Iba Yan!

A2Z: Will It Save ABS-CBN from the Debris?

[Requested immediately by Inna Kim]

WELCOME HOME? A2Z Channel 11 launches today, signalling a somewhat return of ABS-CBN after their franchise renewal was denied and their frequencies were revoked.

TODAY is the unique date combination that happens in our lifetime and it will never be repeated. Moreso, today marks the return of the talked-about media entity this year on free-to-air television after five months.

Well, somewhat.

The reaction to the launch of A2Z Channel 11 is generally elated since streaming online – whether on Kapamilya Online Live on YouTube or iWant-TFC – is a hassle. Of course, some people are skeptical and extremely unhappy with this news.

But how did we end up with this development?


The Contingency Game Plan

In 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte began to sputter constant vendetta against the media giant in public engagements for different reasons. In response, ABS-CBN and ZOE Broadcasting Network reportedly talk about the possible airtime lease if the former loses the franchise renewal, which happened last May 5 and reaffirmed exactly three months ago today when the House of Representatives rejected it.

The gossips in news sites heighten with September 28 as the launch date but missed the specific date. A few days later, Vice Ganda announced on It’s Showtime that the rumored deal will finally happen.


Programming on Offer

As part of the blocktime agreement, A2Z will primarily include selected ABS-CBN programs and movies. Moreover, A2Z will feature content from ZOE TV’s sister channel Light TV and content partners CBN Asia (where Superbook reboot is) and Trinity Broadcasting Network.

The noontime variety staples like It’s Showtime and ASAP Natin ‘To are airing this opening weekend. The former has to enforce a more careful approach with this brokered deal, particularly for Vice Ganda.

As of press time, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, Ang Sa Iyo ay Akin and Walang Hanggang Paalam will go on marathon airing before setting to weekday primetime.

Two programs launched in Kapamilya Channel will be included in this roster like Iba ‘Yan and Paano Kita Mapapasalamatan? Knowledge Channel programs will be included as blended learning in public schools has just formally started.

On October 26, Bagong Umaga will be a new teleserye under this arrangement.



While it is good news for most viewers who are yearning for its return, the big disappointment comes from digital terrestrial TV enthusiasts and from outside Mega Manila.

Before the materialized deal, ZOE TV was able to test digital broadcasts with a test card on digital TV receivers (e.g. TV Plus, Affordabox) but with this news, A2Z downscales to pure analog. Therefore, it is not available for wide access; you have to get cable or satellite (that includes Cignal) to reach it.


With Loopholes beget Violence

The quasi-return on another frequency meets with hostility from die-hard supporters not only from the former media rival but those in the government, particularly to the solons (Rep. Rodante Marcoleta and the Gang) who demolished Mother Ignacia during the 12 prolonged hearings in the House of Representatives.

Such people invoked the calls of “usufruct” or shutdown ZOE. Unknowingly, the legislative franchise of ZOE was renewed in 2016 (expiring in 2041) as it was lapsed into law without the President’s signature due to the recent change of hands. Nevertheless, they will go the extra mile by hurling the offensive against the Villanueva’s or CIBAC Partylist and convinced their peers not to vote for any of them in 2022.



With the formerly dominant media giant lost 3 billion pesos this first half of the year from the loss, this quasi-return could cushion further losses but because of the limited reach, we don’t know until the periodical financial highlights are publicly announced next year. We can’t say about the percentage that ABS and ZOE agreed on because of the non-disclosure agreement.

Former competitors in the VHF, like TV5 (where a part of Kapamilya talents are heading now in two production companies), are admitting their deficiencies from the now-former benchmark but are facing some threats before their new programs roll in a week.

In other words, will it save ABS-CBN from any prolonged damage? Well, that depends on you.

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Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN Corporation, ZOE Broadcasting Network and The Summit Express

Kapamilya Channel: Mother Ignacia’s Interim Replacement

OH, YOU SNEAK. The Kapamilya Channel will launch this Saturday (June 13) where the terrestrial broadcast of the main channel, ABS-CBN, left off before broadcast stoppage upon receiving the cease-and-desist order by the National Telecommunications Commission after their legislative franchise expired on May 5, 2020

FIVE WEEKS has passed since Channel 2 went off the air.

