Opinion

[#PHTV68/#100YOBPH] What If: Marcos’ Martial Law Wasn’t That Much Draconian to the Philippine TV Landscape?


[Requested by MJH but modified]

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This post officially kicks off our year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of broadcasting in the Philippines (#100YOBPH). This is an alternate history post similar to the one I wrote last December; if you have any additional thoughts, please leave a comment here or on our Discord server.]

WHEN I ASK you about Marcos’ Martial Law and the media, what comes to mind?

The military’s issuance of “cease and desist” orders. Raids and padlocks of media entities were deemed to be “enemies of the state.” Imposition of strict censorship on the rest. Their tape records before 1972 being burned and reused.

From 1972 to 1986, the Network from Bohol Avenue was seized and the frequency was given to his crony, Roberto Benedicto, in addition to KBS 9 and IBC 13. Don’t get us wrong, your parents and grandparents would remember watching those channels for Big Ike’s Happening… Now!, Champoy, Iskul Bukol and T.O.D.A.S.

During the Martial Law era, Channel 4 became a more successful government-owned and controlled television network, with a pro-sitting administration editorial slant that lives on today on their current tenant, PTV.

RBS 7 resumed broadcasting before the end of 1972, after the government granted permits, and was later renamed GMA; a public service program that debuted during that period continued to live on today.

ABC 5 didn’t return to the airwaves until 1992, but it was no longer under the previous management; MBC 11, on the other hand, never recovered the frequency.

Despite the end of the dictatorship, the legacy he left on the media industry lives on today, thanks to the formation of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) in 1973 and the reorganization of the nation’s censorship board, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), in 1985.

But can anyone imagine if the Marcosian era didn’t intervene such harshly?

The following content in italics represents the historical facts or in the Real-Earth Timeline (RET); the rest are made in the Alternate Earth Timeline (AET). (more…)

QuOP No. 18: Mid-October Major Announcement


TWO WEEKS ago, I had my second COVID-19 vaccine in my hometown (City of San Fernando, Pampanga).

It was purely Sinopharm — yes, that vaccine brand that President Duterte, the Presidential Security Group (PSG) and Mon Tulfo have taken before others.

I was supposed to get Moderna but you know, the national government preferred non-cancelable deals with Chinese-made vaccines since the outgoing President continues to adulate on to China right from the very beginning of his administration.

At the start of this year, my sister asked me to sign a waiver about the specific brand and sent it back for confirmation. She works on a government-owned bank — a frontline worker — but her work is situated in Malolos, Bulacan. Thus, she has to commute (now drive) between two provinces with two different community quarantine statuses.

Throughout that waiting period, a few of her fellow employees have been tested positive for COVID but luckily, she’s tested negative after being tagged as a close contact. Knowing that she couldn’t take it long before she will be infected with COVID, she had no choice but to take the vaccine that’s available — Sinovac.

My parents, who are senior citizens, are inoculated with AstraZeneca last May and completed the second dose in July.

The pressure was on me after her first dose in mid-August; I was hesitant, but I had no choice because almost everyone in my nuclear family (except my special brother who shouldn’t go outside) has had at least one jab and is very close in socialization. My sister and I share one comorbidity: we both had asthma as children, so we are classified as A3 priority.

On September 2, I got my first shot at Heroes’ Hall of that particular, available brand of vaccine on my dominant arm (i.e. the left). I felt no fever as I took paracetamol right away and no other side effects happened except the pain in the injection area.

I returned to that facility as scheduled on September 29 for my second dose (this time on the right arm). Immediately after the completing shot, my blood pressure shot high: 150/60 but my dad or mom (who is a nurse) said that it would go back to its normal range in a short while.

FACE REVEAL?. Yes, that’s me in an “Among Us”-like face shield last September 29, 2021, after I got my second dose of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine. The frame of my glasses was replaced after the completing shot.

As I went home from the vaccination center, my glasses slipped out as I bow deeply and the black plastic frame broke; my glasses were loose and I went to the optometrist downtown to replace them with a silver metal frame.

After two weeks of the second shot, most medical authorities would be classified as “fully protected” and I’m one of them but because of the brand, I’ll likely wait for another six months for a booster shot to avoid dominant variants like Delta.

Nevertheless, I was glad that I was one of at least 21 million Filipinos (at that time) who are fully protected against any severity from the original strain of COVID-19.

Please, dear Turfers, #GetVaccinated.

OK, enough with the personal side of history and public service announcements (PSAs), please jump in for the upcoming announcements.

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Is It Time for a Community Radio in the Metro?


