Rappler

Allowing Foreign Ownership or Direct Investments in the Philippine Media


[Requested by MJH]

LORDING THE HOUSE. House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco is spearheading a radical plan of action for the recovery in COVID-19 and people are still getting skeptical about this.

EARLIER THIS MONTH, House Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco made a pronouncement on amending our Constitution as a path to recovery from the pandemic as Moody’s Analytics feared that our country will be dead last in bouncing back among Asia-Pacific nations. Currently, they are tackled at their Committee on Constitutional Amendments with a problem on which mode they’ll use.

Whenever people think of constitutional reform or in lesser syllables, Charter Change, they are automatically associated with “term extension” for incumbent politicians who do not much represent or do not earn the trust of the public.

However, the third person in the Presidential line of succession specified that the economic provisions (a.k.a. the 60-40 rule) will be amended. The intention to place such an amendment will be put to a public vote next year, alongside the Presidential election.

It may sound radical to you, dear readers, but not for those associated with constitutional reform advocacy groups. Allowing foreign direct investments of all industries (including mass media) is a stepping stone to bounce back our economy from the impacts of the pandemic (e.g. closures of small and non-essential businesses and repatriation of OFWs).

So how does this idea apply to our sphere of mass media?

Quick PH Media History Lesson

The South Triangle Duopoly was founded initially as radio stations in Manila and were operated by American citizens. This is due to the Parity Rights approved in 1947. When President Ferdinand Marcos got his 1973 Constitution ratified (with more protectionism clauses, including mass media) and let the Parity Rights expire the year after. From that point onward, this is where Felipe Gozon and the gang stepped in to get Channel 7 from Robert “Uncle Bob” Stewart (even though the founder stayed in the country until a decade after) and the unforgettable brand of Marcosian cronyism began.

To this day, the present (1987) Charter continues the prohibition of any foreigner or foreigner to own any percentage of ownership in mass media as stated under Article XVI, Sec. 11 (1):

The ownership and management of mass media shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines, or to corporations, cooperatives or associations, wholly-owned and managed by such citizens.

(The) Congress shall regulate or prohibit monopolies in commercial mass media when the public interest so requires. No combinations in restraint of trade or unfair competition therein shall be allowed.

This provision was invoked by GMA Network’s lawyers against TV5 in 2008, which soon resulted in Channel 5’s partnership with MPB Primedia to cease and handed over to the present reins of Manny V. Pangilinan’s MediaQuest.

At the tail-end of the preceding decade, President Rodrigo Duterte accused Rappler of the allegations of being not owned by Filipinos, which a year later lost its registration with the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) for issuing Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs). The same accusation is thrown against the Six-Letter Media Giant by Congress last year that put their lease in life as a TV broadcaster to its consequential fate.

In this living zeitgeist of the challenged yet the globalized economy, they say, Nadine Lustre-style, that it’s “2021 na, not 19-copung-copung.” For Velasco’s case, they’ll append the wordings “unless provided by law” but constitutional reform advocates (even the most hardcore ones) wanted those provisions deleted altogether.

Removing the barriers of entry doesn’t mean a sudden — albeit, gradually — the hegemonic takeover of the nearest rising superpower than the traditional one but as an encouragement to challenge head-to-head competition between their firms and ours and a means to diversify our portfolio and sources of funding. (For a start, we can make amends with Southeast Asian neighbors.)

 

What Would Happen in Our Media?

Tackling the pros and cons of lifting economic barriers in all industries is cumbersome but we can tackle it in one specific industry: the media industry. How will this result?

First of all, we cannot undo the specifics that they agree upon. For one, we already adopted the digital TV standard, the ISDB-T from Japan, but it significant deficiencies. Like in the Land of the Rising Sun, we are in the Pacific Ring of Fire wherein earthquakes are prone in the world. In the originating country, they already made the technology of the Early Earthquake Warning System but we didn’t due to misunderstanding with involved stakeholders (e.g. PHIVOLCS, NTC and digital TV receiver manufacturers). Nevertheless, if any of their expertise stationed here, then we could have set a clear policy for the whole Emergency Warning Broadcast System (EWBS).

