iWant

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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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.

GMA

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.

Radio

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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Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN.com

Timow’s Turf Special: Countdown to SEA Games


SEA Games 2019 logo.png

For the very artsy people, the official logo of this year’s SEA Games is unforgivably a “cringe”, “uncreative” and an “eyesore.” In the end, would this be memorable or be forgettable?

AS the preliminary competitions of few sporting events in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games are underway, tomorrow (November 30) will showcase the greatest spectacle of sports in the region after 14 years.

The last time we hosted back in 2005, social media wasn’t penetrated into the market and smartphones didn’t exist yet. Today, mobile Internet access has expanded either to catch up the action in real-time or to notify if the athletes are qualified for the next round.

In that gap of time, venues like the Mall of Asia Arena and the Philippine Arena have been erected and are ready for use to showcase sports. Also, ambitious plans were aggressively concreted, particularly in the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.

Before we go further behind the scenes with the present edition, let’s recap the moments when we previously hosted the biennial regional multi-sport meet.

Past Hostings at a Glance

1981 (11th Edition)

  • DATES: December 6 to 15
  • NUMBER OF SPORTS: 18
  • PHILIPPINES’ OVERALL RANKING: 3rd of 7
  • BROADCASTERS: Maharlika Broadcasting System and Banahaw Broadcasting Corporation

Martial law has already been lifted in the early part of that year but President Marcos remained in power as he was re-elected and the media remained restricted.

In that edition, their then-new infrastructure was built in Pasig called the University of Life Track & Field and Arena or simply called ULTRA (now PhilSports Arena).

In the sporting proper, Lydia de Vega wowed the country with two gold medals in 200 and 400-meter sprints, earning the nickname “Asia’s Sprint Queen.” Bong Coo emerged in the spotlight as the top tenpin bowler with six medals (four of which is gold).

1991 (16th Edition)

  • DATES: November 24 to December 3
  • NUMBER OF SPORTS: 28
  • PHILIPPINES’ OVERALL RANKING: 2nd of 9
  • BROADCASTERS: People’s Television Network (PTV), ABS-CBN, IBC and RPN

While the host city was in Metro Manila, four sports (archery, canoeing, sailing and triathlon) were held in Subic Bay. At that time, Subic was packing up after the decision of the renewal of the US naval base was rejected by the Senate two months prior.

This edition was the only edition where the overall championship was heavily contested; the deciding medal came from the last sporting event — the women’s triathlon — where Indonesia got the gold medal.

Athletes associated with the said edition include Eric Buhain, Akiko Thompson (swimming) and Bea Lucero (gymnast turned taekwondoka). Lydia de Vega redeemed her title as the “Asia’s Fastest Woman” and Elma Muros was celebrated for the long jump. Our men’s basketball team regained the cage supremacy by defeating Thailand in the finals.

2005 (23rd Edition)

SEA Games 2005 logo.png

Most readers were alive and remembered when we hosted the last time.

  • DATES: November 27 to December 5
  • NUMBER OF SPORTS: 40
  • PHILIPPINES’ OVERALL RANKING: 1st of 11
  • BROADCASTERS: National Broadcasting Network (NBN), ABC and IBC

This was the first SEA Games that some events took place outside Luzon and first that both ceremonies were not staged in a stadium — they were staged in Quirino Grandstand.

While the official hymn was “We’re All Just One,” Rivermaya’s “Posible” will forever be associated as the popular song of this Games.

This was the edition where basketball, our national pastime, was not held due to the suspension by FIBA to compete internationally. Nevertheless, this was the first time that we became an overall champion.

In this edition

There are 530 events in 56 sports taking place for this 12-day affair (not counting the days before the opening ceremony) across Luzon.

For the first time, the bookend ceremonies will take place separately; tomorrow, they will open at the Philippine Arena but they will close in their ambitious New Clark City Athletics Stadium on December 11.

The theme of this edition is “We Win as One,” with its corresponding theme song performed by Lea Salonga:

The Broadcasters

While Pittsburgh-based NEP Group will produce these sports events but there are local broadcasters that will supply the coverage.

Initially, TV5 and ABS-CBN are potential candidates.

For the former, it was a no-brainer since they have significant sportscasting experience placed in their dossier before the organizing committee despite criticisms of putting commercials during the ceremonies (you can watch them sans interruption through their YouTube Livestream). With their broadcast franchise safe for another 25 years, hence, they became the official media partner. Cignal TV has allocated three channels for this one-off event, in addition to One Sports.