[AUTHOR’S NOTE: My proposed post was supposed to be about Earth Day but I decided to scrap it and replace it with something more interesting as a result of the circumstances within my Tambayan recently. Shoutout to the people described or directly mentioned in this post.]

IN 2017 — 3 years B.C. (Before COVID) — in one of my former PH media enthusiasts groups on Facebook, some of the members there posted about two suspicious radio stations in the Metro, namely Radyo Kontra Droga and RKW. They posted over the pictures and screenshots without proper licenses and recognition from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

One of the influential members (who would become an admin later) said that instead of picking obsessively over the two pirate stations, why can’t they set up a community radio?

I was initially reluctant although I chose FM over AM due to the clarity and quality of sound and reach it delivers yet every frequency in the FM in the Metro — 26 of them (from 87.5 to 107.5 in 0.8 MHz spacing) — was full. Even though I formally left that group at the turn of the decade, I tended to forget about community radio and began to think of what would happen to 101.9 FM when Mother Ignacia lost by premeditative, personal vendetta by the President.

It happened. That frequency has been recalled and still up for grabs (awaiting the final decision from NTC) while few of its regional counterparts were acquired by new owners. In addition to four companies that would seek expansion and/or transfer back in October last year, this could be a golden opportunity for community broadcasting.

After that blog post, two incidents within my Tambayan group broke out over the same topic. The first incident happened when one of my moderators made a stirring comment on the Davao City government taking over 87.5 FM from the Philippine Broadcasting Service (PBS) to create the Davao City Disaster Radio (DXQQ-FM). In the second incident, the same mod made a stirring comment that one person who grew up with the community radio (not from Davao) answered back.

With all that happened, it became a last straw. It’s time to raise the question: Can Metro Manila get such a unique radio station?

How to define Community Radio?

Community radio, as said on the tin, is a radio service that operates and serves in the interest of their community. It’s not under the affiliation of or set up as a commercial entity. It’s different from campus radio stations like Radyo Katipunan 87.9 and DZUP.

Secondly, community radio should devote most airtime exclusively to community programming. Radyo Natin Network, which is owned by the Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC), may be a popular example but effectively, it’s not that close in terms of this criteria wherein 42% of their broadcast day (7.5 hours out of 18 common hours on weekdays) are dedicated to local programming.

Lastly, community radio should not be dictated by any level of government or its agency. Think of it like a community pantry, which is sprouting recently, but over the programming content. Owning is fine just like the National Nutrition Council’s Nutriskwela Community Radio but not supplying wholly. For those who want to tune in to government-owned media entities, you already got PBS (RP1, RP2, FM1 and FM2) for that. Historically, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) used to own DWAN 1206 but lasted for almost three years (2007-10). The station used to provide mostly traffic-related information (e.g. traffic updates, safety tips); it did not constitute a definition of community radio.

Challenges

The most challenging obstacle in setting up a Metro community radio is funding and its sustainability. It needs millions to pool capital — for physical facilities like the studios, transmitter, acoustic soundproofing, control panels, microphones and the like — and more for paying mandatory fees for continuing operations and of course, utilities, maintenance and salaries. They would also need a broadcast franchise from Congress; the challenge for that is to influence the solons. Since community broadcasters are generally non-profit, they have to set up a bank account for contributions and donations to survive.

Experience in radio broadcasting is another story; some have substantial, some were novices. For those who are eager to get started after graduating with a degree of Mass Communication, you might need some training from experts. In the NCR+ (Greater Manila Area), you can ask Marlo Magtibay (a.k.a. Anime Kabayan) because of his experience on Lake City Radio 107.3 in his hometown in San Pablo, Laguna. (or any of the two from Anime Pilipinas)

The Hypothetical Programming

Suppose that 101.9 MHz is approved by the NTC for the ideal Metro Manila Community Radio, the funding is secured enough and the transmission power is lower so that it can only be reached within the exclusive bounds of the metropolis, what could its programming be? (Never mind what would be their call sign and its permanent branding. You may comment down for your proposals.)

Remember him? Ron Cruz, the master DJ behind pirate radio station Radyo Kontra Droga 98.3 FM, could have entered into the hypothetical community radio.
  • For Radyo Kontra Droga’s DJ Ron Cruz, he would transfer his famous show to there legally — at least at late night (except Friday).
  • For Ymman Jake Biaco, the penny of his thoughts would be at his service to be heard to thousands on Friday late night. For Gab Ferreras, his Sports Corner could spark an interest.
  • Should Cholo Sediaren decide to move on from Radyo Katipunan, his Pop!Corn could be heard by thousands of potential pop culture enthusiasts outside of the Ateneo campus.
  • For Ralph Abainza, his Earth Shaker could be turned into a radio program exclusively for their like-minded enthusiasts.
  • In times of calamity like floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, emergency preparedness will be prioritized over their regular programming like what DXQQ-FM is intended.

