M ost are owned outright by one of the Big Three privately owned TV networks or are affiliated to them and rebroadcast their programmes.
- ABS-CBN is the Philippines’ biggest media group and a major player in both TV and radio. Its flagship ABS-CBN terrestrial channel broadcasts from 25 content producing stations around the country and eight affiliated TV stations nationwide. ABS-CBN also operates the Studio 23 entertainment channel, aimed at 16 to 35 year-olds. In addition, it owns a series of cable and satellite TV channels. The group’s flagship radio station is DZMM, a talk station also known as Radyo Patrol. ABS-CBN also has interests in film production, magazine and music publishing and internet services. It is controlled by the influential Lopez family.
- GMA Network vies with ABS-CBN for the number one spot in television. Its flagship TV station is the popular and influential GMA-7 channel, based in Manila. GMA also controls a network of 60 TV stations across the Philippines. It is also the big force in radio, owning the Super Radyo, the talk radio network as DZBB and the Barangay LS FM chain of music stations like DWLS.
- IBC is the third leading network in Philippine TV is sequestered by the government known as the government-owned sequestered TV and radio station for a major player. Its flagship IBC terrestrial channel on Channel 13 in Mega Manila broadcast from 23 originating TV stations around the country and four affiliated TV stations nationwide, while IBC is the #3 in the ratings behind ABS-CBN and GMA, according to the survey of AGB Nielsen Media Research. Channel 13 is being partnership with Viva Entertainment by airing Viva-TV, the primetime block on IBC from 5:00pm-12:00mn slot daily, which is home to the NBA and PBA games. IBC also operates INN (IBC News Network) news channel, aimed to airing news and public service programs and the cable and satellite TV channels like Danze sa TV. The flagship AM radio station is DZTV, a news and public service station also known as Radyo Budyong, and iDMZ, an FM radio station now is #1 internet danze mix radio in the country. IBC also has interests in TV production and internet services. It is controlled by the PCGG and the Canoy and Roa family.
- TV5 or Associated Broadcasting Company is the third largest player in Philippines TV. It owns several TV stations in Metro Manila, including DWET-TV, DWNB-TV and DWDZ-TV . TV5 also operates the AksyonTV news channel on UHF free TV, the sports channel AKTV on UHF 47 airing sports programming and owns the popular radio news station Radyo5 92.3 News FM in Manila as well as its FM radio station 106.7 Energy FM, aims to be a masa staion. In addition, it owns a series of cable and satellite TV channels. The company is owned by Filipino media and telecommunications tycoon Manuel ‘Manny’ Pangalinan. He also controls Smart Communications and Sun Cellurar, two of the Philippines’ three mobile phone networks. Aside from Kapatid network, TV5 now is interests in magazine and music publishing and internet services.
These three TV giants are engaged in a vicious ratings war. They consta ntly try to do outdo each other with cutting edge current affairs and entertainment programmes.
According to AGB Nielsen ratings in early 2012, ABS-CBN and GMA Network each command about 30% of the national TV audience, with sequestered network IBC is now reaching the third place leader for 25% and TV5 lagging in the other third place on a round 15%.
Besides owning the most popular television stations in the country, the Big Three also relay many of their programmes to nominally independent provincial TV stations. These rebroadcast the Big Three’s main national news and current affairs programmes.
ABS-CBN, GMA Network, IBC and TV5 also operate international satellite and cable TV channels aimed at the 10 million or more Filipino migrants who live and work overseas. Together, these three networks are the most powerful opinion formers in the Philippines media. Free-to-air terrestrial transmission is still the dominant method of TV distribution and is the measure against which Philippine television TV audience s are assessed.
There are more than 750 cable networks in the major cities serving more than 400,000 homes and an increasing number of people have satellite dishes.
However, these alternative TV distribution networks are also dominated by programming from the Big Three in Manila. All the main commercial TV networks are highly profitable. ABS-CBN reported a net profit of US$56 million in 2011, whereas GMA Network made $40 million while IBC now is a net profit in US$30 million.
ABS-CBN, IBC and GMA Network both have online news portals, country-wide AM and FM radio networks, and extensive links and partnerships with the Philippines’ leading print broadsheets and tabloids.