Regarding the latter, it was initially screened due to their technological advancements but its franchise will expire in four months and Congress has not prioritized it. Also, their main channel’s biggest concern is that their schedule is completely committed to competition shows (the opening ceremony is a Saturday) and teleseryes (closing ceremony falls on a Wednesday) but they have S+A and Liga to the rescue.

CONFIRMED: By secret agreement, the OC will be carried live on ABS-CBN (pre-empting any shows that follow) and iWant with S+A catching up in delay by 15 minutes. TV5 will be delayed by an hour and a half — harmonizing with the rest of the Cignal channels.

PTV almost left out

By intuition from history, PTV must be there to cover this biennial regional sports meet. This is the usual trend for other Southeast Asian nations. In the last iteration in Kuala Lumpur in 2017, we have done so but under last-minute pressure by then-Philippine Olympic Committee President Peping Cojuangco.

Because of the initial screening, the state broadcaster was almost left out causing concern for Senator Francis Tolentino during the 2020 budget deliberations on the Presidential Communications Operations Office last September 26.

There is a valid, consensual justification to include this state TV network: President Rodrigo Duterte is required to be present — as it is a traditional protocol for a head of state — and to simply read the opening formula (i.e. no alibis and no cussing) after the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee’s (PHISGOC) chair, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, delivered their welcoming remarks.

Who’s taking the slice?

Per common reports, at least 11 events will be carried live: aquatics (diving and swimming), athletics, badminton, basketball (5×5 and 3×3), boxing, football, gymnastics, sepak takraw, taekwondo, indoor volleyball, and E-sports.

As per individual media entities, ABS-CBN is said to cover exclusively on volleyball and soccer while ESPN5 will supply the rest, with emphasis on basketball (on the main channel), eSports (certainly on 5Plus) and aquatics.

On the other hand, PTV is reportedly taking care of skateboarding and BMX (cycling); although they will cover random sporting events that are not exclusive to private entities.

The rest of the sporting action will be covered through the Facebook live streams, on YouTube channel of ESPN5 and in iWant.

Of course, there will be always highlights throughout each progressing day, regardless if they are media partners or not.

 


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Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC)

Saving Mother Ignacia


[REQUESTED BY Miggy Tapuyao]

The franchise renewal of ABS-CBN must be discussed in the 18th Congress.

TOMORROW is the fight of Manny Pacquiao against Keith Thurman and it will be aired exclusively on ABS-CBN, the first to do so in 13 years.

But that’s not the focus of this post.

In fact, the following day, the 18th Congress will convene — alongside is the fourth State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte.

While it won’t be discussed by any leaders’ speech (either from the executive or from any chamber in the legislative) come that day, as we have said in our post-mortem analysis of the recent midterm election, the network’s franchise renewal is — or must be — in the agenda as the expiration on March 30, 2020 is fast approaching.

Background

After garnering the sweeping victory of the Administration’s slate in the Senate without any from the opposition, former singer-turned-government official Jimmy Bondoc became excited that the “biggest network would close down.”

This description directly referred to ABS-CBN and Angel Locsin, one of the current talents there, fought back in the online tirade. At the end of May, the network’s former and current talents and employees joined the fray by appending their employer’s anniversary logo on their social media accounts’ profile pictures with a matching hashtag, #LabanKapamilya.

President Duterte objected the renewal sporadically over his public speeches for the past three years. Often, he accused them with promiscuous claims such as borrowing hefty loans from the government banks and not paying their dues diligently.

However, according to the corporation’s annual audited financial report in 2018, although the composition of their total assets constitutes a majority on debt, not a loan agreement is currently involved with any state-owned banks (e.g. Landbank, DBP).

(SIDENOTE: PNB used to be a government bank until it was privatized in the late 1990s and such process was completed in 2007. Their loan agreement with the Network on the said statement commenced in 2010.)

Unfortunately, this is the part of the populist-cum-demagogue’s playbook in action: threatening institutions who are deemed against them (which is refuted ad infinitum) and always accept whatever he says or from their mouthpieces (spokesperson and their media) as “gospel truth.”

We cannot discount that there are others who are self-professed to be politically moderate or not a DDS but have reservations with ABS’ franchise renewal — mainly on programming operations. But we don’t need to enumerate further; we just want to keep this post straightforward.

Though, the franchise is for legal ownership of maintaining free-to-air transmission facilities (e.g. S+A, DZMM 630, MOR 101.9). It will not affect their film (Star Cinema) and music division (Star Music) but they would lose their primary means of promotion of their wares (other than online).

