Monday, October 29, 2001

A couple of entries back, I wrote about the game show bandwagon on Philippine TV today. Click here for an article written by Bibeth Orteza about the same subject matter.

Friday, October 26, 2001

Sky Cable is arguably, the largest cable company in the Philippines today. It is backed by the all-powerful Lopez empire, and is the cable arm of the ABS-CBN Corporation. It has also recently merged with Home Cable, also one of the larger cable tv providers in the Philippines.

And yet recently, all the channels from Star TV had been removed from their lineup. Sky had already removed Star World a couple of years ago, and now, have also removed ESPN, Star Sports, and the National Geographic channel as well. According to them, Star is making unreasonable demands on them, such as stipulating that they should carry all of the Star channels, and that they should pay US$8.5M, aside from the US$1.5M that should be paid to the Philippine government for the Star group. According to them, if they agree to do this, they would have to drop most of their channels.

Now the thing is, Star really has a lot of good shows. On Star World alone, the number of syndicated American shows that Filipinos love watching is quite large already. Add to that the fact that with ESPN and Star Sports, Sky-Home are dropping the two major sports channels in Asia. They are left with showing a golf tournament. And whether they like it or not, not everybody likes golf. The NBA, which will be shown live on November through ESPN, would be enough to get guys to switch their cable companies. In fact, a friend of mine who I saw yesterday, had done just that a couple of days ago.

If you're wondering how he did that, wonder no more. While Sky and Home, which I had already mentioned are probably the two largest cable companies in the Philippines, can't afford to have the Star channels, other, smaller cable providers can! For instance, Global, Destiny, and Las Pinas Cable, all carry the Star channels. So how is it possible that these independent companies are able to pay Star its demands?

Is Star giving these companies a special deal? Possible, but doubtful. Is Sky in a lot of trouble? Maybe.

So what are the channels left on Sky Cable? HBO, Cinemax, Hallmark Channel, CNN, Channel News Asia, CNBC, Arirang, E!, Solar, Discovery, Lifestyle Network, MTV (Philippines), ABS-CBN News Channel, NHK, Bloomberg, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Vid-Ok, Lakbay TV, AXN, BBC, a lot of Chinese channels, some religion channels, etc.

Now let's do a rundown of what Las Pinas cable, a very local (read: small) company is giving me for half of the subscription that Sky is charging. I have HBO, Hallmark Channel, CNN, Channel News Asia, CNBC, Arirang, E!, Solar, Discovery, MTV Philippines *and* MTV Asia, NHK, Bloomberg, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, a videoke channel, Lakbay TV, AXN, BBC, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Indonesian channels, some religious channels, Arirang, NHK, BS1, BS2, Wowow, CNTv, Lakbay TV, AXN, BBC, Hollywood Channel, etc. And will you look at that, it also has Star Movies International, Star Sports, ESPN, Viva Channel, Disney Channel, National Geographic, and Star World.

Will Sky's decision to remove Star from their lineup spell the demise of the company? Perhaps not, but it could really motivate a lot of people to switch to companies with more value for money.

Meanwhile, this is Skycable's side of the story. You decide what is more believable.

Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Want to join the game show bandwagon? Because ABS-CBN and GMA-7 just did! With the success of the localized version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, the production heads of the two leading networks came up with their own primetime gameshows. I honestly have not watched Game Ka Na Ba (on ABS-CBN) or Korek na Korek Ka Diyan (GMA) because I have been quite busy, so I can't give a review of these two shows. But as soon as I do, I will post my review here. If you have watched the shows, however, give us your two cents worth and tell us what you think.

Saturday, October 06, 2001

What are some of the current trends in Philippine shows today? Looking at program grids, we see the regular drama shows, comedy sitcoms, the news and all that. But apart from those, shows that occupy the most number of television hours are soap operas, Mexican telenovelas, and to some extent, animes on GMA-7.

GMA-7 is a mixture of the three. It has animes like Ranma 1/2, Fushigi Yugi, Dragon Ball Z, Doraemon, and Lupin III. Its local soap operas include Kirara, and Ikaw Lamang Ang Mamahalin. Mexican telenovelas include Monica Brava, and Morelia.

ABS-CBN, meanwhile, concentrates mostly on soap operas and Mexican telenovelas. After TV Patrol, the next two primetime hours are devoted to Filipino soap operas (Pangako Sa Iyo, Sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan, and Sa Puso'y Iingatan Ka), followed by a Mexican telenovela (Camila). Apart from these, they also have their non-primetime soaps like Recuerdo de Amor (Filipino), Alicia (Mexican), and Tres Mujeres, also a Mexican telenovela.

There has also been an increase in documentary/newsmagazine type shows, for both ABS-CBN and GMA-7, such as True Crime, Pipol, Mission:X, The Correspondents, Emergency, and Imbestigador aside from the "old" shows such as Magandang Gabi Bayan, Brigada Siyete, and The Probe Team.

A relatively new phenomenon that has swept the nation is the local franchise of the US game show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" that is shown on Viva TV (UHF Channel 13). Hosted by veteran drama actor Christopher de Leon, it in fact, claims to have dislodged no. 1 shows from the two leading networks for their timeslot. Because of this, another US game show, The Weakest Link, has been imported and transplanted locally, and will be hosted by Edu Manzano.

Friday, October 05, 2001

Welcome to the What's the story, pinoy tv? web log. I have been receiving feedback that you would like to know about current events happening in Philippine television as well. So hopefully, if there are interesting things going on that are related to Philippine tv, you should be able to find those here. Meanwhile, feel free to browse the website to find out more about the history of television in the Philippine setting. Cheers!