THE NEW ADMIRAL. How will Carlo Katigbak steer the ABS-CBN ship? (Anime Pilipinas composite)

The past year is to say at least, the best for the cable channels and probably the worst for the free-to-air networks.

Of course, it would be fair to say that the two biggest anime cable channels in the country, Hero TV and Animax Asia had its best year where the subscribers’ fees were well spent on really good content for their channels.

On the other hand, advertiser money eluded the big three terrestrial networks, ABS-CBN, TV5 and GMA from investing in more animation content for their flagship channels here in Mega Manila.

So, what happened to the networks? Were they dictated by the ratings game to not put anime on their timeslots?

Most likely, they did.


The Rise of Social Media
Eat Bulaga's #AlDub tandem, composed of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza. (Photo from Rappler)
Eat Bulaga’s #AlDub tandem, composed of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza. (Photo from Rappler)

2015 has been a really competitive year for Philippine television in general, and it is because of the rise of Social media, as social media has now fully blossomed in the TV viewing landscape unlike a year ago, or even two to three years ago.

Before, hashtags were not that important and are left out. Now, it is the battle of the hashtags. You had to have a hashtag for your show for you to be able to be a part of the national social media conversation.

Content too has changed. Gone are the days where the viewers are not anymore part of the plans of programmers, producers and executives. Social media is now playing a big part in the decision making process of the honchos of the networks. That influenced content, and with it, audience reactions.

To be honest, I am jealous, as a media observer, to see social media play a big part on the current landscape of our programming. The biggest example being the #AlDub phenomenon. Yes, social media is a big influence peddler in how the networks gauge audience reactions during the show on air.

Wouldn’t it be great to see an anime show like Your Lie in April, having a hashtag on its finale episode and see all those tweets coming on the screen to gauge their reactions? Something like #YLIAAngKatapusan and such.


Trying out High-definition

Next, High-definition (HD) broadcast. Admittedly, we’re lagging behind our neighbors in this territory, and for a good reason: we don’t try to embrace the technology early because of economics!

Only a few networks are trying out HD test telecasts. The Iglesia ni Cristo-affiliated networks GEM TV and NET 25 for instance, are trying out their broadcasts on DTT. So does Gateway UHF Broadcasting who owns the Hope Channel, the network of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

Meanwhile, ABS-CBN is the only major TV network to launch a (mostly) full-time HD simulcast feed of its SD channel which is already available on analog and digital. The HD simulcast was launched on October 3, auspiciously the birthday of Philippine television. ABS-CBN Sports + Action, meanwhile, has rung in the new year with an HD version of their channel as well.

The problem, both ABS-CBN HD and ABS-CBN S+A HD are currently available only on SkyCable.


HD problems

Another problem: not all shows on Channel 2 are fully available in HD. Shows like the taped sitcoms Home Sweetie Home and Luv U, comedy sketch show Banana Sundae, and comedy talk show Gandang Gabi Vice are still in SD (though according to Cory Vidanes, the network’s head of Broadcast, they are planning to convert all shows in HD in 2016). News programs also not yet in HD, though some documentaries and current affairs programming are now transitioning to HD. There’s no certainty yet for the live news shows.

But how about Foreign content? According to the people who have watched the Sunday duo of Kuroko’s Basketball and Haikyuu on ABS-CBN HD, the two shows were reportedly upscaled.

Forgive my foreign friends, but I have to utter this disillusionment in Filipino instead: Tinipid na nga, Wala na ngang timeslot para umere, upscaled pa, ano ba yan?

The New Teitoku
(from Left) ABS-CBN Chaiman Eugenio Lopez III, Former President & CEO Charo Santos-Concio, and Newly-appointed President & CEO Carlo Katigbak. (Photo from LopezLink)
(From Left) ABS-CBN Chaiman Eugenio Lopez III, Former President & CEO Charo Santos-Concio, and Newly-appointed President & CEO Carlo Katigbak. (Photo from LopezLink)

2016 is surely going to be the year of Content, but aren’t we be going to be content on the way the network in Mother Ignacia is being run right now?

Carlo Joaquin Tadeo Lopez Katigbak, the new teitoku (a nod to all “admirals” of Kantai Collection) on board the ABS-CBN ship, has big shoes to fill after the eight-year reign of Charo Santos-Concio. He also has to fill in the anime gaps for the terrestrial network that his predecessor failed to acknowledge.

His know-how in the digital and cable space should be a boon for us anime fans to at least understand that there is a big market for alternative and edgy programming, like Valvrave the Liberator either on a weekend late night slot, or even via iWant TV on ABS-CBNmobile.

Believe me, if ther will be anime content on iWant TV, I will be the first one to buy an ABS-CBNmobile phonekit just to subscribe to that.

And yes, Hero HD please, and also support the World Cosplay Summit as well. Or else, titigbakin ka ng mga anime fans.


New route

And yes, this is a different route for Dispatches, as you have seen. I’m trying to emulate those columns in the newspapers where multiple topics are being discussed in one go (and also try to be irreverent as well).

The long form content will still be an integral part of our column, but when we have multiple things to say, I’ll use this tack instead. It’s easier to write things this way.

And yes, expect more big things from me and the team at Anime Pilipinas this 2016. So, see you on my next dispatch, Happy New Year everyone.

And that’s the way it is… Headin’ Out! 


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The views and opinions expressed by the writer do not necessarily reflect the views of Anime Pilipinas, its members, partners, and colleagues. If you have comments or reactions, please email at [email protected].