of us as “cord-cutting” — a trend that is rolled over from the late 2010s. I wrote it back in 2018 for our domestic counterparts and recently, at least one prominent anime blogger made a lamentation post on one of its channels and made a “what could have happened” scenario.

What is Disney+?

Launched in November 2019, Disney+ is an over-the-top (OTT) video streaming platform that was owned and operated by the Walt Disney Company. The service primarily distributes films and television series produced by Disney, with dedicated content hubs for Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and Star (for us) All the content aired from the soon-to-be-obsolete platform will be migrated there.

The present COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the doors of cinemas and people to stay home, pushed the live-action remake of Mulan and other Disney films that follow — intended for theatrical releases — exclusively on this specific platform. With that, from 10 million users that signed up during their first day, it accelerated to more than tenfold to 103.6 million (as of April 3, 2021).

This year, Disney+ is penetrating the Southeast Asian markets with Singapore getting its taste of the experience through the partnership with StarHub last February, followed by its neighbor Malaysia last June 1 (thru Astro and Hotstar). Tomorrow, it will be Thailand’s turn (thru Hotstar and AIS) to stream.

Before the cable closure, we hoped that Disney+ Hotstar will roll in our shores to avoid a gap. Streaming migrants, especially Disney fans and followers by heart, are looking forward to this.

The Disney+ effect is applied for entertainment channels — not cable news just yet and don’t expect CNN to pull the plug on their cable just because CNN+ is still in the works.

Could the Effect Be Replicated Domestically?

As of this publication so far, I have not seen any of our big-time entertainment companies (that are NOT actively involved with free-to-air broadcasting operations) — other than the very obvious — following the Disney approach.

Doing so now can impact the revenue generation of the whole company. We’ve already seen what happened over one entity in South Triangle last year. It’s bloody, unstable, and unrecognizable despite their OTT service being released a decade before their core component business was lost. It’s better to wait for a year or two for that new venture and determine if it will outgrow over the accustomed and prominent segments before throwing out the irredeemable.

But if we could get the next entity after that, I believe it would be Viva Entertainment since they have their video-on-demand platform, Vivamax. In return, they gave up K Movies Pinoy this year and I wouldn’t be shocked if Pinoy Box Office (PBO) and their cable channel, Viva TV, would most likely get their cords cut. The current partnerships with Celestial Movies and MVP’s media group will remain until the boss (Vic del Rosario) changes his mind and see their prospective outlooks as no longer feasible.


If not Viva Entertainment, which entertainment company would manifest the Disney+ Effect? Tell us in the comments below. 


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The Turf’s Thoughts on ex-P-Noy’s Passing


Rest well, statesman.

AS YOU HAVE heard and confirmed from this morning, former President Benigno S. Aquino III has passed away; he was 61.

By now, this heartbreaking news has triggered a turning point — mostly, turning to a feeling of nostalgia — in dealing with the final year of his successor and what to do come May 9, 2022 (less than 11 months from now).

And I know, some of you remained indoctrinated to negate and disown him with all your hearts, minds and souls through the news feeds. You probably have demonized him by emphasizing his negative engagement during his tenure from the bus hostage in Manila to Mamasapano.

Let’s set straight about him amidst all of this. 

Former President Noynoy Aquino continued to enhance the growth of our economy after the Great Recession and put the Philippines brightly on the map as he persistently believed.

Noynoy may not have been a good legislator but as President, he signed significant, consequential pieces of legislation such as Reproductive Health Law, K-12 and the Cybercrime Prevention Act. He even signed a sin tax that imposed a levy on vices like his — cigarettes; which served as a precursor and model to other tax laws (like TRAIN and CREATE) now in force. He made a better peace process in Mindanao by replacing ARMM with the Bangsamoro Basic Law (now Bangsamoro Organic Law); he could’ve done it ahead of time had it not been for Mamasapano. He would have pushed the Freedom of Information Act — for fair and reasonable transparency in dealings with the government — but it always left out on every SONA he delivered. 

Speaking of SONA, his use of graphics — made by his social media team under his chief, Manuel L. Quezon III — was professional and awesome to behold. The Official Gazette on Facebook wouldn’t be the same without his team. 

Many of you have remarked on him for immaturity — primarily due to finger-pointing his predecessor for the faults that he had inherited. Unlike the ruling incumbent, he knew how to behave with other heads of states and governments and earned much respect from the international community. If you want proof, look at the time when we hosted APEC Summit on his final full calendar year (2015).

It was he who established the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases in 2014. It was intended to monitor and prevent, at that time, Ebola and MERS-CoV from entering our shores; it was successful and more respectable than the present composition and their current handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lastly, if any positive attribution can we agree about him on, it’s about dealing the sovereignty in our territorial waters against a hegemonic, trying-hard superpower. He sent the claims to an international court and we won. The lesson from that is we must uphold it and go beyond.

During his six years, our news coverage was not as tumultuous as we have now. His spokespersons didn’t gaslight or spin every day so that Joseph Morong wouldn’t have a problem crunching bullet points with it. Given the environs of this blog, the national television industry under his watch was very peaceful: less intervention, no major player shutdown (that he didn’t like) and manageable dealing of chaos within and without the walls of the networks.

If you’re not convinced of what I’ve written, you would probably admit this: Your political worldviews and principles — no matter where you’re with him or against him back then — would not be formed and probably solidified without him.

Here at Timow’s Turf, I joined with the rest of the Filipino people in expressing sincere condolences to the Aquino family in these times.