OH BOY, the country’s public school system begins its school year this Monday (September 13); it will be another school year without face-to-face interaction as COVID-19 continues to spread violently with various variants while our vaccination efforts lag. (The rest of the world is resuming face-to-face instructions with minimum health and safety protocols in place save Venezuela and us.)
Last year, parents and teachers were concerned about their children’s ability to continue their education in the face of the pandemic, as Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones desired. Furthermore, due to the President’s premeditated and petty motive, access to the most popular educational TV channel in the country was lost or limited because the company that made that channel lost its broadcast franchise.
At last, a solution was found; DepEd TV was born.
In this blog post, we will revisit the state-sanctioned distance learning program: What went right? What went wrong? Are there any localized options?
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 the 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?
AFTER a hard day’s work and a light dinner, you decided to slouch on the couch or bed and turn the remote on and flip your favorite show on the small screen. Even if you’re working from home, you might need some time to be recharged and entertained.
This is defined as the prime time wherein adults are their main target audience. From the marketing perspective, prime time is where the shows have the highest rating and their advertising rates are a bit more than 100% than the daytime. Hence, a big deal for the business-minded.
In a universal consensus, primetime starts after the national newscast where the audience is mostly at home and ends before the late-night news. The Philippines follows such a convention — on weeknights, at least.
Philippine Primetime TV B.C. (Before Corona)
Since the 1990s, the two networks from South Triangle had been under a heated matchup. At the turn of this millennium, we got used to the present formula of three daily teleseryes after the 90-minute newscast and one Asianovela (divided for daily consumption) before the late-night newscast. For GMA, their primetime Asianovela runs from Monday to Thursday as they will not let go of their cemented Friday night institution, Bubble Gang.
For weekends, after their respective newscasts, they’re dedicated to sitcoms (Saturdays), reality competition shows, drama anthologies (Saturdays) and a magazine show (Sundays). On Sundays, their primetime marked its endpoint with the late-night comedy talk show before the start of the looming workweek.
Under the New Normal
The fall of the most prominent TV network and the COVID-19 pandemic should’ve signaled the shift of the structure and the mindset of primetime TV, right? Well, not on weekdays but substantially on weekends.
In case you don’t know, Pepito Manaloto has ended its nearly decade-long Book 2 and won’t be back until the middle of July for its prequel.
Mother Ignacia’s main cable channel and their blocktime on Channel 11 continued what they left during their 34-year-old free-to-air, standalone era; Kamuning didn’t change the weeknight structure but has separated shows for each day of the weekend. (At the moment, Catch Me Out PH on Saturday is suspended while on Sundays, beginning supposedly this Sunday, it would have been the premiere of Sing for Hearts butit is postponed and for the meantime, Sirkus will take its place.)
TV5, the Eager McBeaver of the mainstream free-to-air TV networks, tried to do differently than what the South Triangle Duopoly had ever done. (Hence, the recent jazzy, upbeat station ID here.)
From November 2020 to March 2021, they retried a new way in Primetime Todo with Paano ang Pangako? as the weeknight drama and the weekly drama on one particular day of the week that followed. The experiment lasted for three and a half months because they admitted behind the scenes that old habits die hard.
As of this publication, Channel 5 begins their weekday primetime earlier with Sing Galing and Niña Niño, where their combined timeslot is clashing against 24 Oras. Their newscast, Frontline Pilipinas airs an hour ahead of GMA’s renowned early evening newscast and lasts for an hour. Stepping into Perci Intalan’s shoes, the reason for their counterprogramming is that they knew that some people are depressed and annoyed with accustomed long newscasts especially on items over the gaslighting pronouncements from the Palace and the most obvious annoyance, exclusive showbiz news. When 8 p.m. strikes, the three teleseryes and one Asianovela of the once-competitor go on the air.
The aforementioned paragraph is applicable when no domestic sports (a.k.a. their sense of normalcy) are actively in play. Once the PBA — or imminently, the Gilas campaign on the last window of FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers — gets underway, Wednesday and Friday night schedules would be disrupted and missing one episode of the three crown jewels from Mother Ignacia — or bumping off due to overtime in the game — is unacceptable, especially to those loyal viewers taking the solace of refuge there. The revitalized network had no choice but to adjust the schedule of the league so that their blocktime shows would start on time. (Trendrod Box has comprehensively provided the scenarios on this.)
For the Weekend
Their primetime block is dedicated to game shows on Saturdays — almost a full strip — but there is one reality competition show every Sunday beginning this coming Sunday (June 13) with POPinoy.