Final Thoughts

The vacant frequencies that were once owned by a major broadcast behemoth would have given rise to community broadcasters and expansion across the country, including NCR, but the current COVID surge dampened their hopes to set up. Their would-be funds for their essential assets were rechanneled to the systematic, predictable, bureaucratic, deliberate, never-improving mitigation to the pandemic.

Besides, audio streaming services like podcasts and Spotify are already here for people working flexibly when radio stations are programmed and its workforce struggled under the WFH scheme under the eternal lockdown.

Despite that, do you believe it’s time to set up a community radio for the Metro? You can answer on this running Monthly Media Insights Survey (closing this Sunday, April 25).


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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?

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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.

(more…)

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.

Will a People’s Initiative for a Broadcast Franchise Prosper?


[Requested by Charles Michael Tapuyao]

“LABAN KAPAMILYA!”

That is the battle cry of ABS-CBN supporters that continues to surge on the streets and online almost seven months after they were off the air, almost five months since Congress rejected the broadcast franchise renewal and almost two months under the new blocktime agreement with ZOE Broadcasting Network as A2Z.

But that is not enough. All they wanted is to restore to its pre-shutdown state — at least on TV (since radio could be easily taken away to new applicants).

Other than the two approaches that will end up being fruitless and dismissed as noise, another mode is made through a petition, dubbed as PIRMA Kapamilya.

The aim of PIRMA Kapamilya is to get enough signatures by the end of this year (27 days from now). Despite the negative limelight during his stint in public office, former Vice President Jejomar Binay took part.

While some are brave enough to go outside and wrestle their pen on paper, others are scared to do so because of the real concentration of political power that will lead to calculated, certain failure.

In this post, we might ask the following questions: How does the People’s Initiative work? How do some professionals see the situation? How will the remaining media outlets respond? Are there any other ways and when will they come back if ever?

 

What is the People’s Initiative?

The People’s Initiative is a broad term that is divided into classes: a mode of amending the Constitution or a mode of pushing an initiative (national or local) to become a statute of its own, aside from those passed in the traditional procedures in Congress.

To amend the Constitution, Article XVII, Section 2 provides:

Amendments to this Constitution may likewise be directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition of at least twelve per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered votes therein. No amendment under this section shall be authorized within five years following the ratification of this Constitution nor oftener than once every five years thereafter.

The Congress shall provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right.

For the legislative initiative or referendum, Article VI, Section 32 states:

The Congress shall, as early as possible, provide for a system of initiative and referendum, and the exceptions therefrom, whereby the people can directly propose and enact laws or approve or reject any act or law or part thereof passed by the Congress or local legislative body after the registration of a petition therefor signed by at least ten per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters thereof.

The enabling law is cemented and reaffirmed in Republic Act No. 6735, passed on August 4, 1989.

The Characteristics and the Process of People’s Initiative

In the present case, this is considered a national initiative. The petition must include the following (Sec. 5, RA No. 6735):

  • contents or text of the proposed law sought to be enacted, approved or rejected, amended or repealed, as the case may be
  • the proposition
  • the reason or reasons therefor;
  • that it is not one of the exceptions provided herein;
  • signatures of the petitioners or registered voters; and
  • an abstract or summary proposition in not more than one hundred (100) words which shall be legibly written or printed at the top of every page of the petition.

To get it passed, it should get a signature of 10% of registered voters nationwide, of which a part (legislative districts) must be represented at least 3%.

Within 30 days from the receipt of the petition, the Commission of Elections (COMELEC) will determine the sufficiency of the petition. If it’s sufficient, it will publish the same in Filipino and English at least twice in newspapers of general and local circulation and set the date of the initiative or referendum not be earlier than forty-five (45) but not later than ninety (90) days.

If a majority passes, it becomes a law of its own with the usual effective date (15 days after publication in the Gazette or two newspapers in general circulation). If it fails, the prevailing law maintains.

The Recent Attempt for a P.I.

The recent attempt for a People’s Initiative arose from the Million People March in August 2013, arising from the Napoles pork barrel scam bombshell report a month ago. From June to August 2014, a multisectoral alliance-driven proposition wants to criminalize pork barrel fund creation and spending. However, the Supreme Court made the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional.

