Concept/Pitch: Relaunching “The Amazing Race Philippines” on TV5

The Amazing Race Philippines

The last new episode of The Amazing Race Philippines (the real! one, not the fake one lol) aired on December 7, 2014 on TV5. It’s been almost six years since the Philippines has enjoyed their very own homegrown Amazing Race. And while there’s only a 0.00001% chance it ever gets resurrected and while The Amazing Race franchise is dying a slow death around the world, my delusional TAR fan-self still dreams of the day #TARPH rises from the dead.

Back in 2015, I outlined “What TV5 Needs to Do for The Amazing Race Philippines Season 3”.

That post was more on the show’s format as well as explaining the importance of online presence and full episode availability. This post, however, proposes what TV5 can possibly do to help relaunch and successfully resurrect the series now six years later. At least, some suggestions on how to maximize the chance for success and how to go about even starting to breathe TARPH back to life.

Now I’ve had this concept/pitch almost ready to go months ago. Around the same time as I posted my Big Brother Philippines concept. I just haven’t had the opportunity to sit down and clean it up to actually post.

However, three things have happened since then that has an effect (positively or negatively) on the chances of a miraculous Amazing Race Philippines resurrection:
1. TV5 is gearing up for a return to producing local, original programming.
2. ABS-CBN has been yanked off free-to-air television.
3. COVID-19 has terrorized the world.

The coronavirus has shut down most entertainment productions around the world. And that includes new American, Canadian and Australian seasons of The Amazing Race. With the high level of uncertainty when it comes to travel, crossing borders and interacting with people while running around cities and towns, there is really no way for any Amazing Race franchise to get back to Racing any time soon. Perhaps even for a year or two. Anyone saying otherwise is being as delusional as I am in hoping for a TARPH Season 3.

But without the coronavirus, the fact that TV5 has decided to give it another shot with producing entertainment programs and ABS-CBN getting thrown off the air actually would’ve worked in The Amazing Race Philippines‘ favor. Perhaps from a 0.00001%, it would’ve improved to 0.000011%?

My original concept was about suggestions on how to market a potential return for The Amazing Race Philippines in order to maximize its opportunity for success. While today’s world certainly throws everything into chaos, I’ll present my original pitch with some relevant modifications.

And again, I don’t actually think there’s even a chance for TARPH regardless of TV5’s fortunes or the health of the world or the health of the Amazing Race franchise as a whole.

And! I have zero experience in television OR business. This is essentially ramblings from a fan. So there’s that. (lol)

The Amazing Race Philippines
Would you like an Amazing Race collector’s cup with your Chickenjoy?

How to Pay the Bills

Obviously, the first point of concern is where to actually get the money to even get the ball rolling. The Amazing Race is notoriously expensive to produce. The rights to the format alone are one reason why there aren’t more local versions, or at least, versions that last more than a few seasons. Don’t believe anyone who says that the series is actually cheaper than other shows.

Yes, the show might be cheaper to produce than some scripted series with stars
who demand higher talent fees. But The Amazing Race is certainly more expensive to produce and requires a lot more logistical effort than other reality competition programs.

So, we’ll need a lot of money upfront and a tightly managed budget. Aside from advertising revenue once it finally airs, here are some sources of moneys and ways to save money:
1. Upfront TV5 (Cignal?) cash
2. Find a co-producer (AXN/Sony Pictures Television?)
3. Plethora of product placements + unique brand opportunities
4. Find welcoming countries/locations that will subsidize production or provide incentives

First, TV5 will obviously have to fork over their own money. It’s an investment, for sure. And because it’s an investment, they’ll have to do everything they can to get the biggest return on it.

Finding a co-producer might also help ease the pain on the bank account. Similar to my proposal for Produce 101 Philippines, why not co-produce the series with a larger company. For Produce 101, it’s home network Mnet/company CJ E&M. For The Amazing Race Philippines, why not ask Sony Pictures Television’s AXN if they’d be interested in pitching in some Singapore dollars in exchange for airing rights around Asia.

I think of AXN because aside from unexpectedly resurrecting The Amazing Race Asia recently, they actually produced a local version of Cash Cab with Ryan Agoncillo. I’m not sure if it aired outside of the Philippines. But AXN may be open to working with TV5 on The Amazing Race Philippines. Especially when they won’t be paying for the whole thing.

