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.


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 itsĀ  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.


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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Timow’s QuOP No. 5: If the Philippines Gets Its Own Film Review Aggregator

TOMORROW, all cinemas nationwide will not screen any Hollywood and local commercial films to give way for qualified local films of the weeklong Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP), rolling on its second year.
For the cinematographic intellectuals and its deviants, this is considered to be the deserved alternative to the commercially-ridden Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) during the holiday season.
For that matter, the Turf thought out loud for this QuOP: “Why don’t we have a critics’ score on our local films just like in Rotten Tomatoes?”

If only we had enough sophisticated film critics here, this project could get along.

This question is different from the bilingual MTRCB ratings (classified for audience suitability and displayed in the booth and before the film proper) and the Cinema Evaluation Board’s grading system (classified for the quality and corresponding rebate of amusement taxes).
The user ratings from Google and Internet Movie Database (IMDb) are deemed not counted as they are mere “armchair” film analysts that don’t consider deeper details of cinematography.
I know what you’re thinking: our local films are cheap in general cinematography and lackadaisical in diversification.
Most of you, dear readers, would start pointing fingers at Star Cinema, now celebrating its silver jubilee. Initially, yes, they took the flight but time takes its toll and loses its brightness. Well, I can’t blame you amidst the floods of rage from bandwagoning, clueless, die-hard fans of artists involved with the production company.
However, this year is marked with a patch of versatile cinematography worthy to be commercially released, such as Citizen Jake (dir. Mike De Leon), currently, BuyBust (Erik Matti) and by next month, Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral (Jerrold Tarog).
Okay, maybe, one film is perceived to be not worthy — ahem, Jacqueline Comes Home (Ysabelle Peach Caparas).

The Answer and The Backlog

The answer can be found on Quora, in which the question was originally asked by an Indian, by someone who worked for Rotten Tomatoes:

First, I think you would have to make sure that you have a plentiful and reliable enough sources for quality film reviews.

I think of the unremarked qualities of Rotten Tomatoes is the support and coverage that we have from professional film critics. In order to qualify for the Tomatometer, critics (or their publications) have to meet a minimum standard that includes a minimum number of film reviews per year and accreditation in a film critic society. This is possible because free-ranging film criticism is one of those odd, historical legacies made possible by the likes of the great Pauline Kael and Roger Ebert where their writings are venerated and subsidized even if they have critical opinions of films which are advertised in big page-size ad in the very same newspaper.

In addition, the expert posed two rhetorical questions before building our own RT (adapted for Filipinos).
  • Are there enough high-quality film review sources who are reliably covering a high quantity of movies and are unafraid to unleash critically, but fair opinions?
  • Are there enough Filipino film fans who are actually interested in seeing quality ratings for films?
Answering the first question, we have notorious film critics such as Rogue Magazine‘s Philbert Dy, Rappler‘s Oggs Cruz or‘s Wanggo Gallaga but it’s not enough. In addition, a conflict could arise, especially if a resident film critic currently works for ABS-CBN. For the second, it seems to be on the rise, arising two factors both from social media: from being autodidactic and employing Twitter’s thread functionality to put their words coherently without losing track.
Assuming we had enough number of critics to be hired by newspapers and news sites, the critics’ rating can now be calculated.
On RT, their meter is on the percentage scale — the number of critical thumbs ups divided by total critics participating. It needs at least 60% to be classified as “Fresh” or else it will be declared “Rotten.” In order to be “Certified Fresh,” it must be at least 75% and must be approved by at least five Top Critics (applies only by wide-release).
What will our classification be if anyone wants to start up that project? What will be a “Certified Fresh” equivalent? Well, that depends on you.
Accessing recently for the critics’ rating of any Filipino films registered in their database, Heneral Luna (2015, Tarog) was rated 71% (5 out of 7 reviews) and BuyBust at 73% (8 out of 11 reviews). Both records are not declared “certified fresh” since it lacks the required number of top critics.
Imagine if Jose Rizal (1998, Marilou Diaz-Abaya) were to be assessed, it could point towards fresh while Star Cinema’s typical rom-com and its recent blockbuster MMFF entries, despite the constant stream of domestic box office success, would be tilted near to 0%, due to the tried-and-tested story model to rake even more profit but not taking any artistic risks reaped from that proceeds.

Potential implications & reality check

Just like the American counterpart, the potential impact of this ambitious project would threaten the marketing of our Big 3 major film studios (Star Cinema, Viva Films, Regal Entertainment); if their pieces were praised, they could go on and take better risk and if they were called out, they must shape out or get ditched.
The second would be the multitude of awarding organizations (e.g. FAMAS, PMPC, Guillermo Mendoza). Their awarding could be swayed from its ratings but sometimes, they defy it and favor any inherent yet obscured lobbying — remaining both unsurprising and eyebrow-raising.
In reality, the materialization and its sustenance could be hindered by an obvious, describable word: tribalism. That term has been tackled so far on television and radio here on The Turf but in this concerned form, it would arise from the colleagues — particularly on exposing the raise of pride at the expense of other stakeholders.
What do you think: would starting up this endeavor do better for a better Philippine cinema?
Photo courtesy of Disney/Pixar

Philippine TV’s Seven Deadly Sins

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Today is ASH WEDNESDAY, the first day of the penitential season of Lent.

For the simple yet observant faithful, it’s the opening salvo of the season of giving up luxuries, fasting and abstinence from meat (save fish and seafood). For the very pious, it’s also the heralding period to line up for confession and to seek repentance and reparation from such transgressions.

In the spirit, Timow’s Turf will tackle on this topic — the seven deadly sins — and how will it intertwine with the current situation on our television landscape.

The deadly or cardinal sins were inspired loosely from the Scriptures: Book of Proverbs (6:16-19) in the Old Testament and St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (5:19-21) in the New; Pope Gregory I codified the standard seven in AD 590.

For each sin, one or two network/s is leading and certain reasons are given why they’re qualified. However, some definitions of each vice are not to be taken solely from the ordinary dictionary’s interpretation but on spiritual reasoning as well.

Jump in for each revelation.