Operations-wise, liberalizing the economy could mean easier content distribution. For an anime fan, they want the latest anime to reach our shores (legally) as soon as possible.

The Networks’ Response

  • Had that Six-Letter Broadcaster continued with the lease of their life in the free airwaves, they would procure high-tech cameras and their transmission equipment would’ve gone into an astounding 4K UHD quality by now and everyone else would follow. *sigh*
  • GMA’s endless promotion of Voltes V: Legacy will finally be materialized when representatives of Toei Company get the checking and supervision in-site.
  • TV5, the network that aired last year’s Asian Television Awards, will probably take some cues and best practices from their continental neighbors.
  • For CNN Philippines, they will have an easier link with the headquarters in Atlanta and other worldwide bureaus.
  • PTV will easily make partnerships with public broadcasters around the world. (Good luck getting the audience though.)

On OTT

 

Perhaps, the best case for raising economic liberalization is due to this news. In 30 days, Disney+ will enter Southeast Asian territory, specifically in Singapore and soon in their neighbor, Malaysia. And here at home, we all just wonder why and drool with jealousy and envy.

 

Conclusion

The mistakes of 2020, including the after-effects of the pandemic, will continue to persist this year and beyond if we don’t get a course of action and this is just one of them.

Of course, removing protectionist provisions doesn’t mean we have to go with the status quo as the reformists persistently believed. Pitching to make our country business-friendly is not a simple walk in the park if the leaders and representatives do not behave well, especially with the incumbent leadership. (No wonder, they wanted a shift to a parliamentary form of governance but that would be a story for another time.)


What do you think? Is it the best time to lift the restrictive economic provisions?


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Photos courtesy of House of Representatives of the Philippines and Walt Disney Company

Will a People’s Initiative for a Broadcast Franchise Prosper?


[Requested by Charles Michael Tapuyao]

“LABAN KAPAMILYA!”

That is the battle cry of ABS-CBN supporters that continues to surge on the streets and online almost seven months after they were off the air, almost five months since Congress rejected the broadcast franchise renewal and almost two months under the new blocktime agreement with ZOE Broadcasting Network as A2Z.

But that is not enough. All they wanted is to restore to its pre-shutdown state — at least on TV (since radio could be easily taken away to new applicants).

Other than the two approaches that will end up being fruitless and dismissed as noise, another mode is made through a petition, dubbed as PIRMA Kapamilya.

The aim of PIRMA Kapamilya is to get enough signatures by the end of this year (27 days from now). Despite the negative limelight during his stint in public office, former Vice President Jejomar Binay took part.

While some are brave enough to go outside and wrestle their pen on paper, others are scared to do so because of the real concentration of political power that will lead to calculated, certain failure.

In this post, we might ask the following questions: How does the People’s Initiative work? How do some professionals see the situation? How will the remaining media outlets respond? Are there any other ways and when will they come back if ever?

 

What is the People’s Initiative?

The People’s Initiative is a broad term that is divided into classes: a mode of amending the Constitution or a mode of pushing an initiative (national or local) to become a statute of its own, aside from those passed in the traditional procedures in Congress.

To amend the Constitution, Article XVII, Section 2 provides:

Amendments to this Constitution may likewise be directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition of at least twelve per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered votes therein. No amendment under this section shall be authorized within five years following the ratification of this Constitution nor oftener than once every five years thereafter.

The Congress shall provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right.

For the legislative initiative or referendum, Article VI, Section 32 states:

The Congress shall, as early as possible, provide for a system of initiative and referendum, and the exceptions therefrom, whereby the people can directly propose and enact laws or approve or reject any act or law or part thereof passed by the Congress or local legislative body after the registration of a petition therefor signed by at least ten per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters thereof.

The enabling law is cemented and reaffirmed in Republic Act No. 6735, passed on August 4, 1989.

