Is There a Downtrend of Full Blocktime Agreements with Third-Party Broadcasters?

[Requested by Gian Paolo Dela Cruz]



THE IMBALANCED FIGURE. GMA News TV has resided on VHF Channel 11 in Metro Manila for eight years. By Tuesday, it will be moved to Channel 27.


(UPDATED, June 3, 2019)

GMA NEWS TV, for the Metro Manila viewers and its neighboring provinces, will no longer be on Channel 11.

After 14 years (eight, under the current identity), the block time agreement with ZOE Broadcasting Network (the owner of Channel 11) has ended.

Beginning Tuesday (June 4), aside from being the start of classes in public elementary and secondary schools, GMA News TV will move to Channel 27 — a  frequency held by their network’s subsidiary, Citynet Network Marketing and Productions, Inc. for 24 years would be awake from the 18 years of dormancy.

For media enthusiasts and critics, this is “long overdue,” since it was “unfair” and “imbalanced” for a major national network to operate two VHF frequencies. In the perspective of From the Tube, it is perhaps the same sentiment after his publication regarding the holding of that inactive UHF frequency almost four years ago.

However, that is not their primary reason. It had something to do with increasing lease payments for the past three years to ZOE, according to the media entity’s 2018 financial report.

Program-wise, there will be a major cleanup of their offerings after they realize that they aired non-essential programs (such as Wagas), movie blocks and home shopping.

On that day, DZBB will launch new programs for the extension of days and hours of Dobol B sa News TV (from weekday morning to daily morning and noon).

Nonetheless, this case is not new. Well, under the standpoint of viewers (fawning fans or independently thinking).

Almost exactly a year ago almost this date, Solar Entertainment’s 2nd Avenue ended their free-to-air broadcast on RJTV Channel 29. When it expired, RJTV ended its analog broadcast and resume their airing of their own programs according to their own time.

Another deal involving Solar Entertainment is RPN 9. In 2007, the network entity announced the partnership with the local cable operator and by next week, it was christened as C/S 9. In 2011, they became ETC (a specialty feminine channel) but two years later, it switched places with Solar News Channel. The deal of RPN and Solar ended in 2014.

Back to the main question: Is there really a downtrend of full block time deals with third-party broadcasters?

Well, there is.

It is based on business decisions of both parties, which in turn are based on external and internal environments (in addition to the aforementioned finances):

For one, the market segment veers away from the traditional television to video-on-demand services (e.g. Netflix, iFlix and HOOQ). Another one is the sense of urgency from respected authorities. The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has set the mandate that the digital television transition across the country must be completed by 2023.

In the current case with GMA, this should have happened and formulated their master plan a long time ago if they did not smug over their ratings and looked on the constant problem of the video output of pan-and-scan 4:3 glory.

Follow-up, though: What would happen to Channel 11 afterward?

Some say it will be rendered obsolete as GMA’s digital television broadcast will have to broadcast on UHF Channel 15 (479.143) — now under testing phase. Other reports say that the frequency will simulcast the first digital TV network, Light TV, but it was deemed one step backward.

We are not sure but we’ll see about it on Tuesday. In the meantime, rescan your devices and the TV sets.


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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / GMA Network Inc.

Why GMA No Longer Runs Any English Newscast?

[Requested by JC Domondon]

BEFORE we begin, the Turf acknowledged some readers that to watch the news today, with all the opportunistic politics to divert its main issues both here and abroad, is really depressing and can suffer irreversible consequences to your mental health.

Nonetheless, whenever you watch newscast in English, it makes your wiring on your brain hard to comprehend and your nose bleed.

At inception, English newscasts are dominant until the 1980s when they inject and integrate editions in Filipino and in regional languages. As cable television ascended in the 1990s, so are the English iterations so that free-to-air channels serve on the lower class.

As of 2018, ABS-CBN’s English news programs are on their own News Channel. TV5 has theirs on their exclusive One News Channel with The Big Story. CNN Philippines’ newscasts are primarily and purely on English until Pinky Webb and Ruth Cabal came into the scene in 2016 and integrated Filipino editions. PTV has their own News Headlines every weekday evening after the Lotto Draw. UNTV has their Why News and so has Net25’s Eagle News International.

Currently, there are three networks that don’t deliver English newscast: GMA, IBC 13 and Light Network.

On this focus, the requester asked to tackle on GMA.

When Uncle Bob founded and owned then-RBS in 1961, he himself presented the half-hour newscast until the commencement of President Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law in 1972. However, successive newscasts, despite heavy censorship and Gozon’s control, continued to be presented in English.

After the dictatorship — on May 19, 1986 — the first Filipino newscast, GMA Balita, mingled with the new English editions.

On June 1, 1998, Mike Enriquez and Vicky Morales presented late-night GMA Network News (1992) in vernacular. The weekend edition, presented by Martin Andanar and Bernadette Sembrano, followed suit.

Morales said in an interview of their news and public affairs documentary “Limang Dekada” in 2009, that in the mid-90’s it attempted to switch the newscast to Filipino and the concept was “super radical.”

At first, it was “Taglish” (a mixture of Tagalog and English) and eventually transitioned to full Filipino on September 28, 1998, with its airtime was cut to 15 minutes. It became the first Filipino language late-night television newscast and with that, their ratings fastened. ABS-CBN did not comply to competition until the year after and ABC 5 followed in 2004.

GMA, as a network, did not have any English edition newscasts until 2007 when News on Q on Channel 11, presented by Rhea Santos and Ivan Mayrina, switched the language from March 2007 as a response to News Central of Studio 23 but the experiment ended on April 2010 to compete against the then-new rival Aksyon (TV5).

On the radio side, they operated DZBB (then on 580 kHz), a news-talk station and DZXX (on 890), the first pop music station. The former shifted to 594 kHz in compliance with the Geneva Frequency Plan of 1975 while the latter moved to FM as DWLS in 1976 on 97.1 MHz. The FM radio station stayed on using the English language until 2008.

Since then, Timog Avenue no longer deliver news over the air in both modes in the said language — leaving it to online and mobile.

How come the second largest network in terms of their treasures and ratings decided not to give in to revival?

Had their own cable channel (CGMA) continued to air, they could have set up the English newscast to pit against ANC. Perhaps, with that stigma over the failed venture, they won’t do it again as social media remains on the rise and on the move.

At the pleasure of the requester, we will end the article with this meme:38478942_240308816613547_1051993050210893824_n.jpg

JC Domondon’s newser quest does not end here. He will continue…

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