Despite the unconstitutionality of both mechanisms, Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma (who lead that particular people’s initiative) reiterated the importance as members of Congress continued to enjoy other forms of discretionary funds and often, under different names.

The initiative failed to turn out because other than the lack of knowledge of the situation, some families who had children enrolled in schools under politicians’ pork-funded scholarships refused to sign the proposition. In other words, they were threatened.

 

The Effectiveness of the PIRMA Kapamilya (present) situation

Media enthusiasts (who are not network fantards or serial haters) and related professionals (e.g. electronics engineering) are divided on this matter.

Political scientists but are non-lawyers have a split opinion on the matter, even if they have otherwise convictions, but they mostly agree that it couldn’t happen with the remaining 18 months of the presidential mandate.

Those who took up law and became attorneys have doubts about the legalistic perspective of this initiative. For one, two attorney-commentators of a radio show in DWIZ 882 kHz wouldn’t see this prosper. Their main argument is that granting a broadcast franchise of a private corporation will depend exclusively on the desire of Congress. Other lawyers have seen no explicit provisions prohibiting it — meaning a potential loophole exists that would allow PIRMA Kapamilya to proceed.

 

The (Impossible) Media Coverage

Should this particular movement happen, even though it would sound surreal and impractical, it would play a role in the media coverage. We can agree that no surviving media networks would hold ever hold a marathon for this prospective initiative as it is not like in Election Day. However, each network has a different response if the PIRMA Kapamilya gets in the way:

Surviving TV networks

  • GMA, their former competitor, would be hesitant to cover; not even on GMA News TV or their news website.
  • For TV5, where a chunk of the Kapamilya talents took refuge through blocktimers, it won’t happen on the main channel but One PH would tackle it on every radio program simulcast. Their news site, InterAksyon, could cover with updates.
  • CNN Philippines, where some of their personalities used to work on ABS, could cover in certain newscasts and some programs (e.g. The Source).
  • Government media networks like PTV and IBC wouldn’t cover the matter as their newscasts favor the incumbent President and defend with all their hearts and minds. The former may have enough time but the latter cannot as it is committed to the DepEd TV distance learning program.
  • SMNI, the “enabler” media outlet behind the fall of Mother Ignacia due to the opinions and news angles against the former media giant, would not deliver it; if it did, they would comment in a pessimistic angle. Other denomination-influenced UHF networks wouldn’t care.

Radio

As we said on DWIZ 882, this will be skeptical due to the personalities, even though one displaced Kapamilya talent (Vic de Leon Lima) was there. DZRH, where Dos Por Dos is on right now, will be a 50-50. For those who are asking about DZBB 594 or Radyo 5 92.3 News FM, look above for GMA’s and TV5’s insights, respectively. Philippine Broadcasting Service (PBS) AM stations will follow PTV’s path (ignore ’em).

Social media news sites

Rappler — the closest ally of Mother Ignacia as they are one of the common critical media outlets of this incumbent administration — would be interested.

 

Another Ways or Wait until 2022

Should this prosper, there would be taking objections from lawyers and they will file petitions to the Supreme Court. Let’s face it, in the end, judicial rulings are mostly decided on technicalities and often, the influence of the appointees rather than on the spirit and sentiment based on historical facts.

Jojo Ragragio’s column on Malaya Business Insight and few members of the legal academe on Twitter thought that this particular movement would not prosper but instead use that mode to review, repeal and replace the legislation behind the weaponization: Act No. 3864, a.k.a. Radio Control Law, which was enacted in 1931 – four years before our country became the transitionary Commonwealth – that was subsequently amended in 1950.

In Congress, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman immediately filed House Bill 299 after the committee’s rejection but they need a replacement to comply with the more modern framework for frequency spectrum management. At this juncture, it will be impossible to proceed as it is not considered a priority — even if there is a congressional leadership putsch after the change of speakership from Alan Cayetano to Lord Allan Velasco — and it may not be the attention as long as the power is virtually absolute at the helm of the strongman in the Palace.

For some netizens, it was their final straw and they decided to join the organizations that advocates for a total rewrite and rectification of the Constitution where its aim is to remove the protectionist provisions (ICYDK, under the present charter, media ownership must be fully-owned and maintained by Filipino citizens and corporations) and shifting to a new form of government before they proceed with this. While it has gained momentum lately, this push might not succeed due to the remaining time left until the next election and other measures to tackle within their club.

That being said, the safest (yet disappointing) way would be to put it into the wish list (open letter) for the next presidential administration — even if a candidate wouldn’t care about the heavily-defined incident during their future campaign. We hope that whoever we choose on May 9, 2022, can hear about this on his or her maiden State of the Nation Address on July 25, 2022.


