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?


[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?


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?


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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[LGBT Month Special / Pitch] ‘Drag Race’ in the Philippines: Is This Fetch Going To Happen?

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: In honor of LGBTQIA+ Month, Timow’s Turf will publish a prominent show that you may or may not have heard of. If you’re not interested in pop culture or not comfortable about their community, you may sashay away from this post.]

I STUMBLED UPON an article from PhilStar Life last April that the Fil-Am drag queen Manila Luzon (born Karl Philip Michael Westerberg) participated in RuPaul’s Drag Race on its third season in 2011 and became a runner-up and continued to participate in two All-Stars editions. In that article, he wished that we could have our version. 

Let’s face it, we would have not realized the existence and awareness of that show without Netflix. 

In honor of a specific community’s Pride Month, we would investigate if his wish could ever be materialized.


Focus OTT-ward: Cignal Play

[Requested sporadically by Miggy Tapuyao]

AS I believe in the post one and a half weeks ago, digital terrestrial television (DTT) might become “obsolete” for some media enthusiasts if our national roll-out and switchover are completed by the end of — or realistically, beyond — 2023. In their eyes and minds, streaming — once, the future — is the now embracing as a staple home entertainment in their living quarters and the escape route for the impatient under the prolonged lockdown due to the pandemic.

For TV5, they already saw the potential back in 2019 — a year before COVID languished and the premeditated fall of the broadcast behemoth. Originally, Cignal Play was exclusive for Cignal and PLDT subscribers; today, it becomes an OTT service for everyone.

According to our Monthly Media Insight Survey (MMIS) conducted last April 19-25, Cignal Play is the third most preferred OTT/VOD streaming platform to tune or binge-watch in with 39% after Netflix (77%) and the Other One (54%).

What is Cignal Play? Is there a grace period for free access? What are their new original series in store?


The New Generation of P-Pop: The Story Behind, Beyond and Points to Raise Out

[Requested by MJH]

IN THE TURN of this decade, K-Pop seems to go up the ante like MOMOLAND, Blackpink, TWICE and the most globally-renowned of them all, BTS.

Inspired by these screams in social media by their fandoms and moots (mutuals, for short), our pop music, P-Pop, was born for the new generation amidst the accustomed marketability of classics and ballads performed by individual performers and duos.

The birth of P-Pop would be reminded by their fans that original Pilipino music (OPM) is pretty much diverse, alive and well. It will not only encourage the order to air our very own on traditional media as required by the prevailing laws and orders (most notably on EO 255, s. 1987, where at least four OPM songs must be played per broadcast hour), but it will also flourish the promotion of culture and the arts of the country.

But how did this new phase of our pop music come to be? What will be the future? What are the points of concern to consider?


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 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.


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.