The Characteristics and the Process of People’s Initiative

In the present case, this is considered a national initiative. The petition must include the following (Sec. 5, RA No. 6735):

  • contents or text of the proposed law sought to be enacted, approved or rejected, amended or repealed, as the case may be
  • the proposition
  • the reason or reasons therefor;
  • that it is not one of the exceptions provided herein;
  • signatures of the petitioners or registered voters; and
  • an abstract or summary proposition in not more than one hundred (100) words which shall be legibly written or printed at the top of every page of the petition.

To get it passed, it should get a signature of 10% of registered voters nationwide, of which a part (legislative districts) must be represented at least 3%.

Within 30 days from the receipt of the petition, the Commission of Elections (COMELEC) will determine the sufficiency of the petition. If it’s sufficient, it will publish the same in Filipino and English at least twice in newspapers of general and local circulation and set the date of the initiative or referendum not be earlier than forty-five (45) but not later than ninety (90) days.

If a majority passes, it becomes a law of its own with the usual effective date (15 days after publication in the Gazette or two newspapers in general circulation). If it fails, the prevailing law maintains.

The Recent Attempt for a P.I.

The recent attempt for a People’s Initiative arose from the Million People March in August 2013, arising from the Napoles pork barrel scam bombshell report a month ago. From June to August 2014, a multisectoral alliance-driven proposition wants to criminalize pork barrel fund creation and spending. However, the Supreme Court made the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional.

Despite the unconstitutionality of both mechanisms, Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma (who lead that particular people’s initiative) reiterated the importance as members of Congress continued to enjoy other forms of discretionary funds and often, under different names.

The initiative failed to turn out because other than the lack of knowledge of the situation, some families who had children enrolled in schools under politicians’ pork-funded scholarships refused to sign the proposition. In other words, they were threatened.

 

The Effectiveness of the PIRMA Kapamilya (present) situation

Media enthusiasts (who are not network fantards or serial haters) and related professionals (e.g. electronics engineering) are divided on this matter.

Political scientists but are non-lawyers have a split opinion on the matter, even if they have otherwise convictions, but they mostly agree that it couldn’t happen with the remaining 18 months of the presidential mandate.

Those who took up law and became attorneys have doubts about the legalistic perspective of this initiative. For one, two attorney-commentators of a radio show in DWIZ 882 kHz wouldn’t see this prosper. Their main argument is that granting a broadcast franchise of a private corporation will depend exclusively on the desire of Congress. Other lawyers have seen no explicit provisions prohibiting it — meaning a potential loophole exists that would allow PIRMA Kapamilya to proceed.

 

The (Impossible) Media Coverage

Should this particular movement happen, even though it would sound surreal and impractical, it would play a role in the media coverage. We can agree that no surviving media networks would hold ever hold a marathon for this prospective initiative as it is not like in Election Day. However, each network has a different response if the PIRMA Kapamilya gets in the way:

Surviving TV networks

  • GMA, their former competitor, would be hesitant to cover; not even on GMA News TV or their news website.
  • For TV5, where a chunk of the Kapamilya talents took refuge through blocktimers, it won’t happen on the main channel but One PH would tackle it on every radio program simulcast. Their news site, InterAksyon, could cover with updates.
  • CNN Philippines, where some of their personalities used to work on ABS, could cover in certain newscasts and some programs (e.g. The Source).
  • Government media networks like PTV and IBC wouldn’t cover the matter as their newscasts favor the incumbent President and defend with all their hearts and minds. The former may have enough time but the latter cannot as it is committed to the DepEd TV distance learning program.
  • SMNI, the “enabler” media outlet behind the fall of Mother Ignacia due to the opinions and news angles against the former media giant, would not deliver it; if it did, they would comment in a pessimistic angle. Other denomination-influenced UHF networks wouldn’t care.

Radio

As we said on DWIZ 882, this will be skeptical due to the personalities, even though one displaced Kapamilya talent (Vic de Leon Lima) was there. DZRH, where Dos Por Dos is on right now, will be a 50-50. For those who are asking about DZBB 594 or Radyo 5 92.3 News FM, look above for GMA’s and TV5’s insights, respectively. Philippine Broadcasting Service (PBS) AM stations will follow PTV’s path (ignore ’em).

