From 2003 to the present ABS-CBN Mega Manila broadcast stands only 2nd place while GMA-7 has dominated its popularity. And now ABS-CBN has planned to re-strategize its service to entertain and inform not only for the Filipino people of the whole part of the Philippines but also for the people—mostly Tagalog community—of the whole part of Mega Manila.
As ABS-CBN and its management has threatened a possible downfall of its facility related to its closure during Martial Law in 1972, the network has given their best without distracting to the TV audience because of several negative issues concerned as they would prevent from suspending their operation. And after several attempts to promote their TV shows and artists sometimes they gained little. Although it remains dominated nationwide, this does not mean it would recover their Mega Manila facility that has currently flattened their financial stocks.
The Real Score of Lagging Service
The first main reason on why ABS-CBN lags its popularity to serve its TV broadcast is that most Mega Manila homes did not set up their TV antenna properly to their analog TV sets resulting to snowy or fuzzy picture. Another problem is that some lower-class homes have often use a rampant Japan-based secondhand TV sets available in black market goods that are incapable to access Channel 2 due to different radio frequency spectrum (Channel 2 at 54 to 60 MHz, Japan-based TV Channels 1 to 3 at 90 to 108 MHz). Aside from this, isolated Mega Manila areas such as northern part of Bulacan and Pampanga, easterly part of Rizal and Laguna, southern part of Cavite, and westerly part Bataan may also experienced with weak signal.
The second reason of this is that most Mega Manila people, even loyal GMA-7 TV viewing fans, did not like various ABS-CBN shows and artists, claiming that “it is so corny, distasteful, and stupid”. The reason is that several Mega Manila people may only like to watch various GMA-7 shows because of “extreme-end” popularity (such as fantasy soaps and popular foreign soap remake), and that only support various GMA-7 artists because of being conservative despite of popular personal intrigues.
The third reason of this is that they claimed that ABS-CBN has betrayed their service, including censorship (such the issue of not airing of sensitive video in every Pinoy Big Brother episode), piracy (such as the alleged grabbing of an original exclusive video report of showbiz talk show Eye To Eye that was originally owned by KB Productions via a version of GMA-7 telecast), and tragedy (such as Ultra stampede in 2005 resulting to a postponement of Wowowee anniversary show).
The fourth and last reason of this is that ABS-CBN lacks promotional support. While ABS-CBN generates low-end TV transmitting signal and while the network may no longer to promote other Mega Manila people (such as the issue of they were currently watching Channel 7, they were busy to work, or lower-class people were unable to buy TV due to poverty) as well as to compete with GMA-7, several deficiencies have occured regarding various promotional strategy. Even the advertisers may have been backed out.
The People & Competitor Strikes ABS-CBN
From 2003 to the present ABS-CBN income based in Mega Manila broadcast cost only 8 to 10 billion, minus a loss of 4 to 6 billion pesos of spending, for a grand total income of 2 to 4 billion pesos! (This personal estimated record does not include an actual income based in nationwide and worldwide broadcast that costs 24 billion pesos.)
The advertisers may have often backed-up to air their TV ad when they knew that ABS-CBN got lower number of TV audience in Mega Manila, mainly because they are dependent to promote on that area aside from promoting their ad nationwide.
After the economic recession period in 2008 ABS-CBN has started its cost cutting measures in 2009 in order to reduce income losses while producing its Mega Manila broadcast.
It was reported that ABS-CBN may not able to air Colgate-Palmolive TV ad because of current cost-cutting measures. Instead, GMA-7 is now currently holding its rights to air Colgate-Palmolive TV ad because of the network’s better deal.
During the downfall of a number of TV audience—currently about 25% of Mega Manila population—of ABS-CBN Mega Manila broadcast, GMA-7 viewing fans had begun to receive detracting messages posted on SMS, forums, online comments on web articles, and blogs about ABS-CBN’s unpopularity. ABS-CBN management understands such situation, as they promised to re-strategize the concept of their public service without having to distract or deceive that would easily hurt in no time.
“Alternative Hip” Concept?
If several Mega Manila people—most GMA-7 viewing fans—may not like to watch various ABS-CBN shows as well as they would hate various ABS-CBN artists, then ABS-CBN management would plan an “alternative hip” concept of future local and Tagalog-franchised international TV shows, just like when ABC-5 conceptualize their alternative TV shows with the help of their station ID “TV5” and its slogan “Shake mo TV mo!” in 2008. They believed that this would revitalize every people’s TV viewing taste even with partly appearance or an absence of ABS-CBN artists. An example of which is a major popular international boxing event, a recently a variety festival-based talent show Showtime! (different from the show Talentadong Pinoy on TV5) and an upcoming …Got Talent.