Nevertheless, the cyberspace worries frantically on the big picture — the fate of Mother Ignacia’s bread and butter (specifically: the potential job loss and downsizing of operations).

Composition: It’s complicated

The components within their core business are complicated.

When their “Blip” comes, there will be loopholes regarding other forms of transmission: on cable, on TFC and on TVPlus.

Albeit, the Kapamilya network already began producing its exclusive online content to iWant and started to diversify into the food business.

Authorities’ responses

When it comes to the related agencies such as the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP).

They are silent about what to happen when that fateful day arrives.

Although the feared shutdown would not likely happen according to the latter organization on an interview on One News, both barely understand and exercise the meaning of contingency planning on a broadcast franchise expiration as either there are no clear, legal provisions about it or it’s a top secret.

Easy to act, hard to follow

How to avoid big uncertainty to let the President sign their renewal (or do nothing for thirty days after the Congress approve it like those from TV5 a few days ago)?

The obvious solution is divestiture of the business — either voluntary or through force.

In other words, the on-air and corporate names will be kept but the ownership would be transferred from the Lopez family to someone else.

This approach already happened in 1972 (through the Marcosian might) but as of now, they won’t budge into this. But is there another way?

Other franchise to the rescue?

This is an unorthodox approach and like the divestiture, the on-air identity and program making would continue but it’s on “guardianship” mode until the next president signs the renewal.

This is what the cunning corporate lawyers of Mother Ignacia would do if all else fails.

In the forums online, few candidates that are rumored to help the network, including:

  • Bro. Mike Velarde’s Delta Broadcasting System (DBS): Their franchise was renewed for another 25 years just last April but the news was bannered a month ago. Their television endeavor on Channel 35, as of press time, remains unknown after testing in 2016.
  • Zoe Broadcasting Network: The Jesus is Lord (JIL) -owned TV network just ended ties with GMA last June and their VHF channel frequency (Channel 11) would be open for new tenants. However, the rumor of talks with ABS-CBN began back in 2017 by Politiko and its sister site, Bilyonaryo.
  • Radio Mindanao Network (RMN). Historically, they had a tie-up with IBC 13 during the late 60s and launched Cinema Television (now BEAM Channel 31) in the 1990s. The franchise was renewed in 2016. Before this threat, they are the popular bet for the race on the ongoing privatization of IBC.
  • Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC). Putting it in temporary care would almost feel their return of TV venturing since Channel 11 was shut down in 1972. However, objections would be raised as their current radio division has a long tie-up with a manufacturing company that dominates during their commercial breaks. They feared that they would do likewise for at least two years.

Afterthought (But I Digress…)

Until this presidential administration ends, those fanatics who enjoyed at least one program from this network would realize that once they are gone for the second time, they feel that they are given a punch in their visages.

In the end, uttering remorse will not save the network; they have to accept their fate.

For the remaining competitors in television who are enjoying their status quo right now, they have to prepare for the worst. However, such things will be discussed separately in another time.

 


Savor the moment while it lasts.


 

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Photo courtesy of Philippine Daily Inquirer / ABS-CBN

The Turf’s Opening Salvo for 2019


Crystal Ball 2019
IT’S HARD to imagine that the new year is the home stretch year of the 2010s.

In terms of geopolitics, we are certain that the United Kingdom will exit from the European Union in March. This, in turn, would add the consequential challenges for the remaining 27-member supranational and intergovernmental union’s parliamentary elections in May.

In Japan, we will witness the abdication of Emperor Akihito and accession of his heir apparent Crown Prince Naruhito, the first in almost two centuries.

In the United States, the new year will greet a challenging relationship between the split 116th Congress (a Democratic-controlled House and a Republican-controlled Senate) and President Donald Trump — in addition to the challenge for finding the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee.

In South America, Brazil has greeted the new year with the oath of the populist, right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro. While two of their neighbors, Bolivia and Argentina, will conduct their presidential elections as a litmus test on the continent’s political shift.

Last but not the least, three of the most populous nations of the world — India, Indonesia and Nigeria (in descending order) — will conduct their elections.

Here at home, we are certainly looking forward to two major events agenda: the midterm elections in May and the Southeast Asian Games in November.

While there are certainties in the world we live in, the smaller and specific ones, like our television industry, may or may not happen. It’s like our crystal ball.

The Turf’s PH Media Crystal Ball

The 5 Network

For this year, the Turf will prioritize T5N due to a myriad of confirmations and speculations.

