In Japan, almost all television broadcasters mostly air their anime shows during late-night hours, regardless of content.
From the likes of Blood-C & Terror in Resonance, or popular shows like Attack on Titan & Sword Art Online, and even harmless comedy shows like K-ON!, Kiniro Mosaic and Non Non Biyori… they all were aired during the late-night slot.
Normally, these titles won’t rate in the levels normally attained by series aired in the earlier timeslots, like Dragon Ball Z or Naruto Shippuden, but they have a strong following or even a bigger fandom.
Yes, we are now living in a world where social networking & video streaming sites are the “new normal”, especially for a country like the Philippines, but most people still prefer to watch their shows on television. Which is why we would like to ask, “Why not try putting anime shows on late-night?”
Actually, as an example, lets go back some years ago from our own backyard. Most people lived in the late 90s probably are familiar with the late-night show TXTube, but here is a brief background in case you haven’t…
TXTube was an interactive entertainment & chat show, which was aired during late-nights on terrestrial network GMA from the years 2001-2006, and it is considered as one of the forerunners of the interactive chat genre. The show capitalized on two things, the text (SMS) generation and the growing “insomniac” population.
Another thing where TXTube differentiated from other interactive chat shows is that the show had different strips of programming every weeknights, from music videos, live band performances, youth lifestyle & culture segments and Anime shows.
Yes, Japanese anime. TXTube became the home of popular anime titles when their place on the primetime block has been given away to soap operas, which include titles like Lupin III, Yu Yu Hakusho (Ghost Fighter), Mojacko and Cat’s Eye.
Currently, the late-night slot is filled with various programs, ranging from public affairs shows, documentaries, a comedy show and a late-night talk show rip-off. Some networks air paid informercials just to fill up the remaining broadcast minutes, whenever it is applicable.
As we all know, times had changed, and we are not anymore bound by the five-hour primetime programming block, which is, for some reason, still being followed by networks in the Philippines. We are not saying that we should all be insomniacs, but there is still an untapped market during late-night hours… well, maybe until 02:00am.
There may be online streaming sites available, whether it is for Japanese anime or other shows, but the current goal of these platforms, which is also known as Over-the-top (OTT) platforms, is either to offer catch-up viewing or a second screen experience to current viewers.
Frankly, we don’t blame them as it is reported that the Philippines has the second worst internet speed in the region, that is why television is still the preferred medium of choice of the masses for entertainment and information.
We are sure that a lot people will think, how will the networks air Japanese anime programming (or any other shows) on the late-night timeslot, considering that there is almost a zero audience in the horizon? In our opinion, the answer is the network should look beyond the ratings sheets and trust the audience.
Sure, ratings are important to television networks because that is their perception of the number of people who watches their programs, which, in turn, would entice their clients (i.e. advertisers) to buy advertising time on their shows.
But sometimes, the perception that we’ve created may actually be far from reality. The ratings agencies are not exactly transparent on who should receive the “peoplemeter”, or how do they calculate the data they receive. Who knows? That “peoplemeter” device may actually be located somewhere remote, where not all channels can be received, like… for example, in a mountain or some jungle, perhaps?
Besides, shouldn’t be the viewers who decide on the shows that they like? Popular anime titles like Slam Dunk, Yu Yu Hakusho (Ghost Fighter) and Dragon Ball did not become overnight sensations in a blink of an eye. They took the long road in becoming some of the most popular shows of this generation, and they did that by doing the primetime gamble!
Why Late-Night? Based on the current landscape of Philippine television, Japanese anime shows on primetime would be highly impossible, plus there are some issues on the morning timeslot.
Ever since the “telenovela” craze started in the late 90’s, the primetime hours has been dominated by shows targeting the female audience. The morning slot, however, tend to go more with the kids and tween market, although, in some instances, the main regional stations of the networks has the option to opt-out of the network for their own shows.
We think that the networks should use the late-night block, particularly from 11:30pm to 02:00am, to air experimental programming that breaks the mold of the typical, overused Pinoy telenovelas. Much like how David Letterman changed late-night with his absurdist and self-deprecating humor on late-night talk shows, which in its heyday were just simple monologue and interview affair, which was perfected by his mentor, Johnny Carson.
If Letterman’s unusual style of comedy changed the viewing habits of Americans in the 80’s until his retirement recently, wouldn’t it be nice if there is something that would hook young viewers and keep them away, even if it’s only on a single day per week?
That is why we are pushing for youth-oriented programming in general, and Japanese anime in particular.
But why Anime? Because it shares disruptive qualities that will lure viewers, particularly the millenials and young professionals who would want to relax after a full school or work week… or people who just want to watch something different from what is being offered on primetime.
Let’s face it, today’s anime shows are bolder, edgier and more provocative. Shows like Valvrave the Liberator, Strike the Blood, Food Wars! Shoukugeki no Souma, Aldnoah.Zero, Parasyte -the maxim-, Your lie in April and Tokyo Ghoul, to name a few, have the capability to disrupt the monotony of themes & plots of cliched stories and rehashed plots that we normally see on primetime.
But where can we air these kinds of titles? Take note, these shows, like TV5’s Fushigi Yuugi, is not exactly appropriate to be in the morning slot where younger audiences are watching. Isn’t it awkward to air shows with mature content, like Sword Art Online, Death Note or Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic during the daylight hours?
That is why television created late-nights, where most, if not all, of audiences younger than 16 years old and older than 35 are wide-asleep.
And they are the new audience, the connected audience whose only lifeline is the internet and social media, the audience that needs an escape from the current realities of Philippine television, the audience that wants an alternative to what is being shown right now, and the audience who wants a new kind of television revolution.
DISCLAIMER: This editorial expressed the views of Anime Pilipinas, but it does not reflect the views of all the members of the Editorial Team, its friends & partners. If you have any reactions, please use the feedback form by clicking here, or on our social networking accounts.