And if somebody don’t like to watch ABS-CBN showbiz talk shows mainly because it only features ABS-CBN artists being interviewed as they only watch GMA-7 showbiz talk shows featuring GMA artists interview, ABS-CBN management would plan to introduce a future alternative showbiz talk show produced by “2nd-party” entertainment company that is capable to feature an interview of both ABS-CBN and GMA-7 artists and feature TV show promotion.
Another way to re-dominate their TV station is a possible revival of featured TV shows produced by local movie company-based TV entertainment subsidiaries such as Regal Television of Regal Films and Viva Television of Viva Films. Both companies have had successfully aired their TV shows on various TV stations such as ABS-CBN, GMA-7, and IBC-13 back in the ’80s and early ’90s until it ended their support to that mentioned TV station in early mid-2000. As ABS-CBN and its dominant competitor GMA-7 began their own entertainment dynasty, the problem now is that ABS-CBN management may have nothing to hire a new and/or artists from local movie companies to appear on TV, as well as being unable to guest various GMA-7 artists to their TV network due to GMA-7’s own policy known as “exclusive management”.
The Signal Difference
As GMA-7 TV transmitting signal currently remains strong even without using TV antenna to receive clear picture on most TV sets in metropolitan area, ABS-CBN management thought that their TV transmitter may not effectively receive to most ordinary TV sets because of being “progressive” signal—only if it would receive clear signal by using properly installed outdoor TV antenna—unlike its competitor as mentioned using only “interlace” signal. They found out that several people in that area would go to watch Channel 7 rather than Channel 2 as they kept the manner of not connecting TV antenna.
To solve this problem, ABS-CBN TV transmitter introduced a V-type TV transmitting antenna with rectangular reflector (based on a traditional fan-type TV transmitting antenna), replacing a cylinder type TV transmitting antenna. By 2010 or 2011 the transmitter would power at 120 KW (1.2 MW ERP) replacing 60 KW (342.6 KW ERP) in order to access isolated Mega Manila area. Its TV signal may no longer use “progressive” signal since it does not absorb a single wire connected on TV without TV antenna, but rather use an “interlace-based progressive” signal.
I only wish that ABS-CBN should introduce a UHF version of its main local VHF TV channel in Metro Manila in order to access a rampant Japanese-based secondhand TV sets—which is also used as a video monitor in video karaoke console units—in urban lower-class homes. ABS-CBN UHF channel version was successfully introduced in 2006 in Pangasinan, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija (on Channel 32); northern end of Bulacan (on Channel 34); Pampanga and Laguna (on Channel 46), and Rizal (on Channel 40).
People’s Perception Has Changed
For the past 6 years or more, sometimes I did not attempt to tell what Mega Manila people is watching their favorite local TV channel, nor did I interfered to them to promote any of the two giant TV station because of their feeling and favoritism. I also understand what GMA-7 viewing fans gains their distractions against ABS-CBN because of the network’s guilt and unpopularity.
And so ABS-CBN management understands such situation as I mentioned above. Accordingly, the weakness of their local TV network is that their TV show—even the artists—may be distasteful to the current GMA-7 viewing fans who claimed “it is a form of stupidity and ridicule”.
ABS-CBN management has found that both their own strategy and even GMA-7’s strategy with respect of promoting TV shows and supporting various TV artist has marked a dynasty, resulting to a different perception and choice of the viewing public. Even as mentioned above at the end of paragraph on “Alternative Hip” Concept? on this blog, ABS-CBN management knew that the people’s perception in Mega Manila has changed whether they would support ABS-CBN artists or GMA-7 artists depending on their own favor to watch respective TV shows on two big TV stations, and that GMA-7’s different strategy and policy may lost their altruism in terms of fair competition to ABS-CBN and other small player local TV networks such as NBN (formerly PTV), ABC, RPN, IBC, Net 25, ACQ-KBN, and many others.
ABS-CBN has faced another chapter of their service. They would find a way to survive at difficult times when they entertain and inform to the public, only if they would regain their sincerity, honesty, and trustworthy. But their future to re-dominate is uncertain.