Social media news sites

Rappler — the closest ally of Mother Ignacia as they are one of the common critical media outlets of this incumbent administration — would be interested.

 

Another Ways or Wait until 2022

Should this prosper, there would be taking objections from lawyers and they will file petitions to the Supreme Court. Let’s face it, in the end, judicial rulings are mostly decided on technicalities and often, the influence of the appointees rather than on the spirit and sentiment based on historical facts.

Jojo Ragragio’s column on Malaya Business Insight and few members of the legal academe on Twitter thought that this particular movement would not prosper but instead use that mode to review, repeal and replace the legislation behind the weaponization: Act No. 3864, a.k.a. Radio Control Law, which was enacted in 1931 – four years before our country became the transitionary Commonwealth – that was subsequently amended in 1950.

In Congress, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman immediately filed House Bill 299 after the committee’s rejection but they need a replacement to comply with the more modern framework for frequency spectrum management. At this juncture, it will be impossible to proceed as it is not considered a priority — even if there is a congressional leadership putsch after the change of speakership from Alan Cayetano to Lord Allan Velasco — and it may not be the attention as long as the power is virtually absolute at the helm of the strongman in the Palace.

For some netizens, it was their final straw and they decided to join the organizations that advocates for a total rewrite and rectification of the Constitution where its aim is to remove the protectionist provisions (ICYDK, under the present charter, media ownership must be fully-owned and maintained by Filipino citizens and corporations) and shifting to a new form of government before they proceed with this. While it has gained momentum lately, this push might not succeed due to the remaining time left until the next election and other measures to tackle within their club.

That being said, the safest (yet disappointing) way would be to put it into the wish list (open letter) for the next presidential administration — even if a candidate wouldn’t care about the heavily-defined incident during their future campaign. We hope that whoever we choose on May 9, 2022, can hear about this on his or her maiden State of the Nation Address on July 25, 2022.


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Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN

Pilipinas, Are You Not Overentertained (and Underinformed)?


[Requested by Gian Paolo Dela Cruz]

ABS-CBN News Chief Ging Reyes made an admission in her employer that their offerings made its audience “overentertained and underinformed” on a virtual forum last October 23.

OVER A MONTH AGO, — October 23, to be exact — ABS-CBN News Chief Ging Reyes admitted during a virtual forum where the audience is “overentertained and underinformed” and the employer was felt “guilty” for that.

Opinions on her divulgence are very sharp as knives.

Serial haters would admonish her and her employer hardly and eat their humble pie after the media giant “rightfully deserved” to lose their free-to-air broadcast license a bit more than half a year ago.

Others had different yet valid views on their different aspects like the association of language and straightforwardness and the structure of segments (showbiz segments before every commercial break and light news item to wrap up the hard news).

Others wanted to go escapism — simply put, staying away from newscasts (even before the pandemic) — as they are fed up with the “he said/she said” type of journalism that surviving media entities espoused under the reign of populist demagoguery with spokespersons making possible spins and excuses to cover up possible harm. In other words, they are tired of gaslighting.

The way we consume the news is changing from newspapers to radio to TV to web and to mobile. All media entities have to capitalize on the use of modern technology to keep up with the times. In this era, you can tell which outlet it comes from, judging by their color schemes and fonts on their posts; the common ground on all outlets is that they emphasize the headline and the summary of the story (with the link appending). This is a common psychological argument.

Because of social media, screenshots of the trending list on Twitter were shared and so are the picturesque scenes with proper attribution.

Thanks to this medium, they are prone to disinformation. Thankfully, fact-checking outlets like Rappler and VERA Files worked hard to refute most false claims that are posted like wildfire. However, die-hard supporters don’t matter and it won’t stop posting praises for their political idols as if every act is always right in their eyes.

But things became different afterward…

Challenging the claims, a month after

One month after Ms. Reyes made that remark, significant events transpired.

Super Typhoon Rolly (November 1)

One week post-confession, Mother Nature gave a challenge. On All Saints’ Day, Supertyphoon Rolly (international name: Goni) battered Bicol and two provinces of Calabarzon (i.e. Quezon and Batangas).

