By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan
(Last of three parts. Read Part 1 / Part 2)
2. HASHTAG FEVER
While a world of its own, the Twitterverse has also become a second home for television—the Philippines included. Viewers take to social media to comment on shows they are watching, a number to support or bash the personalities starring in them.
Netizens use the # or hash sign to mark names, topics, or phrases dominating the online conversation.
At first these “hashtags” emerged during live TV events, such as the finales of reality shows like “Pinoy Big Brother”. The hashtags gain consensus among Twitter users before making the site’s “Trending Topics” list.
TV networks and shows soon put up Twitter handles of their own, opening a line of feedback to the public.
Since tweets with specific hashtags could be monitored, news organizations have used them for special coverages too. For instance, the #Harapan, #Halalan and #Eleksyon2010 tags in 2010. In 2012, news orgs followed the Corona impeachment trial with hashtags like #CJonTrial. And newscast TV Patrol welcomed its 25th year in 2012 with #TVPatrol25.
By picking a particular hashtag, TV shows can track all tweets directed at them and gain exposure (and more viewers) when the hashtag trends.
2012 saw pre-recorded shows like soap operas, sitcoms and documentaries also jump on the hashtag bandwagon.
Some programs merely flashed the hashtag at the beginning or end of each segment. Others like live productions constantly showed their hashtags onscreen during the entire telecast. Shows like “Party Pilipinas” and “The X-Factor Philippines” even made distinct ones based on the themes of their weekly episodes.
But even as TV shows tried to direct the tweets, viewers still dictated what would trend. The best example for the year are the weekly trending topics based on the guests of the late-night comedy talk show “Gandang Gabi Vice”.
1. MEETING THE THIRST FOR NEWS
Viewers gained much in the way of news and information in 2012. TV news met reenergized content and new players, all in time for Filipinos to face the big events of the year.
Primetime weather anchors: Kim Atienza of TV Patrol; Nathaniel Cruz of 24 Oras; Lourd de Veyra of Aksyon; and Mai Rodriguez of Solar Network News
The newscasts increased emphasis on weather reporting by acquiring advanced forecasting tools, updating their visuals, and even hiring meteorologists.
With services like Metra and Weather Central, weather reporters went beyond general temperatures to predict the likelihood of rain, the amount of rainfall, and specific conditions at different times of day.
The new tools came in handy as the country braved calamities like the Hagupit ng Habagat and Typhoon Pablo.
2012 was also the year of news channels, which stood out during the Corona impeachment trial.
The trial became the premiere for the new kid on the block—Solar News Channel. Free-to-air and all-English, Solar took off from its wall-to-wall coverage of the trial and slowly introduced newscasts into previous channel TalkTV.
In October, TalkTV rebranded into SNC and unveiled a slew of local news talk shows to complement its lineup of imported current affairs programs.
Magsaysay and Hontiveros at the Solar remote studio in the Senate during the Corona trial.
Solar News Channel is billed as a news service highlighting “news you can use” over the crime-and-entertainment offerings of other TV news organizations. It is helmed by veteran reporters Jing Magsaysay and Pia Hontiveros, both formerly with the ABS-CBN News Channel or ANC.
ANC lost other talents like Mai Rodriguez and Twink Macaraig to Solar and other networks last year. Macaraig moved to TV5, which is expected to put out its own English news channel.
Macaraig left ANC’s afternoon shift, which the channel replaced with a new block of newscasts with specific focuses. “News Now” covers breaking national stories at 2 p.m. and business stories at 3 p.m. “The Bureau” reports world news, while “@ANCalerts” reports the latest in technology and social media.
Even government-owned People’s Television Network (PTV 4) was revitalized with revamped programs, a new logo, and a bold slogan—“Telebisyon ng Bayan”.
Aiming to lessen its image as the administration propaganda arm, PTV still airs infomercials in the afternoon. But an ongoing congressional review of its charter promises the public channel less restrictions on its sources of funding, and an opportunity of going against the commercial channels.
The Philippines’ news channels as of 2012
GMA News TV continues its streak as the most-watched news channel, while introducing entertainment programs such as classic movies to its lineup.
TV5’s Aksyon TV channel stepped up production of current affairs shows last year, after many of those airing on the main channel were replaced by a daily newsmagazine, “Reaksyon”.
As the networks focus on separate news channels, among the casualties are midday newscasts “Balitaang Tapat” of TV5 and “Iba-Balita Ngayon” of Studio 23, which went off the air this year.
But clearly media companies are recognizing that Filipinos are not only hooked to variety shows and teleseryes, and that there aren’t enough sources of news on TV.
(Do you agree with this list or have your own idea of 2012’s top TV trends? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments section.)
Related 2012 Yearenders online:
• This blog’s Most-visited posts for 2012
• ABS-CBNnews.com’s Top stories for 2012
• CMFR’s “The year that was in the news media”
• New players in the media landscape
• The big news in TV news for 2012, according to MediaNewser Philippines.