Some TV Patrol regional editions are still not conforming to the updated graphics

We would like to call the attention of ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs and ABS-CBN Regional, as some of the TV Patrol regional editions are still not yet updating their graphics package similar to the mother newscast, as most of the regional editions have already followed suit.

These are:

  • TV Patrol Cagayan Valley (produced from Santiago)
  • TV Patrol Northern Luzon (produced from Baguio)
  • TV Patrol North Central Luzon (produced from Dagupan)
  • TV Patrol Pampanga
  • TV Patrol Tacloban
  • TV Patrol Caraga (produced from Butuan)
  • TV Patrol Northern Mindanao (produced from Cagayan de Oro)

Most of the regional editions have already followed suit since the mother newscast relaunched its graphics package on July 4, 2016, among the first to comply were TV Patrol Socskargen (from General Santos), TV Patrol Central Mindanao (from Cotabato), TV Patrol Chavacano (from Zamboanga), and TV Patrol Central Visayas (from Cebu). They were followed by the rest which slowly but progressively updated their respective graphics package albeit in differing scales (some maintaining the old headline graphics like Bicol and Negros, maintaining the old OBBs, etc.).  Now that 11 months have lapsed since the initial graphics change maybe those above mentioned should start catching up.

Maybe this could be perhaps a wakeup call to the ABS-CBN management that they should also be focusing on maintaining and updating the regional broadcast facilities instead of relying mostly on high-budget teleseryes as the regional networks serve as theri backbone in serving the rest of the country with such diversity in culture and language. 


Cancer six times a day

Yung pakiramdam na lahat tayo ay nagsasawa na sa mga teleseryeng may paulit-ulit na storya, walang tigil na gantihan, patayan, landian, at kung ano pa man yan FIVE TIMES A WEEK, well, pati Sabado may teleserye na din.

Dahil sa malakas na hatak sa ratings ng Ipaglaban Mo!, ang legal drama anthology ng ABS-CBN sa Saturday afternoon slot, napilitan ang GMA Network na i-extend na lamang hanggang Sabado ang drama na Ika-6 na Utos na umeere Lunes hanggang Biyernes pagkatapos ng Eat Bulaga, na pinagbibidahan nila Sunshine Dizon at Gabby Concepcion. Kamakailan lamang ay sinubukan ng GMA na tapatan ang Ipaglaban Mo sa pamamagitan ng isa ring crime anthology na pinamagatang Case Solved kung saan naman host si Dingdong Dantes.

You may remember during the past few years ay GMA ang nauuna sa Saturday afternoon slot, with Startalk. Pero matatandaan na during the past years ay muling mas nagkakaroon ng advantage ang ABS-CBN sa iba pang timeslots, kabilang na din ang Sabado ng hapon. This shows how GMA is severely disadvantaged when it comes to programming.

But the larger problem, dahil sa kakulangan ng strategies at creativity when it comes to content, ay no choice na ang network kundi mag-extend na lamang ng teleserye, sa panahong nagsasawa na sa 5-days-a-week format ng teleserye, repetitive storylines, at mga run na dumedepende sa success ng teleserye. [Inamin ko na fan ako ng Ang Probinsyano pero nabwisit na ako nung ginawa nilang pugante at kriminal si Cardo. Halatang pinapahaba lang para tumaas ang ratings.] Dahil sa ganitong strategies ay dumadami na lalo ang nagdedepend na lamang sa downloaded series sa internet (mapa-US, South Korea, Japan man yan). Swertehan na lang kung naka-cable ka.

This is both a sign of desparation for GMA in particular and Philippine television in general. Wake up call na ito mga bes. Ayusin niyo programming niyo, introduce better concepts, bawasan ang teleserye, kundi mababawasan pa kayo ng viewership.

TV Patrol: 30 years on and the need for ABS-CBN News to shift to high definition

30 years ago, a new news program premiered on Philippine television which forever changed the way news was delivered, witnessing important events shaping the history of our country, changes in technology, and being the primary source of information for Filipinos. 

TV Patrol was conceived as a counterpart to ABS-CBN’s Radyo Patrol, and was intended to be a groundbreaking tabloid newscast, reporting the news in a language understood by the masses, informal Tagalog that is, and following the 1986 People Power Revolution, it was intended to provide Filipinos with information after 14 years of censored news. 

Throughout the 30 years, it witnessed many important events (the coup attempts of the 1980s, Luzon earthquake, Pinatubo eruption, execution of Flor Contemplacion, Pope John Paul II’s visit, EDSA Dos, Hello Garci, Ondoy, Cory Aquino’s passing, Yolanda, and others), a change in anchors (the late Frankie Evangelista, Mel Tiangco who transferred to GMA, Noli de Castro who entered politics but since returned, Korina Sanchez, Henry Omaga-Diaz, others), changes in the broadcast industry, and the launch of regional spinoffs from Laoag to Zamboanga.

To celebrate its anniversary, it presented a multipoint newscast with Bernadette Sembrano in the Quezon City studios, Ted Failon in Tacloban, and Noli de Castro in Zamboanga. However, it is worth noting the newscast is still in high definition, along with its over live programs Umagang Kay Ganda, Bandila, and Salamat Dok.

This would have been the perfect kickoff for the celebration, but we won’t be able to see that just yet, as ABS-CBN News needs to upgrade all its cameras, editing facilities, OB vans, and control rooms in high-definition. Morever, despite last year’s launch of ANC HD, some of the programming are still in standard definition, only recently most of ABS-CBN News current affairs programs seen on Channel 2 save for Mga Kwento ni Marc Logan shifted to HD, and the regional facilities still not at par with Manila.