While the common argument spewed by the incumbent administration supporters that “there are other media entities,” they failed to include the factor of two R’s — reach and reputation.

In terms of reach, not everyone — even in far-flung areas like Catanduanes — has cable or satellite. Internet connectivity from the telco towers is severely affected. The AM/FM radio is accessible but it does not get the full picture; television depicts how deadly the storm is and how the damage on the trail is conveyed that cannot be expressed in words.

Assuming that all networks had the same reach as ABS was, the reputation come into play:

  • GMA is, therefore, next in line and people expected better. Alas, that was not the case. Their News TV didn’t cover the swathe of destruction throughout that Sunday as, after airing the press briefing, they aired an anime block, a Lakorn and a Christmas movie (in that order), let alone covering hourly updates. Let’s face it, the channel’s daytime simulcast of DZBB from mid-March — when the lockdown began — until September was their best feat. The funny thing is that their Affordabox has an emergency warning broadcast system (EWBS) feature.
  • TV5 was committed with Brightlight Production programs on that day but they have their news advisory in the free-to-air platform but One News PH, which is exclusive on Cignal, delegated most of the coverage. *verification needed*
  • PTV — despite being the “best” media entity, according to fanatics — did not really do well; they waited until 10:00 a.m. for the NDRRMC press conference. During that coverage, Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara said that the typhoon has just passed from the province. People wouldn’t watch that, aside from the most obvious hint that the network’s news items are always defensive of the sitting administration (either through Spokesperson Harry Roque or Senator Bong Go on the Laging Handa Public Briefing).
  • CNN Philippines would have done a better job had it not for being preoccupied with the recently contested US presidential election. The public under class C and below would not understand because the majority of their newscasts are delivered mostly in English and the network is straightforward and deemed intelligent.

Typhoon Ulysses (mid-November)

Two weeks after Rolly, Typhoon Ulysses (Vamco) battered Luzon once again and this time, the denuded terrains of Sierra Madre (the natural typhoon barrier) splurged brown floodwaters and as a result of evaporation, mud, over Marikina City, Quezon province and — at worst — Cagayan Valley. GMA covered it right this time over the wrath and damage.

In an interview with ANC the following Monday, Isabela governor Rodito Albano III bemoaned the absence of ABS-CBN’s news crew. Christian Esguerra, the anchor, lectured out that his brother (Antonio) was involved — with four other congressmen in the province — in killing the franchise renewal bid last July 10 that consequentially killed the whole Regional Network Group on August 31.

When Vice President Leni Robredo showed up and requested AFP for rescue, President Duterte didn’t show up as he was busy with the virtual international summits via video conferencing.

Days after the loud trend of #NasaanAngPangulo, he spouted pettiness in his weekly address to the nation. Going too far, netizens are enforcing the lessons learned from the U.S. presidential election, to step up the game.

An opinion piece from a guest has posted on Rappler last Monday, giving a hint on what media should do when the President consistently lies. This was written in light of the defeat of incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump, who still denies and refuses to concede publicly to his opponent, President-Elect Joe Biden in the recent contest.

For one, few influential netizens easily accused GMA Network’s Palace correspondent Joseph Morong of being a mere transcriber sifting any trash before posting the summary than as a journalist with guts like his fellow, Atom Araullo (who ventured now in documentaries), has tweeted:

If one could put an American comparison, they want someone more of a Jake Tapper or a Jim Acosta over a Chanel Rion.

 

Back to the Question! (Conclusion)

With these challenges transpired and finally manifested by the cases and arguments from different faces of the dice (instead of a coin as it has just two), are we overentertained and underinformed?

We cannot make a judgment; we all understand what has happened. Like what Anime Kabayan (a.k.a.) Marlo Magtibay said ahead of us, the answer is now up to your discernment.


 

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Photo courtesy of N3Con.com

SolGen Calida’s Quo Warranto Move vs. ABS-CBN and the Effect of Media Industry


[Requested by Ian Santos]

SolGen Jose Calida

Solicitor General Jose Calida

AS THE SAGA of Mother Ignacia’s reckoning continues with less than seven weeks until their Congressional franchise expires, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN yesterday to the Supreme Court personally by wheels.