In the bigger picture, their radio-TV franchise will expire this December. However, it seems that their renewal is on the rush in Congress. They’re probably doing it for negotiating to cover the aforementioned biennial sports meet.

What is certain for Reliance, particularly for this month, is that Hyper will be ONE Sports this January 9th and AksyonTV will be rebranded as 5Plus on the 13th, coinciding the new (44th) season of PBA.

In terms of the potential election coverage, they have ONE News to cover during the first five months. On the main channel, that’ll be another story. A tug-of-war would happen on the main channel between the prioritization of sporting events and the talent shortage in the news department.

 

ABS-CBN

Despite the success and praises last year for most netizens, it sacrificed certain parameters of self-restraint in favor of one of its talents. In addition, some of their excessive offers to a repatriate are not in touch with reality with their programming grid.

Though it would replicate the positive achievements this year, Mother Ignacia will now face the greatest threat but it’s not because of excessive offerings that won’t bear fruit or their “biased” election coverage. It’s their radio-television franchise, as well.

Ill-wishers and die-hard supporters of the President Rodrigo Duterte are pushing to block the franchise renewal and would try to insinuate them to agree with his agenda. In their own words, the network might operate their TV and radio transmission as their last full calendar year (since the franchise expires on March 2020).

If that happens, the 6.3 million TVplus set-top boxes would render useless but they already know what will be offered on iWant, their video-on-demand service, just in case.

Not to mention, the first-time use and access of their soundstage in Bulacan could be hindered due to the right of way issue.

GMA

In terms of news, they won’t be a problem — especially during the election coverage with their snazzy augmented reality (AR) technology.

In terms of entertainment, the network would have to deal with them without Regine Velasquez; for the nth time, take no surprise if Lilybeth Rasonable remains in charge and not admitting their shortcomings.

When it comes to digitalization and conversion to HD to more genres of programs, we are all waiting but we are not getting surprised if they don’t due to their constant, unassailable braggadocio.

PTV

Reeling from the last year’s controversies, this government station will pretend to act impartially in covering the midterm election and then back to their usual business.

With the national budget for this year unresolved, marking the first time in 9 years to operate under a re-enacted budget, other businesses in Congress could get killed with limited plenary session time for their campaign period.

One of them happened to be the People’s Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) bill. The proposed law is a key legislative measure promised during the President’s maiden State of the Nation Address, superseding the current charter of this network. If it does get killed, the next (18th) Congress in July will have to start over again.

IBC

While many would be impressed with the new facilities last year, the network remained a “running gag” with regard to their privatization process.

Admittedly, it will never be easy to lift the perennial roadblock but Kat De Castro is inspecting ocularly on transmitting facilities and studios across the country and studying the aspects.

With her remaining tenure of six months as per the pertinent paper, the assessments and perusals might not formulate the solutions and materialize with the shortest amount of time.

Radio

While the aforementioned network’s radio counterparts will maintain as it is and others, two entities, which just renewed their franchises, will be under lookout alert for 2019:

  • The Manila Broadcasting Company was involved with privacy and infringement issues over two dismissed DJs from Love Radio 90.7 FM.
  • Like 105.9 FM (owned by Bright Star Broadcasting Network) had the symptoms of instability after the change last May. In specific terms, they observed the format shift, program shuffling and DJ’s lack of presence and seriousness. While Brigada has a prospective plan to end their instability by owning the frequency, their current owner refused to budge.

That said, just because they have renewed for another 25 years doesn’t mean they are free to be humiliated — ethically, financially and/or legally — and passed their blame on others. (Consider that as their New Year’s resolutions.)

Postscript

There are other networks that are not mentioned in this article because it won’t have any significant importance or move that will be unique for the new year.

Nonetheless, as always, the new year remains a mystery. Thus, plot twists will happen and any diversion can be interesting. The Turf will try to cover our best through our weekly roundup as we are on our full commitments.


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Photo courtesy of Pixabay, modified by the author

#Zeitgeist2018: The Timow’s Turf Year-End Special (Part II)


ANOTHER EVENTFUL YEAR will be over. But before moving forward to 2019, we will look back on the events that shaped 2018 over the Philippine media.

This is the second of two-part series, containing 18 stories are arranged in no particular order. (See Part I here.)

For this year’s twist, the Turf appended the GIF reactions to each moment for the appropriate reaction for certain people or situation.