With those aforementioned, it will be a long way to go for ABS-CBN News to fully adapt, anyways we still congratulate TV Patrol for being on air for 30 years and wish them more success.

ARC still a work in progress

It’s about six months since the ABS-CBN Regional Channel hit the airwaves with a promise of bringing viewers closer to home.

It was heavily promoted on its regional programs, and even has livestreaming access on Sky On Demand and iWanTV. But has it lived up to the expectations? No, not yet. 

One would expect it will air most, if not all, programs from the ABS-CBN Regional family (from the morning shows to the regional editions of TV Patrol to KMWK), but has instead focused on select TV Patrol editions from Baguio, Dagupan, Batangas, Cebu, and Davao, the MagTV editions, current affairs, Agri Tayo Dito, and a repetitive mix of special events programs hosted by the Regional group (Kapamilya Karavan at home and One Kapamilya Go abroad) and movies dubbed in Cebuano (like The Hunger Games, Chinese Zodiac, and The Sorcerer and the White Snake). Their social media accounts also appear to be inactive.

Their rationale why they’re keeping the present state of affairs is to keep viewers at suspense and wait. But with what they’re doing, they are only making viewers lose interest. They couldn’t keep waiting any longer. No one even knows what their initial scheduling might be. But keep on waiting.

I must say Regional is among the least-prioritized divisions of the Kapamilya network. Should the mother network begin prioritizing its regional audiences aside from big-budgeted teleseryes and movies with cliched themes, ARC will be able to keep up with its premise, as it has also promised original programming not seen on the originating stations.

So, for now, all we can do is wait.

ABS-CBN Regional Channel launches today

Viewers will now be able to catch a glimpse of the best of the country’s sights, cuisine, and people as ABS-CBN Regional Channel (ARC) starts its initial telecasts today.

Programming consists of the content ABS-CBN produces for its regional audiences, such as local TV Patrol editions, Mag TV Na, Saturday public affairs shows, Kapamilya Mas Winner Ka, Agri Tayo Dito, radio dramas from MOR, movies dubbed in regional languages (Hunger Games dubbed in Cebuano, for example), morning shows, and the Kapamilya Caravans and telecasts of festivals.

This channel aims to celebrate the country’s diversity and for its audiences remain connected with their roots and to discover new experiences (learning another language or a new vacation spot, for example).

ARC is available to Sky Direct (channel 14 nationwide) and Sky Cable (Channel 4 Mega Manila) and through streaming via iWant TV and Sky On Demand.

The lack of regional presence among our national broadcasters

Our major television broadcasters are known for their wide reach influence, that their programs are seen throughout the country via relay stations or satellite transmissions, their programs gets the large chunk of audience shares and advertising revenue, but there is one noticeable problem, that is the lack of presence in the regions as mostly all programs are being produced by the main stations in Metro Manila, though some are shot in other locations across the country (or in some cases, abroad).

This has posed a particular problem in the scheduling of some programs, which has to be preempted or aired on a one-day delay basis.

In the United States, network affiliates have the option of scheduling some programs outside the prescribed time slots, thus giving them room for their own scheduling, such as newscasts, or syndicated programming (i.e. those produced by third-party entities or production outfits owned by the network). But as in our case where most of them are owned-and-operated by the networks, this poses significant problems.

There is also significant opposition as some would argue that there will be a lack of a “unified” scheduling as slots are being preempted for regional programming, and to be honest, I think this is an invalid argument. Being a diverse country means that television programming¬†has to reflect that reality.

Add to that is the facilities are not at par with the national station, which hampers news-gathering capabilities and not being able to catch up with modern standards.

The solution for that is to seriously invest in their regional stations (but given GMA 7 has since limited its regional stations to Cebu, Davao, and Dagupan to save costs this will be going to be a problem, at least for now). That means, better facilities, like better news gathering equipment, better studios, new satellite uplink systems, more OB vans or livepacks, high-definition cameras, so on, so forth.

The networks must also give room for regional opt-outs, and with that including the National Capital Region. To cite an example, Spanish public broadcaster Television Espanola reserves the 2pm slot to regional newscasts (including Madrid), and through livestreaming this is being replaced by the final half-hour of its breakfast news program Los desayunos de TVE (TVE Breakfast). If we do it here (and with ABS-CBN having their own regional TV Patrol versions since they started to invest in regional content since the 1990s, producing one for Mega Manila), that will free up the national newscasts’ airtime for news of genuine national importance, and thus will expose the audiences in Metro Manila to the diversity of this country and events happening outside the capital, and the regional audiences having to complain why contents of newscasts are full of crime stories mostly centered in the NCR.

In the morning hours, the problem centers on the national breakfast shows (ABS-CBN’s Umagang Kay Ganda and GMA’s Unang Hirit) being interrupted at 6:15 am to give way to regional breakfast programming. The solution I propose is limiting the running times to 2 hours (5:00-7:00), and schedule the regional breakfast show at 7am, as the dynamic of the regions is different from that of Manila.

There is also the need for a clean feed for the networks and devoting space for regional programs, so no one will ever have to cut abruptly to give way to regional programming (or missing out some programs), and even the opportunity to catch programs first before Manila does, also allowing them to charge advertising rates per region (thus increasing revenue).

Also setting up regional hubs will help, with choices of Baguio for Luzon, Cebu for the Visayas, or Davao for Mindanao.

These moves are radical and mostly costly, but in the long term we will see the pay off, and this will help the television industry in the Philippines grow and mature.

Having a unified broadcast schedule is not wrong, but the need to create a diversified scheduling dynamic will strengthen that idea as it will reflect on the reality that we are a nation of many cultures and languages and the need to build on that identity. It will not only help marketing strategy but will also help people recognize that your network truly cares for you, no matter where you are.