Unlike GMA, TV5 cannot have a weekend newscast due to preemptive measures in case for the country’s professional basketball league. So how do we define weekend primetime there in Reliance/Novaliches? Their primetime programming will start on the second game of the traditional PBA doubleheader.
Primetime losing relevance?
Now that GMA has the invincible mandate on the free airwaves and its CEO Eugene H. Krabs Felipe L. Gozon continued to bang about the ratings during the annual stockholders’ meeting (ASM) last May 19, 2021, we could’ve called them out to stop that kind of obsession since:
Their ex-chief rival is no longer on the common platform and thus, not the same reach as it was before; and
Their new rival (TV5) is miles behind them. (According to their ASM, Kamuning is a bit more than 7.5 times the audience share than in Reliance. It’s like GMA is an unidentifiable gas giant while TV5 becomes the Earth.)
Bumping off the competition could’ve urged the Kamuning Network to have their currently produced teleseryes extend as they want and upgrade their equipment for future shows since they have a bottomless bottom-line like iced tea but the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic (primarily due to locked-in tapings) and the government’s predictably botched response forced them to limit their endless possibilities.
However, the premeditated end to free-to-air license to the once broadcasting behemoth, and the virtual giant refused to budge to those who demand better quality of their shows would just make viewers abandon or throw off their (non-smart) TV sets and move on to their laptops, tablets and smartphones to catch up on the missing episodes. Our monthly survey in April conducted that 12% of respondents said that their viewing habits have embraced to purely online and/or streaming since May 6, 2020; it may be too small but it could grow.
Acknowledging the class system and individual preferences, some people at the expanding bottom of the pyramid (not all are on the poorest of the poor) neither have the access nor the time as those who loved to binge-watch on Netflix, Cignal Play, iQIYI or any video-on-demand (VOD) platforms. They may have to rely on their hard-earned digital TV receivers.
People who were still loyal to the fallen TV network but lived at that part of the pyramid had no choice if they captured just one channel after scanning their digiboxes.
The network executives of the monopolistic media entity should’ve known that. They were given over a year to reform and change their paradigm but they failed and unsurprisingly ogled so much on the bottom line and such proceeds will be invested in non-core business just like the former competitor has done. The scrappy one in Reliance/Novaliches tried.
In other words, the demographics and their preferences must be accounted for as with the current environment we all are harnessing.
Will the State-Controlled Media Show Up?
While I have tackled so much about GMA and TV5, I would’ve almost forgotten how the state-owned networks would’ve responded. (CNN Philippines is excluded for obvious reasons.)
While PTV is flexible because the main star (a.k.a. He Who Must Not Be Named) has his live, unfiltered show from the Palace and the famous Lotto draw, IBC 13 will have a difficult matter (obviously, their organizational problems are chronic). Their weeknight primetime begins from 7:30 and ends at 9:00 p.m., which is just a half the duration of the mainstream, commercial channels.
Every Saturday since May 8, Oras ng Kings — an hour-long infomercial block that promotes the eponymous Kings Herbal Food Supplement — airs at late night as the last program before sign-off at midnight. After the (most essential) DepEd TV block, do you know how many runs of Du30 on Duty have been airing during Saturday night? Two times (non-consecutively) on the hour of 9 and 10 p.m.
On Sundays, they’re a cistern of government propaganda that was initially aired on PTV but re-aired for those who wanted to catch up. They signed off at 10:00 p.m. (almost the end of primetime) Alas, they only have one network-produced program (F.Y.I.) but did they click the public? Not even a single iota, especially to those belonging to the South Triangle-minded tribes.
But the question remains: Will they ever catch up with their giant counterparts with a very limited amount of time before we choose the next president (in which, he or she will appoint all the board members of that GOCC) next year?
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?
(NOTE: This post serves as Quarterly Open Pit No. 16. Consider this as my candid confession post; it’s hard to hold your silence but this has to be done.)
FIFTY-TWO TUESDAYS AGO, the Philippine media industry has inevitably crossed the metaphorical bridge of no return amidst the new normal. The landscape of television has shifted forever and many of us — including yours truly — will be remembered and be traumatized.
While some audacious politicians say they’re not affected by that. It truly did. It affected not just the mental health of both those who are laid off and those who remained with more heavier workload. It also affected the job prospects (not just for Mass Communication graduates but also for Electronic Communications Engineering) and felt the chilling effect of government agencies like the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) when it comes the overall progress of digital terrestrial television (DTT) transition and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) on their revenue stream.
