Amy Perez

If There Is No More ABS-CBN Again (Part 2): How Will Their Competitors Respond?

[WARNING: This post contains insights that are whimsical; if you have different points, feel free to comment your differences. Read at your own risk.]


ABS-CBN Soundstage

One of the concerns if ABS-CBN stops broadcasting is how to maintain their Horizon soundstage in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan. Will they open up for their competitors to rake in potentially lost revenue?


IN THE FIRST PART, we determined the background behind their hatred against Mother Ignacia and the sacrifices and the ethical questioning behind their programming operations that lead to their success for the past 10 years.

The hanging question remains unsolved: What if the keyboard and mobile chauvinists have it their way?

The short answer: FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano would finally end at last after four years. No more It’s Showtime and no more GGV and that means, no more lollygagging from Vice Ganda.

But the long answer is somewhat complicated.

Despite the rise of video-on-demand platforms, traditional TV remains the most dominant medium for information and entertainment. In other words, the loyal Kapamilyas and even avid viewers of their selected programs will have to enter cold turkey instantly.

Without a mode of exposure, artists (especially, the fresh ones) will lose an opportunity to build their careers in their resume; as a result, there will be an oversupply.

Hundreds of exclusive artists will all be, in theory, freelancers but some personalities have backup agencies. For example, Anne Curtis, Vice Ganda and Sarah Geronimo are all VIVA talents and with that, VIVA’s boss Vic del Rosario has the right to ink a deal with any remaining network and they would still get TV exposure. Those talents who don’t have a backup agency would be out of luck unless they planned ahead to take up entrepreneurial ventures like KathNiel with their barbershop business.

Thousands of employees from news and sports departments could get reassigned or get the pink slips. Newscasts, including regional ones, would undergo as exclusively digital akin to Rappler.

Current multi-year contracts with this network when it comes to sports (e.g. MPBL, NCAA and UAAP) and entertainment (e.g. Miss Universe and PMPC Star Awards) will really need to find a new home.

Sure, there is iWant to carry over the remaining episodes and some of their finished programs are ready for syndication to their soon-to-be-former rivals.

The over-all analog switch-off might be delayed and the Full HD progress would be stalled. The network have done both feats very seriously and had they continue to operate, they will be the frontrunner in testing 4K UHD.

In terms of the TVPlus’ functionality, their encryption should come to an end and the apparatus would be treated as a regular DTV converter box or it would longer be useful.

It’s not just the TV frequencies that would be gone, so too would be their radio stations under their ownership like — in the case of Metro Manila — MOR 101.9 and DZMM 630. (No more DJ Chacha for advice and no more Dos por Dos for engaging commentaries for motorists in the afternoon rush hour.)

Other non-broadcast ventures like Star Cinema, Star Music and ABS-CBN Publishing will continue to operate. Their promotion would need communication of consent with other rival TV networks.

Their facilities outside Mother Ignacia like the new Soundstage in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan could be opened up to their competitors for rentals or for lease in order to make up the lost revenue.

Competitors’ Response

With Mother Ignacia suddenly disappeared, Kantar’s and Nielsen’s database for measuring TV ratings would change drastically and so are its entertainment reports in both broadsheets and tabloids.

Losing ABS-CBN for good (or for at least two years) can make a significant difference in the Philippine TV landscape.

Before their very eyes, what will happen to the rest of the competitors? Will they replicate the silver linings or successes in certain aspects that Mother Ignacia currently enjoys?

In a short answer, three rival entities (with four VHF channels) will have an individual, significant response; CNN Philippines is out of the picture and sectarian UHF networks are barely affected.


For the simpletons, the possibly-former rival will be the undisputed winner in the new TV ratings game as it would hold the virtual monopoly on general entertainment.

Financial-wise, this media company generated 15.236 billion pesos in revenue in 2018 (which is 38% of ABS’) with the asset composition being 62% equity compared to 42% equity from Mother Ignacia. Net income was 15.1% of revenue compared to ABS’ 4.7%.

When it comes to broadcasting divisions, GMA has almost everything that ABS-CBN has except for a full-time sports department.

As this year celebrates its  70th corporate anniversary, a grand homecoming would happen. Will GMA repatriate Ogie Alcasid, Regine Velasquez and Ryza Cenon? Assuming they have returned, will the entertainment department give the displaced talents more exposure and better roles on their upcoming projects?