The Top (Random) Nine

#9. PH Cable Wave

The first half of 2018 triggered a big wave over the Philippine cable industry by either closure or rebranding of certain channels. Some reasons why that happened is due to redundancies, the rise of cord cutters, unsatisfied return of investments and changing preference.

Local channels

On January, ABS-CBN Regional Channel and TAG were pulled off but HERO, the sister anime channel, became the most notorious after 12 years. Never forget that they also launched LIGA on that month as a reincarnation of Balls. On April 2, Lifestyle became The Metro Channel.

Last May 28, Bloomberg Philippines — the sole specialty channel — became ONE News Channel after bearing three years of licensing rights.

Foreign channels

Another children’s entertainment channel, Toonami, folded its Southeast Asian iteration last March. By the end of this year, AMC and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will be pulled out not just from SkyCable but to all cable operators nationwide.

In a nutshell, this is our GIF reaction:

Surf's Up.gif

#8. Like gets Disliked

Last May, DWLA-FM 105.9 in Manila changed its brand and format without publicity both on air and on social media, save the observation in the PinoyExchange forum months before their imminent fate.

After four years, DCG’s Retro 105.9 became Like 105.9 after failing to settle its debts and issuance of pink slips. The format shifted from classic throwback hits to Adult Top 40.

Although the frequency owner (Bright Star Broadcasting Network) got their franchise renewed, instability and internal dissatisfaction remain the haunting issues.

Meanwhile, Brigada Mass Media Communication be like:

Mr Burns Excellent

#7. New (Encrypted) Competitor

EasyTV-Super-DigiBox-with-box.jpg

On June 5, 2nd Avenue parked for the very last time — marking another Solar Entertainment’s blow. The following day, RJTV 29 restored and shut down its analog transmitters, becoming the second channel to be fully digital after Light Network 33.

Nearly at the same time, Easy TV Super Digibox was publicly announced — even though it was launched on the market about two weeks ago. Similar to TVPlus, it is encrypted in favor of Solar Entertainment Channels with two UHF channels (22 and 30) containing 16 subchannels (including AniPlus and Basketball TV).

Now that TVPlus is extending the second channel until February, Tieng brothers were like (amidst the legal stadndoff on BTV):

I'm trembling.gif

#6. Meme-ification of Police Reports

Police Reports Memes.jpg

Crime reports in Mega Manila that are projected in national newscasts is really annoying for viewers in the provinces.

But in the time of trust issues with the police and the government in general, netizens would really need to kill time. This year, it made a mark by lifting up from this specific genre for comedic purposes — specifically on the interview of the suspect.

Their phrases, like “advanced akong mag-isip” and “paano mo nasabi“, become part of the ordinary parlance, part of TV sketch comedies and witty opportunity for the marketing departments (Hint: Search MayWard McDo commercials on YouTube).

Some elders were shocked by this trend. For them, it is not right to poke fun at convicted criminals and not to emulate them on their wrongdoings…

Obvious ba.gif

#5. It’s Showtime’s Domino Effect

Since February, the daily noontime show ended a bit longer than the scheduled 3:20 p.m. affecting other shows that follow, due to Vice Ganda’s long tsismis and antics on the live broadcast. Even if Vice is out, his colleagues has influence.

Throughout observation, this show ended as late as 4:00 p.m.

Despite the success in raking more advertising revenue and catching up for Metro Manila viewers, it affected other viewers who are not loyal to the noontime show — particularly on the surviving regional newscasts in the Regional Network Group and TV Patrol’s Noli de Castro. In addition, DZMM is affected since they have to simulcast TVP.

Because of the heated duopolistic competition, Wowowin responded to make it even.

What Vice Ganda has now is what Kris Aquino had in the earlier part of the decade — the influence which leads to the management to chill and leave him alone while sacrificing other stars. Unlike Kris, Vice Ganda is exposed every day.

In the eyes of the management, self-control means this:

Not Impoerant.gif

The positive karma is that neither himself nor his shows won any of this year’s PMPC Star Awards for Television.

Publicists’ psyche were like:

The light is coming.gif

 

 

#4. GMA’s Extraordinary Dramas

While ABS-CBN’s drama remains successful in ratings and in social media engagements (ehem, Halik) amidst a domino effect from It’s Showtime that tackled just earlier, there is not much distinction in terms of the teleseryes’ character development, premise and plot.

Sure, GMA has the same problems with Ika-5 Utos for being a “continuation” of the Ten Commandments series (aside from both directed by Laurice Gullien) and Victor Magtanggol for being unoriginal as Alyas Robin Hood  back in 2016.

