Commentary/Rant: Philippine TV Turbulence is Not Over Yet – The Failures of ALLTV… and TV5

Time to vent! And apparently celebrate because #NetworkWarCulture is alive and well in the Philippines! Wowowowin!

But really though, the last few weeks have seen some movement in Philippine television. Not really good movement, mind you. And very much far from the “Ideal” Philippine media landscape I laid out last year.

First of all, as most people expected, ALLTV is struggling five months after their “soft launch.” Considering they barely had any content to air on their network which doesn’t even have many transmitters, it’s not a surprise that ALLTV and its parent company AMBS has to pause and take a breather.

Though I was hopeful in ALLTV’s launch (for reasons I lay out in this article), I also made sure to point out that it would take a long time before ALLTV could truly make any kind of impact.

I had said that no matter how much money gets poured into AMBS/ALLTV at first, it would take longer “than just a few months or even a year to truly get off the ground.”

That is proving true now that it looks very much like ALLTV will be pausing (keyword: pause) production on their three original programs: Wowowin, Toni and M.O.M.S – Mhies on a Mission. Which absolutely makes sense. They’ve produced months of original content with zero audience able to even watch any of it. Not to mention the lack of any kind of promotion or build up to even a soft launch.

Until ALLTV completes construction on those studios and secures their potential content partnerships with a Viva or anyone else and, most importantly, work on getting enough transmitters to actually beam their content across the country, they will have not any kind of progress whatsoever.

Launching the network with almost zero resources just a few months after its announcement was already a questionable decision. Moving forward with no clear plan just opens them up to even more ridicule and criticism.

Despite the unlimited amount of money the Villars and Willie himself can throw at ALLTV, they will need to focus on securing the foundation before building the house on top of it. Without a solid foundation, the network will crumble badly.

AMBS has not even been a franchise holder for one year, yet they have immediately struggled. Again, because of a huge lack of resources. Which brings me to my other point for today.

It has been almost 15 years since ABC first rebranded and relaunched as TV5. Compared to ALLTV, TV5 had and still has today a far wider reach and array of resources. They also have an entire telecommunications company and the country’s #1 satellite/cable provider as their corporate siblings.

In the last 15 years, TV5 has put a lot of effort into producing content with the hopes of trying to break through the Philippine TV duopoly of GMA and ABS-CBN. And after those 15 years, TV5 has finally reached a wonderful milestone. They are now at a point where they proudly brag about…

…having lower ratings than a small network that carries the exact same program as them.

Congratula…. Wait what?

Yes. This past week, TV5 has proudly boasted and bragged that their ratings are actually worse than A2Z which (I believe, correct me if I’m wrong) reaches less Filipino homes than they do.

A quick peek at Twitter shows many Kapamilyas actively prefer A2Z or even just ABS-CBN’s online streaming channel rather than watching the same exact shows on TV5. That says more about TV5 than the Kapamilyas who refuse to watch the network.

In the past, I’ve said that TV5’s biggest hurdle is in the #NetworkWarCulture and how Kapuso and Kapamilya loyalists will refuse to even give TV5 a try. Even if their network (ABS-CBN) gets yanked off free TV.

But in the last year, it’s become quite obvious that TV5’s difficulties may rest solely on the lack of focus and the mismanagement of priorities. The fact that its owners were willing to basically sell off the network to ABS-CBN shows that they have thrown up the white flag. They’ve given up on dreams of a Philippine television landscape that could have 3, 4 or more major networks. Each of them providing DIFFERENT content and thus, more choices for Filipinos.

15 years later and TV5 still struggles with reach. And yet, networks with even lower reach than them are attracting more viewers. What a hilariously embarrassing turn of events.

TV5’s shortcomings can fill a whole other post. But to bring it back to where we started. TV5’s failures should have been a warning to the powers that be at AMBS/ALLTV. When a network like TV5 squanders early success and has now basically given up, how can ALLTV with almost zero resources and even less goodwill with the Filipino audience make any sort of negligible impact.

People are making a big deal about some sort of Philippine TV renaissance lately. That is in spite of the same loud social media squatters ignoring many quality offerings over the years. Mostly because of #NetworkWarCulture. But considering the direction the Philippine media landscape is suddenly barreling towards, the turbulence is far from over.

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