He claimed that they had some foreign ownership (which is completely forbidden under the Constitution) through Philippine depositary receipts (PDRs) — the same reason he pitted against Rappler two years ago.

We have heard that Latin legal term when Maria Lourdes Sereno was ousted from being Chief Justice and lost the official ordinal numbering back in 2018 over her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) — the same document that had her predecessor, Renato Corona, impeached and convicted. However, the quo warranto can also affect corporations since they are defined as a “juridical person” in our Civil Code.

During the running stint as the principal lawyer of the country, Calida accomplished over other pivotal, political events: the arrest of Sen. Leila de Lima, Marcos’ burial in Libingan ng mga Bayani and the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao after the battle in Marawi.

So what will happen if the Court heeds the call (despite the legal experts’ thought of outright dismissal)?

With the Supreme Court being majority appointed by the sitting President, it should not be a surprise if their handed decision is to void the franchise (or further, the corporate existence) of ABS-CBN before March 30 and the subsequent motion of reconsideration is quashed.

Should that happen, the deliberations in Congress regarding their specific renewal would be moot and moved onward with other businesses. The endeavors of the digital television transition could, therefore, be delayed or be mooted since it leaps onward to video-on-demand streaming. Aside from the hypothetical, individual scenarios, competitors might have to kowtow to their policies without questioning until the next presidential election or further, if the President’s anointed one (whoever that is) gets elected.

Ordinary citizens are powerless in fighting with the bad system and/or people that come into play. In addition, our collective short attention spans that hinder our remembrance are not helpful at all — putting it on ourselves to the permanent, stagnant mindset that we are labeled by the rest of the world today. That’s how we voted for and we kept it with pride: when a person does not like something because he is not doing a good job and refuses to accept constructive criticism, it becomes a permanent public policy and leaves a significant mark that will last beyond their term.

That being said, Calida is part of the planner of revenge against President Duterte’s pettiness against perceived enemies — be it from the strong persons in the opposition or from the institutions whose primary job is to be held accountable with their dealings as public servants.

When his coterminous term ends in 2022 alongside the appointer, his decisions, including this one, will definitely be a part of the real legacy of this administration (not the ones set up by the PCOO that was failed to be defended further — oh wait, wrong network!). However, the reversibility of any damage done will take more than one term to recover after leaving but as we said about attention spans, such things will become permanent into the history books.


 

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Photo courtesy of The Philippine Star (philstar.com)

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

Swiping Through the ’10s: 2012


What are your best memories for 2012?

Mostly, about the Mayans but it didn’t destroy the planet.

We remember how Gotye swoons and Carly Rae Jepsen bops out of our ears but most of all, we dance to PSY’s Gangnam Style. In addition, Grumpy Cat was born and we shouted “Ermahgerd!”

We swoon over EXO and One Direction but we bash Chicser. We remember how we put Paula Salvosa (the Amalayer Girl) to shame.

Marvel’s The Avengers trumps The Hunger Games.

Rappler formally launches and is easily accepted as a new means of delivering the news in the age of social media.

For the first time, Chinese New Year becomes a national (special non-working) holiday.

What else happened in 2012?

(more…)

#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

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 ClicktheCity.com‘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

The Turf’s Midyear Report 2018


THE FIRST HALF of 2018 is nearly ending but before we head on the second half, it’s time for a midyear recap of the nine noteworthy and hidden-now-amplified moments of Philippine media.

Why nine? It’s the half of 18, obviously.

These stories are arranged in no particular order.

New League, New Crowd

MPBL 2018 logo

Initiated last January 25, the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League – a spiritual successor to late 1990s Metropolitan Basketball Association — was participated by 10 teams, all hailed from Luzon.

Despite no intention to be a competitor to the PBA, the geographically based basketball league drew much crowd from the professional league of corporate teams.

Since June 12, the league expanded almost thrice to 26, divided between the Northern and Southern Conference, making it difficult for S+A to cover and at the same time, crushing the ongoing FIFA World Cup.