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Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN

Timow’s QuOP No. 13: Wrestling with Franchised Reality Shows


man lying down holding his mobile phone

Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

[AUTHOR’S WARNING: This post can provoke insult to certain fans of the following programs. Read at your own risk.]

THE PANDEMIC-INDUCED “eternal” lockdown makes us stir-crazy and misses the things we enjoy.

Even if you are Team Bahay (home person) pre-COVID, you would miss watching your favorite TV shows as its production (save the news) were suspended until further notice (but gradually regaining).

Hence, the spiraling effects that programs offered at the moment are significantly different than normally scheduled with some of the scheduled shows delayed by a few months to a few years or scrapped altogether.

Speaking of lockdown, I spent few months titillate and wrestle at the same time a long topic before the eternal lockdown happened: reality television. Personally speaking, I’m not into that genre as for the past decade, they put game shows to irrelevance since typical Filipino viewers are prone to emotions than to the intellect. (Well, that “dead” genre is reviving, thanks to TV5’s radical programming strategy this month in the post-ABS era of Philippine television.)

Since the start of the year, I tinkered upon the Google Docs spreadsheet of different reality TV franchises that happened into our shores and it manifested upon me that isolation-based reality shows (e.g. Survivor and Big Brother) will last longer than others internationally.

Paano mo nasabi? (How would you say that?)

 

The Data-Driven Plan

Scope, Limitation and Treatment of Data

 

Five Program Franchises

The five (5) international reality TV shows that currently airs or formerly aired on our shores.

 

I decided to delve into five (5) international reality TV program franchises that currently airs or had a Philippine version:

  • The Amazing Race (adventure, since 2001, PH version began in 2012 but ended in 2014),
  • Big Brother (isolation, since 1999, PH version began in 2005),
  • Idol (talent, since 2001, PH version began in 2006),
  • Survivor (isolation, since 1997, PH version began in 2009 but ended in 2012), and
  • The Voice (talent, since 2010, PH version began in 2013).

From them, we will get how many geographical franchises (y-axis) were broadcast in every calendar year of each franchise’s existence until 2019 (x-axis). It doesn’t matter if there are two seasons of the show in one calendar year and/or it has a spin-off; they are counted as one.

For the spreadsheet-loving nerds, click here for the Google Sheets of all five program franchises. (Sorry, it’s still in progress because I’m too busy.)

Finding the fitting model and when to stop

Since we will determine when these program franchises peak and flatten, the regression model to be used will be the bell curve model. It’s just like the epidemic curve for the goal of flattening from overloading the maximum healthcare capacity.

The specific bell curve formula will come from the first derivative of the basic sigmoid function:

1st derivative of sigmoid

When to Istahp? (The Cut-off Point)

Determining the effective end of an international program franchise is very subjective but an important matter. The best answer I could give logically is when the curve flattens as the predicted y (the number of geographical franchises ran in a particular calendar year) reaches 1.

 

The Results

The solid blue vertical line is the current year while the dashed blue horizontal line is the cut-off point.

Jotting down the data using Desmos graphing calculator, all five program franchises are past the calculated peak and thus, on the downward trend.

However, among the five, Survivor and Big Brother would last longer until the late 2030s; the two talent competitions (The Voice and Idol) will live up until within the turn of the next decade but The Amazing Race will be effective until two years.

Why?

In 2001, TAR and Idol began their journey in the United States and in the United Kingdom, respectively. The big, salient difference is TAR was too slow to go international; Idol boosted and reach its peak two years later.

The adventure show premiered on CBS on September 5, 2001 (six days before 9/11 struck) and in several instances, some of the featured places throughout its nearly two-decade run became the focal point of disasters and tragedies after that particular episode premieres (I read that from TV Tropes wherein the show is a “doom magnet”).

Their first international franchise did not take off until 2006 on AXN Asia; it didn’t reach its peak until 2012 with nine international iterations (which is the lowest of all-time among the five).

With this ongoing pandemic, this would add more insult to injury since the global aviation industry is struggling (which is a necessary component) to adapt to the new normal procedures. Psychologically speaking, potential contestants are scared to fly out.

 

Afterthought

The quantity of international franchises doesn’t always mean it’s of good quality. Other than TV ratings, there are factors that make or break the fate of a program franchise like financial sustainability (within the franchise holding network’s accounting and budgeting departments), audience criticisms (ranging from the well-reasoned and seasoned TV critics to one-sided pressure groups) and other external factors (no need to explain which one).