Working with AXN also provides extra promotional opportunity for the series across Asia. And in turn helps TV5’s profile as well.

Next, it’s necessary to lure in as many promotional partners as possible. And that goes beyond just the prizes.

The Amazing Race Philippines (the real one) has had partnerships with Kia, Rexona, Nature Spring, KFC, Shell, Brother Philippines, RDC Royale Homes, etc. But all of those were merely as prize sponsors.

We will of course continue to have prize sponsors that would in turn get prominent placement in-episode throughout the season.

But there’s also plenty other ways to incorporate sponsors throughout the Race. And in ways that don’t feel too contrived.

TAR China, Canada and Vietnam have all featured teams randomly grabbing McDonalds, CLIF bars, energy drinks and other food stuffs during Legs. TARPH can certainly do similar things like that as well.

Then there’s other opportunities like, for example, on TARPHDME where I have Samsung sponsoring the Fast Forward or providing the tablets on the fancy U-Turn board.

The Amazing Race Philippines
Get your exclusive North Face Amazing Race Gear!

We could have clothing companies sponsoring team’s official clothes or backpacks and gear. Then of course selling branded gear in stores. Maybe one of the online travel sites or airlines sponsoring (but not limiting) flights or Legs.

Basically, find sponsorship opportunities in all facets of the Race. Whether in-Race or during episodes or even in promoting the series in stores or platforms.

For a series like TARPH, we should welcome as many sponsors as possible. And being a prestige show like The Amazing Race, it commands bigger, most established brands.

Of course we must ensure that none of the sponsors or product placement get in the way of the Race or the Race experience.

Finally, there are many tourism boards of countries and cities around the world that like to entice productions to visit them with generous incentives. Sometimes they will subsidize production just so you can come and feature their location. Indonesia did just that by sponsoring The Amazing Race Asia 5 which resulted in half the Race being held in the country.

I think that’s fine, especially for a smaller Race like TARPH. Any country outside of the Philippines is fine. And besides, it’s up to the Leg design and not just the name of the country that makes or breaks an episode.

Finding locations that offer incentives and subsidies could produce a pretty good route while saving a lot of money. Plenty of reality shows are able to film in exotic locales thanks to those benefits.

The Amazing Race Philippines Season 3: Celebrity Edition?

How to Reintroduce the Format

My pitch for the resurrection of TARPH requires an upfront commitment to two seasons. That’s because the first season back (really TARPH Season 3) will be a celebrity edition.

What better way to grab the Filipino audience’s attention immediately than having 11-12 teams of famous celebrities Racing?

We are betting on celebs boosting TARPH3 so that then we can welcome regular teams on TARPH4. Maybe have the casting call go out while TARPH3 is airing, for example.

TAR China and Vietnam have both been celeb-centric, but they’ve churned out solid seasons. Casting celebs will require extra scrutiny as we obviously don’t want 11 teams of annoyingly entitled divas or feeling-“big star” hams. We want teams who are competitive and want to Race. Local celebs have auditioned for both TARPH seasons before. So there’s definitely many possibilities.

We want good, competitive teams who want the adventure and the competition. Not people who just want some extra 15 minutes of fame. Those people can stick to Pinoy Big Brother.

Originally, we wanted to make a pitch to both ABS-CBN and GMA to allow their contract stars to participate in the Race by saying TV5 is not a threat to them. And being on TARPH, with potential international exposure, will actually help promote their home networks too. Plus #NetworkWarCulture would certainly drive discussion.

Now that ABS-CBN is in disarray, however, that pitch goes right out the window. There’s plenty of former ABS-CBN stars ready to go. (Though by the time TARPH would actually be safe to start Racing, ABS-CBN might have already returned to air anyway.)

Regardless, we want a mix of teams from entertainment, sports and even politics. Whatever will get people talking and supporting as long as the teams are potentially good Racers.

Again, we are betting on celebrities drawing an audience to TARPH3 who would then stick around for TARPH4 (with regular people) and beyond. Who knows, TARPH could be a biannual event. One celeb season and one regular season every year. (Similar to Big Brother UK in its final years.)

