KathNiel

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

#PHTVzg2015: ABS-CBN


[Author’s note: #PHTVzg2015 stands for Philippine Television Zeitgeist 2015, a five-part year-ender series.]

Another year has come and gone, but before we enter the sweet 2016, the Turf looks back on the roller-coaster moments of ABS-CBN.

Star-studded for the Papal Visit (January). Five Kapamilya stars (Lyca Gairanod, Angeline Quinto, Jed Madela, Darren Espanto & Erik Santos) performed in different venues of the itinerary of Pope Francis’ five-day visit. The Voice Kids Season 1 champion, Lyca Gairanod, performed “Tell the World of His Love” before the main program of Encounter with Families at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. Quinto, Madela and Espanto performed during the Encounter with the Youth at the University of Santo Tomas and Erik Santos sang the Responsorial Psalm at the Concluding Mass at Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park.

Trashing film tourism (February to May). Success does not need to trash the wondrous creation but the aftermath of such in teleserye “Forevermore” and the film “That Thing Called Tadhana” came with the attention of collateral damage in Cordillera. Located in Tuba, Benguet, the filming location of LizQuen’s primetime drama became a hit tourist destination but its watershed contributed significant damage. The criticism is not noticed until May, just as their program is about to end, a writ of kalikasan was issued from the Court of Appeals and thus, forcing the cancellation of the farewell concert there. On the other hand, Angelica Panganiban and JM De Guzman’s indie flick is located in Sagada. Because of immense popularity, the swarming of tourists there left their trashes behind and netizens made rounds of criticism.

The Declining and the Denial (February-present). ASAP reached 20 this year but the longevity of the institution paid the decline of its domestic base as viewers at home are fed up with repetitive dance movements and its lack of innovation. When its Kamuning neighbor decided to scrap the cowardice Sunday All Stars in favor of the comedic Sunday PinaSaya, they try to compete with the comedic opening but the main host, Martin Nievera, was disappointed with the setup by a tweet. SPS won the ratings game from August and ASAP is decided to shorten their airtime to two hours and again, Nievera remained in denial.

Onward towards DTV. After five years of trial and error, the ABS-CBN TVPlus, nicknamed as the “Mahiwagang Black Box,” is released commercially to selected markets since February 11, with new sub-channels such as Yey! and Cine Mo and existing ones from cable such as Knowledge Channel and DZMM Teleradyo. Nine months later, the high-definition feed of the mainstream channel, ABS CBN HD, is released in selected cable operators (Oct 3).

This Success Sounds Familiar (March to December). Hosted by Billy Crawford, Your Face Sounds Familiar, a new game show franchise, where celebrities impersonates music icons, became a hit for viewers during weekend prime time, not once but twice.

The End of the Buzz (April 5). Easter Sunday this year marked the new life but for Boy Abunda, it marked the death of his showbiz show, The Buzz. Though they would be come back soon, the return is remote from being materialized, thanks to social media. However, the show was posthumously awarded as the Best Showbiz Oriented Talk Show on the 29th PMPC Star Awards.

Duo Dynami-nation (May and August). Primetime Bida for 2015 is mostly significant for the two love teams for social media. KathNiel’s “Pangako Sa ‘Yo” (since May 25) and JaDine’s “On The Wings of Love” (since August 10) hyped up the national Twitter trending list during weekdays.

S+A going full capacity (June 20). From that day, NCAA aired on its new home on ABS-CBN Sports + Action since UAAP was moved to September. The decision of covering the oldest (but not popular) collegiate athletic association would not simply make their Sports Division very busy year-round but astonish their technological advancement to sportscasting.

Pinoy Big Bromance? (June 20). Pinoy Big Brother commemorated its 10th anniversary this year with a new hybrid edition, “PBB 737.” During the early run, when the teens entered the Bahay ni Kuya, the show drew fire over bromance and the action of one housemate, Ryan James Bacalla. Because of this, the 24/7 live cable streaming was pulled out until the teens’ part ended after seven weeks of stay.