To the die-hard fan of The Amazing Race and admitted yourself to be delusional having the third season to happen here. Well, you are definitely right.

However, this QuOP doesn’t end here yet as there will be a follow-up on September 6 about the future of franchised programs now that the dominant, acquiring network is forced to be called — by those who wished for it — as a “has-been.”


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State of the Philippine Television Address 2020


[Requested by Zyle]

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This post is intended for the effects of the events in this year to date.]

MY DEAR READERS OF TIMOW’S TURF:

This new decade is supposed to mark the optimism of waves of the future but instead, we enter waves of the pandemic.

Noong nagsimula ang taon at ang dekada nito, ang outlook natin ay naka-focus sa uncertainty sa pagkawala ng isang malaking media conglomerate nang dahil sa marupok na ego ng isang makapangyarihang tao.

Well, nangyari na or in one police report turned into a meme, “WALA NA, FINISH NA.”

Yumanig na at nagbago ang landscape ng pambansang telebisyon.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are now in the post-Mother Ignacia era. Kung may “new normal” dahil sa pandemya, ganun din sa nasabing industriya.

Pagkatapos ng ilang dekada ng digmaan ng mga numero sa South Triangle, natigil na ang putukan, este, ang pag-crunch ng data sa Kantar and Nielsen. Sa entertainment section ng mga pahayagan at online websites ay nakapahinga din sa wakas.

The era of a three-legged stool analogy — showing their strong suits in their particular genre — is now archaic.

 

The Obstructionist Institutions to Innovation

The National Telecommunications Commission, who ordered the shutdown of ABS-CBN under the undue influence from Solicitor General Jose Calida, has yet to learn the lessons not just from the flaws of what the Lopezes did but from the Tiengs’ 11 months prior regarding the exclusivity of their own channels. Hanggang ngayon, hindi pala gumawa ng IRR o final stance tungkol sa conditional access systems (CAS).

Little did they know, the one-two punch decision creates a dilemma of whether their target date of the analog switch-off in 2023 will proceed as planned or will it be pushed back. Pero, wag kalimutan na we are the last countries in Southeast Asia to do so.

For some, you would say: “Anong punto nito kung meron namang Netflix, iflix, iWant, etc?”

While many will call you for being a “privileged” person, I cannot blame you for getting the point.

That being said, I believe that from those 12 prolonged, premeditated hearings a nd their unsurprised “cooking show” outcome plus a post-vote plan of action by the “Gang of Four” to continue their humiliation by property takeover in a Zoom meeting that was caught on the record has realized that the 18th Congress is an impediment for broadcasting innovation.

Their collective analog mindset — and the deliberate singling out — has proven to us na hindi talaga tayo handa for dissemination about digital terrestrial television. Sa palagay natin, hindi ito dadalhin ang mga isyu na nito sa mga budget interpellations against the Department of Information and Communications Technology for 2021.

 

Hesitant VHF Survivors

Hindi madali ang sumusunod sa yapak ng Dos. Habang natuto tayo sa kanilang pinakamahusay na kasanayan, wag sanang kalimutan ang leksyon mula sa kanilang mga pagkakamali.

It’s not easy to step into Channel 2’s shoes; while we learn from the best practices, we should also learn the errors of their ways.

Marami ang pagkukulang sa mga dating kalaban pero matigas pa rin ang ulo, even if we remove the major factor of this pandemic.

Sa dating karibal sa Kamuning, sila na ang may korona at advertising money bilang dominant media conglomerate pero hanggang ngayon, ang diskarte ng pananalapi at operasyon nila ay konserbatibo. In other words, they’re just complacent or playing safe until they wait for Mother Ignacia to fall to its knees.

When teleserye filming resumes with safety measures, who would benefit under the current state of the industry? Hindi po ba sila.

Noong Hunyo 26, pormal nang nag-launch ang kanilang Affordabox habang itinigil na ang pagbenta ng TV Plus na nakapagbenta ng 9 million units sa limang taon. Ang expectation ng GMA New Media nila ay 600,000 units ang ibebenta — pero dahil sa positibong reviews at dahil sa bagong features, baka sa katapusan ng taon o dalawa, aabot ng 6 million — putting a zero right after the initial figure.

It would have been better if they had launched when they got their franchise renewed three years ago. Moreso, they should have gone up the ante by establishing a full-time sports division — separate but equal status as to their respected News and Public Affairs. Yun nga lang, hindi pwede maging full-time si Chino Trinidad kasi kailangan din siyang mag-operate at mag-manage sa Pilipinas HD. If I were Kenneth Duremdes, the commissioner of MPBL, I would rule out this network as the new home for the league.