The Amazing Race Philippines
The Amazing Race Philippines on the Guadalupe Bridge billboards

How to Promote the Show

Obviously, having celebrities won’t be enough to promote the show.

Similar to my Produce 101 Philippines pitch, collaborating with local fast food chains or department stores/mall chains will help raise the show’s visibility. Especially as these stores and malls have very high foot traffic across the country.

If you haven’t been in one of the Philippines’ HUGE malls before, let me just tell you that they are always packed even in the middle of a workday.

Of course, COVID-19 has changed that and will likely not get back to normal any time soon.

So to get the word out, we’ll have to turn to the traditional billboards, print publications and now social media to raise awareness for the show.

The online component will be most important as we see next…

The Amazing Race Philippines
Miss an episode of The Amazing Race Philippines? Download the Cignal Play app!

How to Engage the Audience

Word of mouth is still a strong way to raise awareness and promote, especially when you’re almost starting from a grassroots-type of campaign. The Amazing Race Philippines on TV5 certainly feels like a grassroots campaign.

One of the things the first two seasons of The Amazing Race Philippines did horribly with was its online presence.

I outlined TV5’s shortcomings with its online presence in the “Needs to Do” post.

But basically, TV5 needs to make full episodes available to the widest audience possible. That means throwing the episodes onto YouTube without restrictions. Which is exactly what The Amazing Race Vietnam does and very successfully.

I know Cignal is starting to aggressively push their Cignal Play streaming app. And that’s a very smart thing to do. Putting TARPH episodes there is of course a no-brainer. But Cignal Play is not available outside the Philippines of course.

What TV5 should do (and depending on terms of a possible co-production deal with AXN) is they should upload full, HD episodes of TARPH onto a dedicated Amazing Race Philippines YouTube channel. Throw all the episodes, short clips, bonus clips, interviews and any kind of extra content you may have there.

By making the episodes and clips readily available, there will be no need for Filipino TV pirates to upload their own copies onto malware-infested blogsites. TV5 can get all the YouTube ad money for themselves. And by making this content easily available, you are in control of how to monetize that content.

More importantly, having everything readily available allows people to watch, share and discuss the show. That will drive social media interactions that in turn become positive word of mouth.

People will be driven to watch the show on TV5 and online. More viewers means more ad moneys of course. More viewers means more online interactions. And the cycle continues.

Being accessible fosters that discussion and allows for word of mouth to spread. And having lots of extra content, which shouldn’t take any extra effort to put together, helps drive that.

It is very important to not restrict any of this content outside of the Philippines. Of course, I am speaking as someone who lives in the United States. But I again point to The Amazing Race Vietnam and even Israel’s HaMerotz LaMillion who do not block their episodes (on TARV’s part) or all the bonus clips and content from the YouTube accounts. Someone outside of their home country can readily consume all the Amazing Race content they want.

And again, Amazing Race fans around the world like to seek out foreign versions. English subtitles would be nice. But even without them, TAR fans tend to enjoy watching as much Amazing Race as they can.

It is absolutely possible to geoblock content in the Philippines in order to drive Filipinos to a Cignal Play or elsewhere while having it all accessible worldwide. But even then, as the primary audience is the Philippines, allowing easy sharing via YouTube and other social media is, again, key to online impressions, interactions and word of mouth.

The Amazing Race Philippines
Full episodes on the official Amazing Race Philippines YouTube Channel please!


All that above should be an easy read. But to summarize:
-Find as many sponsors as you can cram into the show.
-Find tourism boards that have incentives and even subsidize productions.
-Cast celebrities for TARPH3 to immediately draw attention to the resurrected series.
-Commit to a TARPH4 with regular people.
-Forge strategic promotional partnerships that raise visibility and awareness for show.
-Make all content (episodes, clips, etc.) easily and readily available worldwide to facilitate positive word of mouth via social media interactions and impressions.

This all may seem very superficial and uneducated coming from a basic fan like myself. But I don’t think anything on the list is unreasonable. A lot of content producers have had to adapt to the rapidly changing times. Whether that be in content delivery, the content itself or the intricate business and financial side of the industry.

Still, it certainly doesn’t cost much to dream. And perhaps smarter, more experienced people can come up with a more polished plan to make the longshot resurrection of The Amazing Race Philippines possible.

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