As of press time, they are now currently playing in the Datu Cup.

Loss of Billboard PH

bbph

The last update of the localized Billboard charts was on January 15 – the same day, overshadowed, the SEC revoked Rappler’s registration.

While there is no official explanation for that inactivity, the probable reason is the breach of contract between Billboard USA and Algo-Rhythm Communications for undue obligations. Some, ludicrously, said that it was intended with the rise of Ex Battalion (which “Hayaan Mo Sila” charted No. 2 in Philippine Top 20) and IV of Spades.

Their website domain that holds it is now vacant; their loss is gain for FM radio station’s biased charts and third-party socmed-based chart aggregators.

End of the Road for Two Things

2nd Avenue logo

Solar Entertainment’s 2nd Avenue parked at the dead end on June 5 (until Saturday for provincial) after 12 years. On the free-to-air territory, it marked the restoration of original RJTV and at the same time, its analog transmission finally shut down, marking it as the second channel to go digital after Light Network 33.

Nonetheless, Solar introduced their encrypted digital TV box, competing against ABS-CBN TV Plus, called Easy TV Super Digibox.

Cable Shakeups and Online Streaming

Cord Cutter

The first half of 2018 trembled the local cable industry — both on cable channels and providers.

On the cable provider, Dream Satellite TV, the pioneer direct-to-home satellite television service since 2001, closed shop with mounting debts and unpaid fees.

On cable channels, fate was done in different methods:

  • Renaming. After almost 19 years, Lifestyle became The Metro Channel last April 2.
  • Specialization downsizing. Last May, Bloomberg Philippines’ programs were downsized and integrated to One News after their license expired.
  • Shutdowns. On New Year’s Day, Jack CT (Solar) shut down. ABS-CBN closed Tag and their Regional Channel on January 15 and at the end of that month, Hero finally bade farewell for anime fans. Toonami SE Asia followed suit two months after.

While GMA did not venture further into cable, it launched its Online Exclusives (ONE). Ex Battalion did not join in the fray until last June 11.

It’s Overtime

Last February, ABS-CBN did an unthinkable tactic to kill Ika-6 na Utos’ popularity before the near end of the early afternoon teleserye that lasted a year and three months. They forced to go overtime in It’s Showtime — particularly on Tawag ng Tanghalan — with Vice Ganda spending time with his/her comedic bantering over the microphone. The tactic affected other shows that come after with GMA fought back by extending their early evening newscast (24 Oras) or Wowowin. The practice of setting time on the airing of the shows, including imposing the digital clock in GMA’s news program, was omitted.

The antics from ABS continue, trying to compete Contessa, but to no avail were better in ratings.

After IANU concluded, it’s one of the leading ladies, Ryza Cenon, jumped ship to Mother Ignacia, joining FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.

Mekeni, Mekeni, Maraming Controversy

baganiABS-CBN’s primetime fantasy series Bagani faced criticisms before its premiere on March 5. On casting, it was particularly over Liza Soberano (hold her “sinigang” quip) and on the portrayal of the namesake came from historical societies, indigenous groups and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). While it is too late to change casting for the former, to appease the latter, a disclaimer was incorporated to recognize the indigenous peoples using the term and drew inspiration.

Despite its derivation from Philippine mythology, the show currently did not end up as serious as other fantaseryes — either here or its rival – which drew Suzette Doctolero, the head writer on GMA, to a boil, particularly on portraying Babaylans.

Nearly Forgotten

Remember Brillante Mendoa’s Amo that was promised on TV5 (now, The 5 Network) last year? The show was nearly drowned out due to the sporting deal with ESPN and fixing their identity.

Brillante Mendoza Amo

The network signed the deal with Netflix to distribute it over the streaming service platform to the global audience in April 9 as the first Filipino series. However, not everyone is pleased due to the message it delivers but Netflix — having an array of original and borrowed series — gives anyone choices.

After almost two weeks in the global premiere, the network finally aired the series every Saturdays.

105.9 FM: The Cursed Radio Frequency

If you’re in the Metro Manila market, you have heard about the recent change over that radio frequency.