While some enforce callously for closure and healing (babang luksa) tomorrow after a year, its wounds are still fresh in their inerasable memories.
While the sore winners say it’s “no big deal,” it unfolded to be a consequential move, especially in the far-flung areas.
Since the start of this year (2021), I cannot utter the name of the former TV network or its corresponding nickname anymore — and I euphemized them — because saying its name is a “mortal sin.” Not to mention, I glaringly omitted their programs and/or described them indirectly. (Reminder: I didn’t include their teleseryes because it’s not our policy, enforced before 2020, to tackle upcoming and ending teleseryes in detail.)
I have imposed a “Give Chance to Others” Policy; the answer of why I’ve done that will be tackled after.
Come tomorrow, they’ll celebrate this as the “Day of Thanksgiving” with prideful taunts on the other side while ignoring their errors. In this post, I’ll tackle two invectives you probably hear from them and how I appropriated them with the current progress.
Carlos “Botong” Francisco’s “First Mass at Limasawa” depicts the first Easter Sunday service on our shores half a millennium ago. This year marks our “Great Jubilee” of the Christian faith.
THIS YEAR’S Holy Week is extraordinary. It will mark the seven-day countdown to the Quincentennial Year (the 500th anniversary) of our Christian faith in the country that will start — rather than culminating, as initially planned — on Easter Sunday on April 4.
This sacred week of Christendom happens on the last four days of March and the first four of April. Therefore, the community quarantine status of the country for the coming month would be very critical but it has been anticipated by the IATF.
In the external backdrop, the daily COVID cases across the country recently went on the upward trend (the all-time high daily cases was recorded at 8,109 just yesterday). The dreadful variants made most of the vaccines (meagerly on hand) futile in terms of efficacy; one preferred and enforced brand is questionable due to incomplete salient data. This is more worrying than when the country initially responded back a year ago and we are already suffering the fatigue (We can call it the collective carrying of our crosses).
However, the extraordinariness behind this Holy Week is not just for its monumental commemoration — in which the key theme of Missio Ad Gentes (mission to the peoples) will be integrated — and the current external situation but also on the events happening on the small screens.
Here on Timow’s Turf, our mission is to chronicle what is confirmed and to guess closely what will happen in the coming week. (Jump ahead to get with the content.)
[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This post is a piece of fiction based on a handful of facts. Please take this with a grain of salt.]
WE CAN ALL agree about these two maxims: We can neither change the past nor regain the lost time.
During our (normal, face-to-face) school days, we keep asking questions to our history teachers “hows” and “whys,” over significant happenings of places but a few dared to ask “What if” or “What could’ve happened…?”
Those few belong to an academic realm of alternate history, a type of speculative fiction consisting of one or more different historical events. For those who will take this genre, the decision lies up to one’s belief and others have some reservations. On YouTube, you can find these genres with supporting maps; others have showcased in DeviantArt or in related forums.
However, in this specific AH, we will not include maps.
Therefore, in retrospect, The main question of this AH project is: “What might have happened to the media networks if the COVID-19 pandemic never happened?”
The constraints: You cannot change the weather patterns from May 6 to the present.
BEAR IN MIND: In a supporting YouTube video, the acronyms A.E.T. stands for “Alternate Earth Timeline” (the situation of what and R.E.T. stands for “Real Earth Timeline,” as in what happened in reality.
THE ALTERNATE TIMELINE
Before May 4
The daily Laging Handa public briefing from PCOO would simply not exist.
SMAC Television Production’s shows would have rolled: one on IBC 13 (Yes! Yes! Yow!) and two on GMA News TV.
On PTV, Lotto draws would’ve conducted as usual while on IBC, El Shaddai would have been airing.
On TV5, Aksyon newscast branding would’ve stayed. The Buhay Komedya Channel on Cignal would’ve been launched as scheduled.
Wednesday, May 6
Emergency meetings were summoned from advertising agencies, KBP to media networks like GMA and TV5.
Two months after finishing Season 95, the NCAA Policy Board was shocked by the news as they were literally halfway through the contract.
Roberto P. Galang, president of TV5, would be hinted to the press about their plans, “Our entertainment programming will be revived perhaps after the Tokyo Olympics.”
Meanwhile, the master control on GMA Network logs that programs were finished on time as promoted after a bit more than two years of being head-to-head.