However, there are two currently running dramas on Kamuning that shed some positive light amidst the cliches: Onanay is a drama regarding the struggle of a mother with dwarfism (played by Jo Berry) while My Special Tatay is, as said on the title, about a father who has a mild intellectual disability (played by Ken Chan).

Oscars Applause.gif

 

#3. PTV’s Muddled Year

For 2018, this government TV network was flagged with three events.

In April, the Commission on Audit flagged the station in their audit report over the P 60 million ad placement of the Department of Tourism (headed by then-Secretary Wanda Teo) to Bitag Media of her brother, Ben, without proper documentation. Because of the siblings, it eventually led to the Secretary’s voluntary dismissal and Ben’s program (Kilos Pronto) to be axed. Although Ben came back with the usual praising the administration and bickering against his enemies on the other program, the money has not returned yet (or possibly, they will not return at all).

In August to September, three Tagalog-dubbed programs from Mainland China — two dramas and one children’s series — were aired but critics served it as propaganda. In other words, they are projecting the President’s effective foreign policy, which was witnessed in last November’s visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

This month, instead of cash bonuses at their Christmas party, contractual employees and talents were given retrenchment letters — an irony to the administration’s initiative to end contractualization — with an employee vented out of her frustrations.

Overheard at PCOO on these issues:

Collar tug

Don’t feel bad for them. The only positive thing that they have done this year was the Lotto Draw. On October 14, the Ultra Lotto jackpot reached the largest prize to date — almost P 1.2 billion — which won by two bettors.

 

#2. Mr. Imbestigador’s Health Watch

The pillar of GMA News and Radio division made a big announcement after a much prolonged absence this year.

He underwent medical leave for his kidney medication and heart bypass surgery.

During his absence (inclusive of allowance of his recovery), Atom Araullo became his pinch hitter on the weekday edition of 24 Oras before his return in October.

With this year of meme-ification, he will remembered for the slip of the tongue in his segment as the “Sumbungan ng Hotdog” (rather than Hotline).

Take it away, Guy Fieri:

hotdog

 

#1. Rappler’s Struggle

Since January 15, the online news site struggled to cover amidst the revocation of SEC registration to tax evasion charges as a result of publishing critical yet comprehensive articles of the present administration.

With that, their Palace correspondent (Pia Ranada) was barred from entering the Palace complex and further covering the President’s activities and press conferences.

poy-guardians-ressa.jpeg

With the hashtags that support and defend the site since then after series of posting bail, its CEO, Maria Ressa, became one of TIME Persons of the Year as “guardians” in the “war on truth,” alongside assassinated Saudi Arabian columnist Jamal Khashoggi, two Reuters journalists from Myanmar for covering the Rohingya massacre and the staff of a Maryland newspaper got involved in the shooting.

The heads of the DDS fanatics and apologists were like:

Kingsman head explosion

 

Special Mentions

  • GMA Online Exclusives
  • Reinvigoration of iWant
  • Return of Precious Hearts Romances on ABS-CBN
  • Studio 7
  • Government radio stations on Top 10 (FM1 87.5, FM2 104.3 and RP1 738)
  • Alleged palakasan and privacy violations by Manila Broadcasting Company on sacking DJ Aira and Kara
  • Billboard Philippines’ sudden demise
  • Wish 107.5 rolling a new mobile bus in America
  • Gino Quillamor’s departure from Monster RX 93.1
  • Gretchen Fullido’s harassment case
  • The decrease of ABS-CBN’s regional programming in for their centralized HD conversion and digital television testing.
  • The meme-ification of augmented reality in 24 Oras.
  • Self-acclaimed (Di umanong) paranormal expert Ed Caluag on KMJS Gabi ng Lagim
  • Net 25 achieving three new PMPC Star Awards (two for Children’s Show & Host and one for Musical Variety Show due to ASAP’s hall of fame status)

Postscript

After five years, 247 Facebook Page likes and 100,000 hits, it has been a long journey.

I would like to thank the following, specific people (stans) that made the Turf this 2018: Rexdel Yabut Mallari, Charles Miguel Tapuyao and of course, the most loyal of them all, Gian Paolo de la Cruz.

The 2018 blogging season is sealed; let’s call that a year.

From Timow’s Turf, we greet everyone with an exuberant…

happy-new-year-colorful-fireworks-over-city-animated-gif

Continue liking our Facebook page. Follow also on Medium.

Photos (not counting GIF) courtesy of: Inside Manila, Adobo Tech and Time Magazine