The radio station, as Like 105.9 FM, dressed for the sixth time (fifth in the blocktimer) as an Adult Top 40 station, “trying to beat Mellow 94.7” (JRDV, 2018) without prior notice on May 26-27 weekend — not even in social media.

Ominous signs why they concelead their announcement happened since November: downsizing of DJs, the significant rise of neighbors’ recognition which translates to unsatisfied performance and unpaid debts from the last blocktimer as RETRO.

The Turf initially called it the IBC 13 of FM Radio while Kim Martin, a resident commenter of From the Tube, called it a Lindsay Lohan.

PTV under fire

People’s Television Network (PTV) caught on spotlight last April when the Commission on Audit found out in the GOCC’s audit report that 60 million pesos worth of ad placement from the Department of Tourism to Ben Tulfo’s media outfit (being a blocktimer for the network) had no proper documentation.

It made Jules Guiang, one of the network’s talents who is principled but politically different from the echo chamber, outraged. Because of that emphasis, the issue of conflict of interest between then-Secretary Wanda Teo and her brothers surfaced.

While Wanda was finally sacked, her brothers temporarily left from the limelight and returned in radio in the Philippine Broadcasting Service, covering on the television, still doing the thing they do best (or worse, depending on one’s standpoint): worshipping Duterte in high heavens. The money is never returned, despite being said.

For PTV, they are planning to air shows from mainland China as China Theatre, dubbed in Filipino, come August.

Special mentions:

  • ABS-CBN News going full HD
  • Launch of ANC X
  • Changes in ABS-CBN regionally produced shows due to DTT: ending Agri Tayo Dito and Mag TV Na (Kapamilya Mas Winner Ka on the weekend) and consolidation TV Patrol regionals next week
  • GMA’s 24 Oras went over a week-long “dressing room” change in character generation
  • Sherlock Jr., despite the criticism from the title and the style of the trailer, actually deviated from Arthur Conan Doyle’s adaptation or from the BBC.
  • MNL48 formation on It’s Showtime (and underlying controversy from fans)
  • Launch of LIGA
  • One billion YouTube views of Wish 107.5’s YouTube channel
  • Departure of DJ Gino Quillamor from Monster RX 93.1

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Thoughts on Journalists as Product Endorsers


NOTE: The following emergency blog post does not follow the usual mechanism of By Popular Request due to From the Tube’s two-week blogcation. The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those on McDonald’s Philippines and other affected companies.

YESTERDAY, McDonald’s branches across the country celebrated National Breakfast Day from 7 to 8 a.m. with a free Burgerdesal if you were queued.

The annual promo was easily followed over traditional and social media. Celebrities like Alden Richards (in Sta. Rosa, Laguna branch) and Maine Mendoza (in her fully-owned Sta. Clara, Sta. Maria, Bulacan branch) attract most customers, especially if one belongs to the AlDub nation.

While entertainment celebrities as endorsers are a normal way, one of the endorsers is a renowned journalist. Atom Araullo teamed up with his 5 And Up colleague, Chynna Ortaleza, in Madison, San Juan branch.

Coinciding with the event, Atom alone endorsed McCafe with the YouTube video provided below.

Ric Jayson Lucas relayed not one but two questions from ex-TV5 talent Joseph Holandes Ubalde: Isn’t it unethical for legitimate journalists to be product endorsers? Has this changed now?

The answer, according to Danton Remoto, depends on the network policy. While GMA and other networks do not prohibit their journos, the neighboring ABS-CBN explicitly prohibited it as set and reinforced by then-head and now head of the now-embattled news site Rappler, Maria Ressa.

That ruling made Mel Tiangco shift after endorsing Green Cross with Jay Sonza in the 1990s.

Ironically, Ubalde himself used to endorse a not-so familiar clothing brand.

On the second question, does the policy changed through the wind? So far, it’s too low to blow it away — it varies from network to network — but in the end, an individual journalist must be aware of the ethical implications if it were to endorse their potential products.


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With thanks to Guien Garma, Rey Refran and Ymman Jake Biaco