Tuesday, May 12
One month before the 2020-2021 season tipoff, MPBL faces a dilemma on which broadcaster be their new home. PTV is next in option.
ALTERNATE EARTH HEADLINE: Palawan nixes division
The UAAP 82 women’s volleyball is finished — with Liga carrying the Finals. With the five-year contract of UAAP and ABS-CBN expired, the prestigious collegiate league’s board faces jitters.
Sunday, June 14
On GMA, All Out Sundays threw a grandiose party on their network’s 70th anniversary with the formal launch of GMA Affordabox (12 days earlier than in real time). Tomorrow, Heart of Asia becomes the first digital subchannel other than GMA News TV to formally launch.
Saturday, July 5
NCAA Season 96 (host school: Colegio de San Juan de Letran) would proceed without a terrestrial broadcast partner.
Friday, July 10
With the House of Representatives denied the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN, the UAAP board summoned an emergency meeting on determining who will be their new broadcast partner.
Friday, July 24
The Tokyo Olympics would’ve begun. Though the country’s broadcast rights are awarded to MVP Media Group, the opening ceremony was aired on One Sports instead of TV5 because of PBA because the league doesn’t respect the international multi-sporting event.
Saturday, July 25
In gymnastics qualifying, Carlos Yulo was qualified on the men’s floor competition. The coverage aired on both TV5 and One Sports.
Friday, July 31
Because it was a holiday and due to the qualification, TV5 decided to cover Carlos Yulo’s final competition on the main channel instead of their sports channel. Thankfully, it was in the morning. He won the first Olympic gold for the country, the Filipino audience was jubilant. The Philippine national anthem was played for the first time, Yulo wept tears of joy.
Monday, August 10
Just as Galang promised, the first wave of programs from TV5 began (one week earlier than in real life) to roll.
ALTERNATE EARTH HEADLINE: [Carlos] Yulo to get hero’s welcome, meet Rody
Monday, August 31
As ABS-CBN Regional Group folded, GMA Regional TV’s programs in the morning began to expand.
Saturday, September 5
UAAP Season 83 (host school: De La Salle University) would’ve tipped off — not canceled — on a new broadcast partner, TV5 / One Sports. During the week leading to the season, Cignal subscriptions go higher.
The Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC), despite the panic due to affiliation of publicists with the fallen giant, announced the nominees for the 34th Star Awards for Television. Most of the nominees are from GMA. The winners were to be awarded in New Frontier Theater in Araneta City with a delayed telecast a week later on PTV.
DJ Chacha and Ted Failon joins Radyo 5 one week earlier than in real life.
Miss World Philippines would be airing on PTV, instead of long-time partner GMA, to avoid beauty pageant monopolization.
On the awards night of PMPC Star Awards, GMA would’ve won the Best TV Station after seven years. The streak would go on until at least 2022.
The new NBA season tipped off on One Sports (two months earlier than today).
Sunday, November 1
REAL NEWS: Super Typhoon Rolly battered Bicolandia.
GMA News TV would’ve responded away — instead of airing non-news programs that became a source of ridicule in real time — and converted into a 24-hour news channel.
Thanks to the windfall, GMA’s net profit for the first nine months of 2020 would be about 85% higher than the same period last year — 6 percentage points more than in the real world.
Like in real life, Miss Earth 2020 was aired for the first time on TV5. Like in Miss World, Carousel Productions, the organizer behind the pageant, didn’t want GMA to go into portfolio overload.
Miss Universe 2020 was aired exclusively live on GMA Network after ABS-CBN fell. Our contingent, Rabiya Mateo of Iloilo City, finished in the Top 20.
GMA covered a Christmas special — the only network to have an all-star holiday special since TV5 was just restarting.
AGB-Nielsen released the result of the nationwide TV ratings, Voltes V: Legacy would’ve been the No. 1 in the weekday primetime program.
What’s the Difference than In Real Life?
Without the pandemic, GMA would’ve gotten a bigger rate of growth in revenue for the first nine months than in real life. Regional news services would’ve been established ahead of time before the storm. The main channel’s entertainment programs would’ve gone ahead of time but their shows go and prouder than we harnessed right now. Network fanatics take revenge with more awards but others would still get angrier.
The revival of local entertainment on TV5 in three phases would’ve started one to two weeks ahead.
Even with Martin Andanar’s promise, PTV would’ve started ahead but no viewer would care (other than the pro-admin fanatics) and dare to watch them, save the Lotto draw and PTV Sports.