The government-run television network, the People’s Television Network Inc. (PTV) operates a chain of 17 content producing TV stations across the Philippines and a similar number of relay stations. It also owns the several cable and satellite TV channels.
However, the ratings surveys consistently show that state television commands much lower audiences than its private sector competitors at the time. PTV’s flagship news channel is Channel 4. It carries a lot of official government announcements as well as its sports programminh, home to the UCAA, ABL and UCAA games.
The organisation’s two entertainment channels RPN-9 and IBC-13 were both up for privatisation in 2012 . From 2001 until August 2011, PTV was officially known as the National Broadcasting Network (NBN). Other major players in Philippines TV include Christian churches that have e ither bought moribund TV stations or established their own stations from scratch.
Some of these church-owned stations operate on a commercial basis, but most are used almost exclusively for religious proselytizing.
At least one nationwide television ne twork is dedicated solely to music and another to sports. One cable news channel, GNN Cable TV, is dedicated solely to business matters.
In early 2012, there were 753 cable TV providers throughout the Philippines, owned and operated by 500 different companies. The two dominant cable TV providers in Metro Manila are Destiny Cable and Sky Cable. The latter is owned by ABS-CBN. Both offer a selection of about 60 local and international TV channels.
The main distributor of satellite TV services in the Philippines is Dream TV. This is the dominant TV service provider in remote, mountainous parts of the interior where the reception of terrestrial TV broadcasts is difficult .
The Philippine Cable TV Association (PCTA) estimated in 2011 that 430,000 households in the Philippines subscribed to cable TV. It reckoned that altogether 1.8 million households were ’ home passed ‘ by the existing cable TV network, giving many more households the potential for immediate cable connection .
Philippine cable TV companies offe r popular international channels such as HBO, Star, Fox, Discovery, ESPN, CNN, BBC World and Al Jazeera, alongside local favourites . Given the country’s large ethnic Chinese and Indian populations, cable channels from China and India are numerous and popular with niche markets. Cartoon channels such as Disney, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and others are popular with children.
However, there are no cable or satellite TV channels dedicated to Indigenous Peoples’ communities, issues, or languages. The main TV networks all follow a similar pattern of daily programming.
ABS-CBN, IBC, GMA Network and TV5 both start the day at 05.00 with early morning newscasts. These are also broadcast on their respective flagship Medium Wave radio stations. At 05.30, PTNI Channel 4 come on air with their own early morning news programmes.
These news and current affairs programmes end at around 08.00. They are followed by a variety of life style, homemaking and talk shows. At 11.00, the lunchtime game shows begin. Soap operas dominate the screens from lunchtime until late afternoon. Local productions are offered alongside imports from Latin America, the United States, South Korea, Japan, China and other countries in Southeast Asian.
The soaps are followed by early evening newscasts and more soap operas until the late evening newscase come on air. Late night viewing typically consists of documentaries, public affairs shows and religious programmes until shutdown at around 02.00.
In late 2010, TV5 upset this daily pattern of programming by introducing a controversial game show in the early evening. This show – Willing Willie rapidly beca me the most popular programme on Philippines television. TV5 dropped Willing Willie in August 2011 following a public outcry against an in cident in which the show host prodded a crying six-year-old boy into mimicking a strip tease dance.
But two months later the same show re-emerged under the new name of Will Time Bigtime with the same host, Willie Revillame. It soon shot back to prominence in TV ratings.
Early evening newscasts in the Philippines on weekdays have an format in the three networks. They tend to carry impertinent from entertaining stories about show business . At this time of day, about half the air time – much more than usual - is given over to advertising.
TV news programmes often lead with sensational police stories about crimes of violence, rather than stories about mainstream national issues. Weekend television is dominated by religious services in the morning and sports and variety shows until mid-afternoon . Showbiz programmes are aired until early evening, when they give way to talk shows. From the late evening onwards Hollywood movies are broadcast.
Boxing matches featuring Filipino world welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao – who is also a politician – command some of the biggest TV audiences across all channels. Crime rates tend to drop to near zero during such broadcasts. Everybody suspends their normal activity to watch-muggers and burglars included.
The House of Representatives – the lower house of parliament - must approve each TV franchise before a st at ion is allowed on air. Television broadcasts are then regulated by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). This forms part of the government’s Department of Tran sportation and Communication.