They may have been turned 70 this year (59 if on TV) but still the working axiom remains: “Once they played safe, they’ll always play safe.”

On the other hand, to the rescue si Manny V. Pangilinan para sa mga displaced talents to TV5. Let’s face it, his network is a member of KBP just like Dos was.

It sounds promising, had not for the perennial internal organizational drawbacks. Unlike GMA and its sturdy yet so stubborn pillars, the turnover in their organization chart happens more often.

Their local entertainment division, effectively dissolved in 2016, will be restored pero as one die-hard fan of Channel 5 would advise that they should hire technical crew first (e.g. electronic communications engineers, 1st class radio telephone operators) before writers.

Noong Enero, they had the honor of covering the 24th Asian Television Awards for the first time in the country as host and when he got the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Asian Television, napuno ng puntirya sa comments section ng Facebook na wala namang kinalaman sa TV o kaya’y walang ginawa ng tama sa Singko.

Now that the chapter is sealed, the mindset sa pagiging non-revenue driver ang Channel 5 must come to an end, whether he likes it or not. Kamakailan lang po, sila na ang official broadcaster ng NBA at ONE Championship.

Yun nga lang, expect grumbling of certain factions of the existing solid Kapatid: those who wanted AniMEGA to return, those who wanted the PBA to resume, those who are tuning to Idol Raffy Tulfo and two fans who want The Amazing Race Philippines to have a third season.

I believe they will do better and learn from that after that scrounging criticisms. Boss MVP, the whole Philippine TV community is now rooting for you.

Last but not the least, aminado ni Krizette Laureta Chu (isa sa mga constructive supporters ng administrasyon) na mahusay ang mga writers ng Dos na pwedeng maisalba ang PTV mula sa pagiging propaganda machine ng Palasyo for almost half a century. Ito ang dapat na ginawa noong unang SONA niya para maging editorially independent at impartial. Pagkatapos ng apat na taon sa Kwatro, na-improve po ba ang overall image ng PTV o the same pa rin?

No wonder, Mr. Jules Guiang snapped out and expose the double standards on the government channel he was working on. He unravelled the truth on the broken system-cum-real company culture in Vasra that ran nearly half a century. Mr. Guiang, your honesty and bravery has inspired us.

If PTV deserved this kind of audacity, then don’t get me started on IBC 13.

 

Educational TV

Ang kasalukuyang pandemya’y apektado ang edukasyon. With the school year starting in our country by the near end of this month, blended learning will be the mode of public instruction, according to the Department of Education, so that no learners are left behind. However, the survey says otherwise: modular learning.

We all know the Knowledge Channel was two decades ahead of its time and they are compliant with the prescribed curriculum. However, some of you have sown to disdain for connecting the dots despite that you have watched them (hypocritically) at least once during your childhood days. Few of you were taught to despise because of your implanted brand hatred since birth.

Well, then, last June, I published about the prospects of IBC 13 into a full-time educational channel — from what PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar initially proposed — if the promised privatization of that channel fails to speed up.

The pace of my post was set for a year but we are rushing in a couple of weeks until classes begin. We are not certain if their endeavor will be successful considering the failing infrastructure and financial standing of the tail-end of the VHF spectrum.

Noong Hunyo, pagkatapos ng 28 taon, nagpaalam na ang El Shaddai sa Trese — it was really a religious programming institution.

While The Manila Times loves to jab at ABS even after the media conglomerate’s “death,” they left out the “real opposite” that is currently running at low-power and neglected, which most of us barely even notice. Since two weeks ago, Hataw Tabloid published an ongoing series by Ms. Rose Novenario calling the management in Capitol Hills (no longer in Old Balara) as “Mega web of corruption” and she is very doubtful if this opportunity will materialize and prosper.

But I digress, the people who benefit from this are those who have that channel on Cignal or your provincial cable. If you have a digital TV box, needless to say, you might not get IBC but instead, you’ll get Solar Learning, which is on the test broadcast.

 

Eyes on 2021 and Beyond

The frequencies of VHF Channel 2 and UHF 23 in the Metro might be ready for auction to “worthy applicants.”

Sabi ng isang business report ng the Philippine Daily Inquirer, mga 6 hanggang 12 buwan ang kailangan bago maghanap ng bagong may-ari ng frequency.

Dalawang buwan bago natigil ang ere ng Dos at Bente-Tres, nailantad ang expose mula sa isang AM radio commentator (hindi po galing DZMM) na “done deal” ang kapalaran sa Mother Ignacia at ibibigay kung sino sa mga matalik na kaibigan ng nakaupo sa Malacanang.