In the past decade, Timog Avenue’s reality competition shows tend to be “original.” Without ABS-CBN, their mindset should be changed gradually but let’s not be surprised if they are contented with status quo.

In terms of technical aspects, GMA has a varying, inconsistent application in Full HD. While their selected shows on mobile and online are in high definition and on 16:9, TV remains at 4:3. (To borrow Nadine Lustre, ano na, 2020 na!)


The 5 Network

In the eyes of its apologists, the Network from Reliance is perceived as a safe harbor for the displaced artists just because it’s on the nearest neighboring frequency (if you skipped PTV). This would help Jane Basas’ intention of reinstating entertainment programs. The only threat to this opportunity is the ire for insistent, immature anime fans and loyal sports aficionados in social media.

For the time being, TV5 will be No. 2 when Deuce is suddenly gone since entertainment programs have to be pitched first before getting the green light.

A network fan pitched a comprehensive overhaul of Big Brother if the current right’s holder is gone. To be honest, that program franchise is nearly at the declining trend (although we can still continue) but his favorite show, The Amazing Race, is already at that stage. Maybe it’s time to get a new, rising franchise competition show like Lego Masters or to live on the legacy, The Masked Singer.

As of this publication date, the best of Face to Face is airing in the afternoon after Aksyon sa Tanghali. Without Dos, Tiyang Amy Perez can resume her stint and it should be aired on their last timeslot in the late morning so as not to offend the current iconic personality of the network, Raffy Tulfo.

While ABS-CBN currently enjoys the two aforementioned technical advancements, 5 has yet to undertake them very seriously (In addition, their channels are not scanned consistently or at all in DTV set-top boxes — not even on TVPlus).


Government-Owned Media Networks

In aggregate, PTV and IBC generate a bit more than 250 million pesos in 2018. Comparing that to ABS, they need to exert 160 times more effort to earn the level of revenue. When it comes to net income, it’s in the negative (without PCOO subsidy).

While PTV can open up commercial advertisements in the amended charter, they haven’t been that successful to keep up. Why? Public’s reputation, internal network culture, and restrictive mindset. Let’s face it, both GOCCs are not successful cash cows; they are not like PCSO or PAGCOR.

We published a proposed license fee mechanism back in 2017 to generate stable levels of revenue since home shopping, long-time infomercials, long-time blocktimers and part of Lotto games are too varying and not enough to recoup the deepest costs but we admit that it wasn’t a popular measure.

An avid viewer of this network wants to put displaced talents who happened to be a VIVA talent into the network just like in the 1990s. But with this jammed default mindset, it’s asinine, impossible, since Vasra always prioritizes the old man in Malacanang.

Special Case for IBC

Under the governance of the Kabayan’s (Noli de Castro) daughter (Kat) last year, she inherited Old Balara’s financial position under the capital deficiency territory — which means that the measured liabilities are more than its measured assets. (This is much worse than the total assets of which the majority of it is in debt that ABS currently stands.)

Throughout the period, they started to improve its programming (thanks to SMAC Television Production) but the financial performance is yet to be seen.

Last year, two Star Magic talents starred on that channel: Ritz Azul acted in the teleserye Bukas May Kahapon and Heaven Peralejo (the niece of Rica) became the co-host performer of weekend variety show SMAC Pinoy Ito. This year, Awra Briguela (Makmak of FPJAP) will join in the Gen Z-casted noontime show, Yes Yes Yow.

When it comes to Old Balara’s technical aspects in digital television, they take their tests seriously than her sister network amidst a 480i (standard definition) resolution.

That being said, for the time being, Channel 13 cannot be replicated as the #1 network as it was claimed during the first shutdown half a century ago.


Without 101.9, the newest member, DJ Chico, could come back home to Energy FM 106.7. Their loss could also mark 105.9’s opportunity, which means, it’s going to be another rebrand and reformat.

Without DZMM, Radyo Patrol reporters will be scattered to other AM radio stations or create an independent media production.

Final Thoughts

Sure, there are moral lessons in this worst-case scenario of such intervention to glean on — there is a time to swallow on one’s pride and greed.

Shutting down the major media entity’s core business segment will never be enough for their satisfaction; it’s rather a beginning set by these vengeful keyboard nationalists of a bloody battle.

For the die-hard fanatics of this embattled network, their life is now facing danger.

The financial data that was used in the calculation were from their 2018 audited financial reports that are downloadable from their investor relations page (for ABS-CBN and GMA) and from the Commission on Audit website (for PTV and IBC). The 2019 figures are not yet available as they are currently under audit.

