Three years after going off air, ABS-CBN has solidified its position as the leading force in the broadcast industry, ironically even without a franchise.
ABS-CBN’s influence as a content powerhouse is evident in the separate deals the Lopez-led media giant signed with Felipe Gozon’s GMA Network and Manny Pangilinan’s TV5.
“ABS-CBN’s pivot to content production sees the surviving free TV networks both inking/ announcing agreements on the same day. Remarkable,” tweeted Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Manolo Quezon.
An industry insider said: “Today is a historical day for the TV industry with former rivals working together. But the real winner is
ABS-CBN with its content now seen on different TV networks. The partnership deals are a testament of ABS-CBN’s leadership in content production and an acknowledgement, if not a concession, by its partners (GMA and TV5) that when it comes to content, ABS-CBN is king.”
Lopez and Katigbak then trooped to Seda Vertis North in the afternoon to sign a contract with Gozon for the airing of “It’s Showtime” on GTV, GMA’s sub-channel.
These deals are significant as both TV5 and GMA effectively became co-producers of ABS-CBN’s shows on their respective channels, giving them a cut of the revenues and a financial stake in the success of these programs.
TV5’s content agreement showed its progress beyond a simple blocktime partnership,a deal similar to ABS-CBN’s arrangement with Eddie Villanueva’s A2Z, the founder of Jesus Is Lord Church.
The Pangilinan-led network is set to produce two television series with ABS-CBN: “Pira Pirasong Pangarap” and “Nagbabagang Damdamin.”
Thanks to its arrangement with ABS-CBN, TV5 has leapfrogged to second place in the television ratings game, just behind GMA.
Meanwhile, Gozon himself acknowledged the significance of collaborating with his former arch-nemesis, as he declared “the TV war is finally over” during the press conference with ABS-CBN bigwigs.
GMA will air “Showtime” on a co-production agreement. Notably, this marks the second co-production between ABS-CBN and GMA, following the recent launch of the teleserye “Unbreak My Heart.”
Last year, Gozon’s network entered into a collaboration agreement with ABS-CBN encompassing film production and the broadcast of GMA films on TFC, ABS-CBN’s international cable channel.
Driven by fierce competition, Gozon pursued this deal with the Lopezes to salvage the deteriorating fortunes of GTV, which has been losing ground to TV5 in the ratings game since February this year.
Despite its dominance in the broadcast industry by default after ABS-CBN’s franchise loss in 2020, GMA still found itself in need of a boost from the Lopez-owned network to revive the fortunes of its sagging sub-channel.
Gozon’s deal with ABS-CBN revealed his competitive nature by intentionally placing Showtime in direct competition with the original Eat Bulaga on GMA, disregarding any potential negative consequences for TAPE Inc., the producer of Eat Bulaga, which is owned by the Jalosjos family.
TAPE has a blocktime agreement for airing Eat Bulaga on GMA until December 2024.
With the departure of the “Dabarkads” led by the comedic trio of Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto and Joey De Leon from Eat Bulaga, the noontime show is expected to be collateral damage in the noontime TV wars between “It’s Showtime” and the new program on TV5 topbilled by TVJ.
Whether Gozon maintains GMA and GTV’s lead or Pangilinan makes TV 5 a potent threat at second spot, the only thing certain is they will bank on ABS-CBN to reach their goals.
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