Sunday, January 13, 2008

Network Wars

These TV network wars are getting too old.

ABS-CBN and GMA are once again at loggerheads over ratings. This time, it has escalated to the point of one suing the other for libel.

What irritates me is that they're involving the gullible TV viewers in their skirmish. Both networks have been airing station announcements, stating how one has been wronged by the other. The Kapamilya network says that GMA is behind rigging the ratings. The Kapuso network, meanwhile is screaming hogwash with a libel suit on the side. Both are saying that they have the TV audience in mind while fighting for the so-called "truth" behind this ratings hullabaloo.


The ratings game is not about truth "in the service of the Filipino." At the end of the day, it all boils down to money. You see, ratings play a big part in advertisers' selection on where to place their advertisements. These people will pay big bucks to the network that has the most number of televiewers because this will also translate to their ads reaching a wider consumer base. Their basis for finding out which network has the bigger audience share is through these ratings. The higher a network's ratings are, the more people are tuning in to them -- and advertisers will be jockeying for choice spots in that network with the higher rating.

At present, GMA is lording it over ABS-CBN in the ratings game, especially for evening primetime. The Kapamilya's Pinoy Big Brother which used to be their flagship program for primetime was overshadowed by the meteoric rise of Kapuso's Marimar, and the former is at a loss on how to change the status quo.

Suddenly, in comes this news about attempts to bribe target households of AGB Nielsen in Bacolod so that they would switch to GMA from ABS-CBN. This is just the kind of news ABS-CBN was looking for. And now they're screaming bloody murder.

Actually, this kind of bribery has been happening for the longest time -- and GMA is not the only station doing it. Even radio stations engage in this underhanded maneuver. I should know: I used to be part of this industry. And I'm very sure that no one is exempted from cheating at the ratings game, just as much as almost all people in the broadcasting industry receive bribes from those who want extra media mileage.

For Chrissakes, ABS-CBN: before you go pointing at the dirt on GMA, better try looking at the mirror first!

Sigh: this is precisely the reason why I sorely miss watching cable TV.

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