It’s Showtime’s immorality segments (August to October). As the Kalyeserye on the Kamuning neighbor became successful, It’s Showtime attempted to counter it with Twerking Girls but it drew fire by a solid Kapamilya netizen. After the controversial celebrity competition, they replaced it with “Nasaan Ka, Mr. Pastillas” featuring Angelica “Pastillas Girl” Yap. However, netizens are unamused by the content as it acts as the antithesis of the norms of traditional Filipino courtship exemplified by its rival. Not only that, the girl herself was also the butt of the joke with one of her old videos posted containing dirty language spreading online with degrading reactions in return. The segment was also compared it to an American reality dating show, “The Bachelorette” and called it “Bugawserye.” Such complaints drew Gabriela Partylist’s attention to call MTRCB and to summon the show’s creators.

Krissy decides to tone down (August-September). (Soon-to-be-outgoing) Presidential sister and veteran Kapamilya, Kris Aquino, narrowly escapes stroke after filming “Etiquette for Mistresses.” Because of the traumatic health effect, she decided to leave “Aquino and Abunda Tonight” and decided to remain only on KrisTV in order to achieve a “healthy work and life balance.”

Hisses from the two entities (August and September). During the Iglesia ni Cristo rally in EDSA in late August, social media blared up messages of the network’s bias against the Church. Few members of INC made a rash payback by mauling one of its camera operators covering the situation. Two weeks later, during a students’ forum in UP Los Banos with Vice President Jejomar Binay, a news writer mistakenly heard the crowd shouting “trapo” (traditional politician) instead of “sample.” Despite of netizens’ praise for the student body’s fearless inquiry over current issues thrown against him (i.e. overpricing infrastructures and making under-the-table deals in Makati City as mayor), the student council demanded the broadcaster’s apology.

Big shot coming from a single bullet (September 28). After Coco Martin’s portrayal as a commando of PNP Special Action Force that was part of the Fallen 44 tribute on MMK, he became the lead role of the TV drama adaptation of the 1997 action film, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.

ANC prepares for APEC. As the Philippines hosted APEC 2015, cable news channel ANC decided to reinstate Cathy Yang as the business news anchor. On October 26, ANC freshened up their identity.

Advertising jealousy (November). With AlDub’s* exponential success, it stripped their endorsers from the last Kapamilya talents (such as McDonalds’ chicken meals from Toni Gonzaga and Nino Muhlach, Hapee toothpaste from Angel Locsin and Rejoice shampoo from Kim Chiu). Because of that phenomenon, according to an insider, some advertisers decided not to renew their contract with ABS-CBN. Hence, the network issued a memo to advertisers that they have a right not to air any commercials that is associated with the rival’s programs, indirectly or directly. Hence, their intentional acts of not airing it, reducing it, splitting Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards apart or omitting Maine whatever possible. Kapamilya fans, belonging to the AlDub* nation, sees it as a form of bitterness (jealousy) and endorsement protectionism, calling both as unfair, as KathNiel and JaDine’s commercials on GMA were aired in full.

Gone from the news, stay for Sunday nights. Despite of departure on TV Patrol and DZMM for her news delivery, Korina Sanchez still maintains Rated K every Sunday night. The said program and the presenter won the Best Magazine Show and Host respectively on the Star Awards.

Talent Newsmakers of 2015

New and shining talents

  • Jana Agoncillo of Dream Dad and Ningning
  • Marco Masa of Nathaniel
  • Elha Mae Nympha of the Voice Kids 2
  • Bailey May and Ylona Garcia (BaiLona) of PBB 737 Teens
  • Tommy Esguerra and Miho Nishida (ToMiho) of PBB 737 Regulars
  • Xymon Ezekiel Pineda (Onyok) of Ang Probinsyano

Migrants from other networks:

  • From GMA: Sarah Lahbati and Elmo Magalona
  • From TV5: Wendell Ramos and Vin Abrenica

Outlook for 2016

Financial and operation wise, the corporation will remain profitable and the transition for digital television as feasible for 2016.

However, the Turf issues a RED ALERT for Mother Ignacia for the New Year.

Despite the revenues of political advertisement making up less percentage of their consolidated revenue, they will go in hot water for favoring former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, the second Aquino administration’s anointed successor, over their flagship news programs and its senatorial lineup would be promoted through their life stories on MMK.

*The AlDub phenomenon will be discussed continuously in the next Zeitgeist (GMA 7).

Addendum: UFC will no longer be under ABS-CBN Sports’ hands this 2016.