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5 Turns 10: Is This Network Worth to Celebrate?

WHERE WERE YOU a decade ago on this week?

A lot of you would remember about the Beijing Olympics on August 8, 2008, and probably, you were watching its opening ceremony on C/S Channel 9.

Unknowingly, at past 10 p.m., one VHF channel marked its end of an era — ABC 5 — after 16 years that housed historically more memorable novelty entertainment shows than ABS-CBN and GMA.



Future PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar delivered the final news and the final remarks on Sentro before playing the farewell tribute to the tune of Leona Lewis’ “Footprints in the Sand” and the “thank you” announcement from their primary announcer, Michael Knight. There was neither a station sign-off notice nor a customary playing of Lupang Hinirang as they immediately showed a red clock counting down to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 9, 2008.

Tonyboy Cojuangco Era (2008-2010)




From that Saturday under the initial slogan, “Shake Mo TV Mo!,” the channel promised to be a big alternative to the South Triangle Duopoly.

While carrying over Shall We Dance, Kerygma TV, Light Talk, Sunday TV Mass and the Nickelodeon block from its former identity, it offered shows like Everybody Hapi, Lokomoko, Toogs, Lipgloss, Talentadong Pinoy and Juicy. Aside from television, Dream 106.7 (now Energy FM) continued to roll in the airwaves and Cignal was launched.

That era set the foundations of AniMEGA and Lourd de Veyra’s infamous, eponymous segment of Word of the Lourd segment from T.E.N.: The Evening News.

On December of that year, GMA Network filed a lawsuit for unconstitutionally dealing with Malaysian-owned Media Prima Berhad as foreign ownership in media is absolutely forbidden. Amidst this, TV5’s audience share blew out of proportion (well, according to Nielsen).

MVP Age (since 2010)

Before the turn of the decade, Media Prima’s stake was divested to Manny V. Pangilinan’s MediaQuest Holdings, Inc. and on April 2010 after the Holy Week respite, TV5 released a new brand, along with the red spherical logo, to be at par with the South Triangle Duopoly — the Kapatid network.

In that age, Aksyon became the flagship newscast and Face to Face (under Tyang Amy Perez and then, Gelli de Belen) was totally a popular daytime show for the barangay viewers, as Willing Willie by Willie Revillame was to primetime for the middle aged and senior citizens. Wattpad Presents was a hip anthology series for the youths.

On November 8, 2010, they launch an all-news channel on radio, Radyo5 92.3 News FM, and by a quarter year later, their 24-hour news channel on UHF territory, Aksyon TV 41, a week of ahead of GMA Network (despite their hype for weeks).

This era expanded their sports division with AKTV on IBC 13, which cover the Olympics for the network since 2012.

However, it was this era when the big breaks of Sharon Cuneta and late King of Comedy Dolphy in the network were considered the trigger of a spiraling, complicated toll for the network.

AKTV plugged out of IBC in May 2013. Aksyon TV ceased its round-the-clock operation. Ambitious mobile experiments, such as Balut Radio and Kristn, flopped. While the Reliance Studios was completed and moved in that same year, its public affairs programs were neglected by not having new seasons.

In 2015, they desperately tried to set up a specialty cable channel, a business news channel called Bloomberg TV Philippines and forged a joint venture with Viva Entertainment to establish Sari-Sari Channel.

In 2016, a bad impact on its news department as significant personalities, such as Andanar and Cherie Mercado, left to become part of the Duterte government and Aksyon’s regional newscasts in Visayas and Mindanao were ended.

A year after (2017), Miguel Belmonte of The Philippine Star took over to oversee the radio division but despite the list of reforms, they didn’t improve.

Several campaigns were tried to impress advertisers from cutting up big losses, other than the parent company and non-related loyal stalwarts, but almost all the time it lasted per each passing calendar year. In every trade launch, they overpromised to air non-sports programs but they were mostly broken as they continue to give in to temptation, which eventually manifested with the deal with ESPN last October and materialization two months after.


This year, their campaign is to “Get It on 5,” along with it a flattened logo to match with ESPN 5. At the next quarter, Bloomberg Philippines’ full licensing rights shrunk proportionately and integrated to a new venture, One News Channel.

Today, The 5 Network’s main channel contains movies, home shopping, kids block (Marvel, Disney and Dreamworks), Aksyon and most obviously, sports.

What do you think? Do you think it will worth it to celebrate the network or not?

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