A Real Definition of “Urban Luzon” In Philippine TV Survey Seem Very Confusing?

For the past few years, leading entertainment website PEP.ph, various blog sites, and several “entertainment section” of Philippine newspaper and tabloid often claimed GMA-7 became number one in Mega Manila in 2004 until present when the network—aside from an improved full power analog TV transmission (525-line NTSC) in 2000 from 240-meter TV tower based on Quezon City, Metro Manila—introduced a heart logo and an eye-popping fantasy shows, some extraordinary soap opera, and hit Korean drama. Aside from this, there was an intentional affiliated category that would give an even more impressive claims for GMA-7, known as Urban Luzon. Accordingly, the result of Urban Luzon TV survey was nearly the same as that of current Mega Manila TV survey. But will such system be affect the nationwide TV household dominance of ABS-CBN in spite of lagging controversial nationwide People Meter TV survey made by AGB Nielsen in 2011 until today, of which it claimed GMA-7 became number one in viewing population per TV set as opposed of an actual number of TV sets per household?

According to the claims of GMA Network as a main client of TV research firm AGB Nielsen, Urban Luzon may be referred to an area being assigned at about 70% of total TV surveying coverage around the Philippines, compared to Mega Manila with the current 55% of total TV surveying coverage. National Urban, on the other hand, may consist of 85% of total Philippine coverage that only include urbanized and suburbanized areas, excluding Muslim provinces of Mindanao. But in spite of a possible intense debate from various proponents of loyal ABS-CBN and GMA-7 TV viewers and some entertainment journalists and bloggers about such category that remain disputed, and even many advertisers were often confused such system aside from legitimate National Urban TV Audience Measurement (NUTAM) TV survey, what are the three possible definition of Urban Luzon as shown below while both GMA and AGB have been declined to give a full detail on that matter?

  • The first possible definition is that Urban Luzon may be referred to as being assigned similar to the current Mega Manila TV survey, but the difference is that it excludes Metro Manila and includes the nearby provinces around the said major Philippine national capital. Technically and formally, it was often called Metropolitan Manila Urban Luzon Beltway mainly because the suburban areas on nearby provinces connect various major roads to and from Metro Manila such as highways and tollways (an example of which are Marcos Highway, McArthur Highway, Quirino Highway, North Luzon Expressway, South Luzon Expressway, Cavite Coastal Road, etc.)
  • The second possible definition is that Urban Luzon may be likely referred a combined urban and suburban areas of Mega Manila, major provincial cities of Luzon, and suburbanized provincial municipalities of Luzon, excluding rural or underdeveloped municipalities of Luzon, in which it was also known as “All-City And All-Suburban-Town Luzon”.
  • The third possible and most fearsome definition of Urban Luzon is that it was likely called as “Luzon-Wide” or All Regional Luzon, with the combined Mega Manila, major provincial cities of Luzon, suburban towns of Luzon, and rural and underdeveloped towns of Luzon. May be also possibly assign in Batanes, Mindoro Province, Palawan, Marinduque, Romblon, and Catanduanes.

An Alternative To Urban Luzon TV Survey

In order to reduce confusion for most loyal televiewers of ABS-CBN around Luzon areas, ABS-CBN introduced their own version of TV surveying together with Kantar TNS, a system known as Balanced Luzon where it assigns over the entire northern part of Luzon and the entire part of southern part of Luzon, but excludes Mega Manila. Independent TV survey company Kantar TNS and its client ABS-CBN intricately analyzes the number of TV units in households on every cities and municipalities of every provinces of every region around Luzon areas. Sometimes—according to my thought only—when they often separate their TV surveying data between its Mega Manila panel homes and its Balanced Luzon panel homes, they may even also combine the two and form an intricate and most applausable system known as All Regional Luzon Television Audience Measurement (ARLUZTAM) as opposed to Total Urban Luzon TAM (TULTAM) made by AGB.

But in spite of the claims of GMA-7 and its loyal TV viewers’s blogsite stating that Kantar TNS had only a limited number of sample panel homes (150 in Mega Manila, 1,200 Nationwide) compared to AGB Nielsen with a fewer sample panel homes (200 in Mega Manila, 1,500 Nationwide), the respective independent secondary TV survey company not only analyzes the number of free-to-air analog TV units on households being tuned on ABS-CBN Channel 2 and various ABS-CBN VHF TV channel band (and some alternative VHF TV channel such as Channel 10 in Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal aside from Channel 2) around Luzon but also on ABS-CBN UHF TV channel band around Luzon (such as channels 32, 34, and 46), versus the leading TV survey company that analyzes only the number of free-to-air TV units in households being tuned on various ABS-CBN VHF TV channels in Luzon.

The question now is this: is ARLUZTAM (combined Mega Manila and Balanced Luzon)—according to my thought only—the same or different from current TULTAM (indicating [1] selected urban and suburban centers of Luzon or [2] suburban centers of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal near Metro Manila)? This sample table—based on my thought only and not an actual data from current TV surveying from AGB Nielsen—may be possibly found out that “All Regional Luzon TV Household Ratings” may be 2% higher in favor of ABS-CBN than GMA-7, versus “Urban Luzon TV Household Ratings” with 2% higher in favor of GMA-7 than ABS-CBN.

SAMPLE HOUSEHOLD TV SURVEYING SYSTEM IN LUZON AREAS (SAMPLE CIRCULATION IN YEAR 2008 TO 2010)

TV
Station

Urban
Luzon  
(AGB Nielsen)

(Assigned
on suburban centers of nearby provinces of Metro Manila? Assigned on major provincial cities and suburban provincial municipalities of Luzon, including Mega Manila?)

All Regional
Luzon

(Kantar TNS)

(Combined
TV surveying assignment of Mega Manila, major provincial cities, suburban provincial municipalities, and rural or underdeveloped provincial towns of entire regional areas of Luzon.)

ABS-CBN

34%

Difference

(GMA – ABS)

2%

38%

Difference

(ABS – GMA)

2%

GMA-7

36%

36%

Inclusion
of originating and/or relay ABS-CBN UHF TV channel (and some alternative relay
VHF TV channel) in Luzon aside from major originating regional ABS-CBN VHF TV
channel band?

NO

YES

Such possibility—whether this would be true or not—was still unknown, as either of the two TV surveying companies in the Philippines were declined to give details because in real life their respective different process remain confidential. This blog is open to comment on the following topic from various proponent of loyal ABS-CBN and GMA-7 TV viewers (no bash or hate speech, please) and even local mass media experts in the Philippines.

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