Even if the displaced technical and creative employees would invite the offer, IBC 13 would still be an unwatchable channel because of pay issues and financial stature. (Company culture matters!)
NET 25’s new programs might not have been on the air today or they would go earlier. The segments of their noontime show, Happy Time, would be really different.
Had not for the pandemic that rechanneled their funds for response, community broadcasters would’ve emerge further. More entities would register and file their franchises to Congress before getting the revoked frequencies.
What would be your TV timeline if the COVID-19 never happened?
Timow’s Turf wishes every reader a contemplative Christmas.
[AUTHOR’S NOTE: Every October 23, we mark the anniversary of television in the Philippines. Since 2017, Timow’s Turf tackles topics exclusively about the media platform.]
NEXT TARGET: With the fall of review fee revenue due to the fall of ABS-CBN, The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) is desperately targeting Netflix (and other streaming platforms) to adapt to the domestic rating scheme to offset any losses.
Nevertheless, the fate of Mother Ignacia manifested a domino effect not just in the shops in the streets that surrounded the compound but also to vital regulatory agencies.
The National Telecommunications Commission, who ordered two cease-and-desist orders against the media giant and revoked their frequencies (giving Mother Ignacia the mercy shot), have realized what they have done. Consequentially, the scheduled analog shut-off in 2023 will be pushed to another date that surely cements the place as the last country to go fully digital in the Southeast Asia region. (Ha, I told you so.)
Another government agency that suffered the domino effect is our media censorship body: the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
The Background Check
During the budget hearing exactly three weeks ago, they told before the senators, presided by Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares (who formerly served as the chair of the agency), the hard figures and estimates.
Binge-watching viewers, who are afraid to go outside anymore and with shorter attention spans were quick to object and blustered in their minds, “Why bother wasting ten seconds for that?”
The quandaries of the agency they are facing right now have not even resolved the three problems stacked on the table: inconsistent rating scheme, lack of time restrictions and uneven application for networks.
Inconsistent Rating Scheme
The MTRCB issues an advisory before each exhibition of every film or TV program.
On TV, the review is not made by each program but by each episode. When the episode of a certain show is rated SPG, the advisory is reiterated twice (before the show and in the middle) rather than once. Wowowin (GMA) has a special status to air the PG advisory twice because GMA’s regional stations will join the Metro Manila station after their local newscast.
Streaming platforms have different ratings. For one, in Netflix, both modes rate ranging from ALL, 7+, 13+, 16+ and 18+.
The main reason why the streaming platforms’ system (i.e. Netflix’s four-tiered system) is deemed superior to ours (three-tiered) is that they tend to follow the psychological reasonings of the individual at specific ages; we’re vague.
No wonder, Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development still functions after being formulated for more than half a century.
Lack of Time Restrictions
Since the universal implementation of TV ratings in 2011-2012, the commercial networks’ program lineup is dominantly rated SPG from mid-morning for movies until late nights. This would mean that parental guidance is strictly recommended throughout the day but younger viewers are not discouraged to watch such scenes. Non-general entertainment networks (PTV, IBC, CNN Philippines and denomination-based networks) reach up to PG rating.
In most countries, they don’t just give them the ratings but they have time restrictions depending on which rating of a particular show is to be aired. Sadly, the Philippines has NONE of that — hence, the aforementioned observations — but that might not be the job of MTRCB (if you read the agency’s legal basis in strict interpretation) but it would be decided to the industry per gentleman’s agreement.
Uneven Applications for Some Networks
In normal circumstances, every program or movie block must display the advisory before the proper except for newscasts; they must display the standard pictogram and the corresponding text on the available corner. Breakfast shows are mixed; they air the MTRCB advisory before the start of such a program and display the pictogram except during their newscast segments.
While surviving commercial and non-commercial religious networks applied the aforementioned general rules, state-owned networks like PTV and IBC doesn’t always follow (so much for “leading by example”). In one instance, PTV aired an English-dubbed Japanese educational show but without an advisory or a pictogram (but with corresponding text). Before PTV’s newscasts, they aired an advisory but never the pictogram and supporting text.
As of this moment, DepEd TV on Channel 13 has no ratings announced and imposed but it is deemed safe for all considering the circumstances.
If they fail to rectify their mistakes, the last resort, according to netizens, is the abolition of the agency (due to intrinsic, historical reasoning) and calls for each production company and/or TV network for self-regulation.
