[NOTE: If you haven’t read the first part of our year-ender, click HERE before proceeding.]
“If I knew back then what I know now. / If I understood the what, when, why and how. / Now it’s clear to me. What I should have done. / But hindsight is 20/20 vision.”
~George Benson, “20/20” (1985)
THE FIRST year of the New Decade is ending. When we began, this is a year that we expected a “perfect vision” or a show of ambition and surprises. However, we did not foresee an outbreak encroaching the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic puts a halt to the production of those things we looked forward to and puts precarious precautions on the essentials. Coupling with the premeditated fall of a prominent media giant, the surviving competitors fought rapaciously over broadcasting rights much worse than we initially thought or regained and repurposed.
In this two-part of the year-ender, how did the remaining TV networks respond? (NOTE: Let’s just pretend that ABS-CBN and the ZOE deal that forms A2Z are no longer relevant to discussions anymore because, well… you voted for it, you asked for it.)
In the second part, we will tackle the minor networks that garnered significant differences this year.
The real antipode to the fallen media giant regained prominence but not similar to its former glory nearly half a century ago. Instead, the neglected and utterly forgotten state-sequestered TV network was repurposed into a distance learning channel through DepEd TV from Monday to Saturday daytime. The biggest sacrifice, other than ending EZ Shop, is they have to pull the plug on El Shaddai after 28 years and the plan of SMAC Television Production’s Gen Z-hosted and performed noontime show.
In August, the worker’s union claim of perennial mismanagement was at a bad timing as it was eclipsed by the PhilHealth money heist. First, the reported amount of unpaid benefits since 2008 was P 278 million but that was just peanuts compared to PhilHealth’s P 15 billion. Second, PhilHealth’s theft has a much indirect effect on workers; public and private workers around the country are affected since we indirectly pay their premium contributions from our paychecks (they’re mandatory). Third, PhilHealth matters because of universal health coverage that any member would come to their aid when they get sick (especially with the lingering pandemic) as IBC is supposed to convey delivery of education and information.
While their broadcast franchise doesn’t expire until 2025, privatization is the obvious solution to end the myriad of problems but considering the current situation, the initiative couldn’t push anytime soon or worse, it won’t pursue anymore if DepEd TV becomes a permanent staple (which, in fairness, is a much better use of airtime than showing replays of government propaganda shows and home shopping but we’re in doubt over their financial standing).
The pandemic has introduced the daily Laging Handa public briefing since mid-March but it veered away from its intention from being an information handler when it comes to the virus into a front act for Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.
One personality was no longer seen this year: Jules Guiang. The only dissenter in the roster of talents spilled his outspokenness on Twitter by comparing the labor issues of his employer and the fallen media giant which led to his consequential exit that exposed the true colors of Vasra’s broadcast and internal company culture.
During the budget hearing for the Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) in the House of Representatives last September 10 (the same day the National Telecommunications Commission revoked the frequencies of ABS-CBN after an absence of a valid franchise), Secretary Martin Andanar wanted to compete with commercial broadcasters. Why now? Whatever happened to the fully-fledged public broadcaster promised in President Duterte’s maiden SONA four years ago?
Last December 5, PCOO inaugurated the Mindanao Media Hub in the President’s bailiwick in Davao City.
By this time, they are planning to air a noontime show with a working title, Good Laughternoon. The hosts are mostly from participants of Miss World Philippines and comedians who were formerly employed by Allan K’s two closed comedy bars (Klownz and Zirkoh).
This channel is barely changing operations-wise, other than the focus on the pandemic coverage and the entry of Rico Hizon. Twice the channel went off the air because of the presence of COVID-positive employees in their HQ in Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong and thus, they have to be disinfected.
During the U.S. presidential debates season, they are very interrupted due to daily issues here at home like the Speakership show and red-tagging personalities.
At the moment, no room for improvements has been recommended or formulated — even though they have slight drift (i.e. cartoons from Cartoon Network) from living up to its name for pure news and public affairs.
Another prominent TV network that gained attention this year is this UHF TV network near Templo Central in Commonwealth.
During the dual period, they aired a talent show (Tagisan ng Galing) and a noontime show (Happy Time), starring Anjo Yllana, Janno Gibbs and Kitkat. Robin Padilla has two projects from this channel — Unlad: Kaagapay sa Hanapbuhay (an informative program) and Kesayasaya (a musical sitcom).
Two instances are arising from the fallout of Mother Ignacia: the entry of Vic De Leon Lima in their flagship newscast Mata ng Agila; and few versatile talents starring on their first teleserye Ang Daigdig Ko’y Ikaw.
Two prominent beauties came to this network: Emma Mary Tiglao joined the early evening newscast while PBA courtside reporter Apple David became one of the presenters of the breakfast show Pambansang Almusal.
Net25 has promising program offerings this year — even the contemptuous due to obvious religious alignment — but not everyone can reach this network. Despite being the pioneer network in our country’s digital terrestrial TV, they are barely accessible on the free and digital airwaves.
You have to rely on cable (depending on where you live) and on social media with a dependable internet connection.
For 2020, Solar Entertainment is eating their humble pies after losing the carriage disputes of NBA and the ambitious Easy TV offerings since last year. This year, ETC continued such feasting. This channel’s offering was intentionally targeted for feminine and young adult demographics; this year, it into a significant channel drift by adding an old Filipino classic film block called ETCinema and a Tagalog-dubbed Turkishnovela (Endless Love) in their ETCerye.
If a wanderer is portrayed as a digital TV channel, then Broadcast Enterprises and Affiliated Media (BEAM) fit the bill.
These past few years, their channel serves as a digital TV playground where they have no defined purpose than GMA or NET 25 — call it an experimental laboratory, if you will.
This year, two events transpired for that company. On July 30, their broadcast franchise was renewed for another 25 years after affixing President Duterte’s signature. Three months later, the Chooks-to-Go 3×3 tournament gets a dedicated subchannel from this network.
That Being Said…
The year 2020 will forever be an exceptional year and a turning point. EXCEPTIONAL, where the way of life is significantly different than before and a TURNING POINT, where one major player’s fall has made a domino effect on our media consumption.
Few things will be sure arising from the lessons of this sagacious year:
- There will be an overall setback in terms of broadcasting innovation.
- The analog switchover (initially scheduled for end-2023) will certainly push anew to an indefinite date.
- This will signal a sudden acceleration of younger demographics (from the younger half of millennials onwards) abandoning free TV and move on to online streaming (e.g. Netflix, iWantTFC or Kumu) — after attending online classes or working from home.
To paraphrase a quote from Spanish filmmaker Antonio Banderas, people are not that patient anymore.
So what will 2021 bring us? We don’t know but we have crossed the bridge of no return.
I thank the 200+ Facebook users who like our Page, which total to 505 likes.
I thank the following people that defined 2020 for me: Miguele Torres, Rey Refran, Jayson Bustamante and Zyle Samuel A. Hernandez. I also want to thank Trendrod Box for being a complement to this one-man band of a project.
In Twitterlandia, Prof. Danilo Arao, Peter Cayton and JP Tanyag.
Have a healthy New Year. We shall reclaim!
This 2021, continue to like Timow’s Turf on Facebook
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