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.


GMA needs rehab (#NumberOnePaMore)

Towards the end of the previous year I promised that I will make a piece on the present state of GMA Network, with their incessant claims to leadership despite the opposite. (Only in Mega Manila. You have a major problem in the provinces. Di kami may sabi nyan.)

(Please lang GMA, tigilan niyo ito.)

Ralph Domingo’s From the Tube did his piece already with the major points perfectly elaborated (labor issues, retrechments, the reluctance to invest on talent and digital broadcasts, et al.) I will just have to add mine.

There are only two things that can substantiate their claims. One is their clear signal thanks to the Tower of Power, and second is its news department which by far has received many accolades (that said even in news they have problems. Saan ka ba naman kasi nakakita ng news channel na may Koreanovela at pelikuka, diba?).

There is also this unforgivable practice of converting their programs to standard definition despite the use of high-definition cameras. Ang panget kaya tignan. We’re in the age of transition at napapag-iwanan kayo!

No livestream, no focus on DTT, cringeworthy concepts, worst of all, GMA boasts of the worst fantards. Inggit? Di niyo lang kasi tanggap ang totoo. 

What needs to be done here? GMA has to sell NOW. Try to renegotiate with Globe, Ramon Ang, enter into a strategic partnership with SM, Solar, or APT.

Or just maybe..

GMA’s stocks are sold for just around P6 per share. Bili kaya ako ng stocks? Malay niyo naman. Hehe

I rest my case. Soundtrip muna.


GNTV should have had regional news

With the ABS-CBN Regional Channel still in its infancy, let’s take a look back at the time when GMA News TV should have had the opportunity to expose its regional newscasts to a larger nationwide audience.

In early 2014, GNTV began hinting that its four primary regional newscasts (Balitang Amianan, Ratsada, Balitang Bisdak, and Testigo) would be aired on the morning slots albeit on a one-day delayed basis, bur in a surprising turn of events, it never had the chance to get off the ground, and since GNTV began filling its morning block with old action movies and reruns of GMA or QTV-produced programs (it did begin to air on its international edition, though). As for the Regional TV infrastructure, due to budget cuts and efforts to remain in the black, regional news became a less of a priority.

The point here is, GMA should have had seized the moment when it had the opportunity and had set its priorities straight. If GMA had prioritized the enhancement of its news-gathering capabilities (with their Serbisyong Totoo brand recognizable across the country) and building up GNTV as a strong news channel they wouldn’t be in such a mess like this.

But with the present doldrums hounding the network, we can only hope that a new investor and a new set of competent executives will help turn their futures around.

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.