While that option is impossible to happen, let it be reminded that MTRCB is currently under the parent agency of the Office of the President of the Philippines, which is the most powerful agency in the country because it is closest to the President (a.k.a. the ultimate decider of our country’s fate), and not on a somehow sensible executive department — the Department of Information and Communications Technology.
Dear readers, what would you do with MTRCB’s quandaries? How can you resolve them?
Yesterday (August 31), GMA Regional TV launched their Early Edition for Western Visayas viewers. Alas, GMA is the only national network that has a dedicated and functional regional network group.
[Requested by Zyle Asajar, with helpful insights from Angelo Hapin Santos]
IT’S THE BER MONTHS.
You know what that means.
Jose Mari Chan is out of his cave (figuratively speaking, not literally because of his immunocompromised age bracket) and fills his appointment book for appearances on TV and social media as we countdown to Christmas.
In other news, all 12 regional TV Patrol newscasts and nine (9) morning shows on the ABS-CBN Regional Network Group were thrown out in the books of history. This leaves the giant from Timog Avenue as the only national TV network to have regional newscasts but limited to four local afternoon newscasts: Balitang Amianan, Balitang Bisdak, ONE Mindanao and ONE Western Visayas and two of the morning shows (Mindanao and Western Visayas)
If you are reading this from Cagayan Valley, Palawan, Bicol and Eastern Visayas, we are deeply sorry for the deprivation of access to your local information.
But for some, you would ask: “Why do we need regional newscasts in the first place?”
Nationwide newscasts, ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours, cannot carry all the happenings throughout the country for a day. Some of the news items aired may not be a big deal for them, especially if the scene is happening in Metro Manila (except when it involves national institutions).
In those newscasts, they help reach people on their happenings in their own backyards — especially in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic — and promote their local businesses and events.
Focused within their borders, they often deliver in the common language. Take the case of CLTV 36. Its flagship newscast, Bagong Hamon: Central Luzon, is delivered in Tagalog because the whole region understands it (despite the central newsroom is in Pampanga).
The Realities They Have Ignored
Remember Ralph Domingo’s From the Tube post about the “unresolved” 5 o’clock problem (or later, from 2018-2020)? At that particular time, pre-COVID, when local newscasts were airing, the originating Metro Manila station was transmitting an Asianovela (on the then-ABS) or the first half-hour of Wowowin (GMA).
The people in the provinces would look forward to these particular programs but instead, they had to watch their own news and wait for the episodes to catch up on the following weekday morning where the Metro’s program guide is on the movie block.
Nowadays, social media broke the physical boundaries that our antennas (analog and digital), cable and satellite providers exert. Anyone can access regional news from any part of the country (or from any part of the world if you’re an OFW) at any time. That was the last move for RNG until their last episode last Friday.
Finding a Competitor
As GMA now bears the nationwide monopoly on regional newscasts, viewers — especially those who may have limited to no reception to their own remaining regional channels to get their local sources of information — felt it’s not quite right.
As Angelo Hapin Santos said, the current state of GMA’s Regional TV is “not yet enough to compensate” for the loss of Dos’ RNG due to geographical bias. For one, Balitang Amianan would prioritize the news from their home base in Pangasinan over other parts of Luzon.
They would need another competitor that suit to their angles, compare to other angles of the similar story, or to cover other local stories if they fail to present.
But who would be the new competitor in the new landscape?
CNN Philippines is a rule out since it was never their initial intention. Hence, their Kapampangan and Cebuano newscasts back then were not counted because of the nationwide reach. IBC is obviously crossed out since they are persistently and unsurprisingly the worst in everything from finances to program offerings.
PTV has five local newscasts that serve in Ilocos, Cordillera, Davao City, Davao del Norte and Agusan del Sur. Sure it may have one more than GMA has but like the national counterpart, their respective afternoon newscasts deliver the news from different government agencies from their own region and use that channel to defend the stances of the incumbents.
Like in the national equivalent, not all government employees from their localities would even dare or force to watch or listen to their respective newscasts.
TV5 used to have regional newscasts of Aksyon (Bisaya and Davao) until September 8, 2016, as their respective transmitters’ status was relegated from originating to relay because of cost-cutting measures (or they prioritize sports over others, you be the judge).
The nationwide Aksyon brand was unceremoniously ended last March because of the lockdown and ONE News (ONE Balita) took its place. If they revive their regional newscasts after a four-year hiatus, this will confuse the viewers with GMA’s current roster.
Either way, the expansion plans — that should have established or maintained years ago — won’t materialize now since they are all struggling with low revenues due to the impact of the ongoing pandemic.