The Congress — who was primarily responsible for the fate of the network’s franchise renewal — has just adjourned and they won’t reconvene for their second regular session until late July.

Kapamilya fans and independent-thinking ordinary people knew the obvious politicking maneuvers. While many pointed out, making connections, to the sitting administration: few of the supporters are becoming repentant over the choices they made, a part of them pointed out in the end that there is a lack of safeguards that open up loopholes of abuse in the current form of our government.

While others moved on and embraced its fate — even though not final and executory — that commenced the Philippine media’s “new normal,” many still yearn for their return — even if it’s a near-resemblance.

Well, wait no more.

Beginning this Saturday (June 13), most of the programs that were loved and left off during the free-to-air era will be covered on to the Kapamilya Channel on cable.


High in Demand, Many in Disadvantage

This cunning and a very legal announcement will be set on most cable companies as part of their minimum basic package. They will be available on Sky Cable, Cablelink, GSat and other cable companies who are members of the Philippine Cable Television Association, Inc. (PCTA) nearest you.

This will not be available for the cable companies affiliated with Federation of International Cable TV and Telecommunications Association of the Philippines (FICTAP), where they objected to the franchise renewal of Mother Ignacia, and whose interview on GMA’s 24 Oras on the night of their major competitor’s cessation ended up with damaging reception (not just from the fans of ABS or GMA who sympathizes with the rival but also technical professionals, primarily the electronics communications engineers).

This news signaled a high demand — never mind if they will shell out hundreds of pesos monthly as they would say, “but it’s worth it” — but it would lead to 9 million TV Plus users to deprive access of their beloved programs. Also, some Cignal users, whose provider is neither affiliated by PCTA nor FICTAP, that are solid Kapamilya fans or a fan of any ABS-CBN show before the pandemic-cum-cease and desist order.


The KC Lineup: What’s Left Off, Axed and Something New?

The most essentials that will be provided on the Kapamilya Channel is the news, particularly Umagang Kay Ganda. The weekday morning talk show that follows, Magandang Buhay, will resume where it left off.

Entertainment essentials like It’s Showtime, ASAP and The Voice Teens 2 will continue where it left off. The mainland Chinese remake of Meteor Garden, which reran on the week of the FTA stoppage, will recommence. Weekly anthology program, MMK, remains on the “best of” mode.

While FPJ’s Ang Probinsanyo and A Soldier’s Heart in then-Primetime Bida will continue where it left off, Make It With You (starring Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil) didn’t make it because most salient scenes had to be taped outside of the country (they were set in Croatia).

Meanwhile, two new programs will be aired in this interim cable channel: Iba Yan! (a talk show by Angel Locsin) and Paano Kita Mapapasalamatan (presented by Judy Ann Santos). The World of a Married Couple and Familiar Wife will be the first two Koreanovelas to air on this makeshift channel (with the former being originally slated on Dos).

Selected programs in KC are available on simulcast on TVPlus.

Since it will be on cable, they can run 24/7 with movies from Movie Central to fill up the early hours of the morning.



Had not the executives take advantage of a technical loophole, it would not cushion the sharp fall of revenue lost from the free-to-air broadcast cessation.

While this endeavor serves a temporary measure, it could become a permanent institution if the free-to-air channel won’t be back by August 1 (where part of their 11,000-strong workforce will be given the pink slips after the benefits are dried up as announced by their boss, Carlo L. Katigbak). From that date, this could be converted into a more high-brow channel akin to South Korea’s JTBC (the successor of Tongyang Broadcasting Company, whose free-to-air operations ceased in 1980 under the regime of President Chun Doo-hwan but could no longer return to its pre-shutdown state).

With regards to sportscasting that was aired on S+A, it is already carried over to LIGA.

For the loyal fans, they just hope the government won’t notice this before they will receive an ultimatum to shut down operations once and for all similar to Venezuela with RCTV after their free-to-air transmission ended in 2007 and the broadcasts of any kind three years later.

Consequences are bound to the choices you make. You can have your choice, but you cannot choose your consequence.

Ravi Zacharias (1946-2020)

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Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN Corporation / Rappler