Kung ibibigay yan, lalo lang iikli ang waiting time like negotiating with a fixer. If that is true, then, well, so much for their “law is law” mantra.

When it’s done, will they have the same audience impact as the former tenant has performed for almost 34 years? The answer is “We do not know. We will all see.” Less than two years may be considered a short time but such amount of time is a pretty big deal to watch out for.

If ABS-CBN finally gets a franchise under the next presidential administration (at least, H2 2022), Mother Ignacia might have to wait until the new holder of the franchise of Channel 2 expires or fold up after suffering losses or voluntarily cede the frequency to its pre-2020 state. That’s a three-way road they will encounter. Picking up the pieces is another story.

As former ANC boss, Jing Magsaysay, best puts out: Content creation is a whole different ball game.

As of this moment, the remaining drama units of Dos are now pitching their products to the former rivals — financially-healthy man o “walking dead.” Whatever the fate might be, best of luck and tuloy po ang pagbabantay.

I am through, thank you. Have a good day.


 

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The Possible Next Steps for ABS-CBN


[REQUESTED BY Zyle]

abs-cbn-broadcasting-center

The transmitting tower (right) of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Centre in Mother Ignacia has been off for 65 days, as of this publication. The main question is: When will it be back on?

TWO MONTHS ON (and four days) since Channel 2 — and 23 — was off the air has triggered the consequential domino effect.

While losing a major player may not be affected by those who have no love lost due to their solid conviction of “making the Philippines great again”, those who served in the advertising industry are. Also, it has affected the job prospects not just for Mass Communication graduates but also for electronics communications engineers (ECEs).

Like what the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas’ president Jun Nicdao feared, this shutdown stalls the overall progress of digital terrestrial television. The National Telecommunications Commission, who issued the two cease-and-desist orders, will face a dilemma on whether the national analog switch-off in 2023 will proceed as planned or will push back sometime later. Neither the concerned agency nor its parent department, the Department of Information and Communications Technology knew that we are the last country in Southeast Asia to transition to digital terrestrial television.

In one of ABS’ group of companies, ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. is losing out since they rely on their sister companies’ profits to stay afloat. Other than the losing sources of revenue to alleviate this pandemic, this will put their Bantay Bata 163 hotline at risk of discontinuing operation after 23 years and it might be relinquished to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

An Esquire article published a week ago mentioned that its employees are allowed to transfer to other networks. It notes that the management will not be held to the non-compete clause in their work contracts. With three weeks until the ax, the days of being one of the best employers in the country will be over.

For the (entertainment) talents, their exclusive contracts got suspended from this lingering controversy, in addition to project abeyances. One time, comedian Pokwang played as the contestant on Bawal Judgmental on Eat Bulaga. While netizens think this is a sign of her move to the then-rival-for-now-dominant network, she has proper permission and the show is actually produced by TAPE and not by GMA.

The 12 prolonged, dramatic House hearings over the franchise renewal, spearheaded by ringmaster Deputy Speaker Rep. Rodante Marcoleta and company, has come to a close. For Speaker Alan Cayetano, he wished that all hearings on granting individual broadcast franchises be as “exhaustive” as this one.

THE JOINT COMMITTEE MEMBERS WILL DECIDE ITS FATE.

But after this — and if they rejected their franchise renewal — what will be the next possible steps?

  • This coming Monday (July 13), the Supreme Court will hear the network against the NTC on why they got the cease and desist order when other broadcasting and telecommunication entities who have theirs lapsed continue to serve.
  • The executives of Mother Ignacia can convince ZOE Broadcasting Network to lease the inactive Channel 11 frequency for two reasons: (1) they have more money than the former and much loyal tenant, GMA, and (2) The Kapamilya Channel is not accessible to viewers since they have to pay their monthly cable fee.

If the few options end up not in their favor, the media conglomerate can safely say that its primary operations have shifted and downscaled from radio and television to producing for streaming services (on iWant) and their newscasts into social media accounts. In other words, it’s Netflix and Rappler combined.

This means new broadcast partnerships — from UAAP to Miss Universe Organization — for the remaining networks must be made. It will never be the same as it has done for many years.

That being said, we could acclaim that we are now living in a “new normal” for the Philippine TV broadcasting industry and the hardcore demagogue apologists got what they wished.

 


Ladies and gentlemen, in a few moments, we will be on the post-Mother Ignacia phase of the Philippine broadcasting industry. Please stand by.


 

Do you have any possible next steps for Mother Ignacia? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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