Custom Search
Read The Philippine Showbiz News Everyday.

March 06, 2011

Willing Willie Shakes Up Philippine TV Market

That is the headline of The Wall Street Journal Magazine.

While it was correct that TV5 has started to rate before Willie Revillame’s entry, this was limited to the weekend primetime. What Willie was able to accomplish is make TV5 rate in the weekday primetime, putting the Kapatid network in the daily top 20 national show which Babaeng Hampaslupa failed to do. Babaeng Hampaslupa is TV5’s entry to the drama series that is ABS-CBN2 and GMA-7’s turf.

Here’s the complete text as reposted from the WallStreet Journals:

MANILA—A battle involving a popular Filipino television host is turning into a major spectacle here and altering the balance of power in one of Asia's most important media markets.

For over a decade, Willie Revillame was a leading star at ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp., one of the Philippines' two biggest TV networks. But in October he bolted to produce what quickly became a wildly popular variety show on an upstart channel.

Now, he’s battling a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed by ABS-CBN and inspiring other entertainers to jump ship. That is boosting the fortunes of his new network TV5, and shaking up one of the biggest TV-advertising markets among emerging economies.

With nearly $4 billion in spending last year, the Philippines TV ad market is bigger than India’s and on par with Indonesia’s, according to Nielsen Co. That’s partly because television is the name of the game in the sprawling archipelago of some, 7,100 islands. While newspapers take up the bulk of advertising in India, YV eats up about 75% of ad spending in the Philippines and draw buyers from around the world.

Until Mr. Revillame (pronounced reh-vil-YA-meh) defected to TV5, the Philippine TV market was dominated by AbS-CBN, which had 24 billion pesos ($552 million) in revenue for 2009, and GMA Network Inc. The rivals competed to develop soap operas, game shows and, more recently, reality programs to lure viewers and advertisers such as the big Philippine mobile-phone networks and consumer-products giants Unilever and Procter & Gamble Co.

After Mr. Revillame took his song-and-dance extravaganza to TV5, other stars followed his lead. TV5, which was taken over and recast by local businessman Manuel Pangilinan in late 2009, now is clawing its way up the ratings.

TV5 and Mr. Pangilinan, its chairman, didn’t respond to requests for comment. But Chief Executive Ray Espinosa said recently that the network expects to capture a third of total TV ad spending in the Philippines by 2015, up from 19% now.

“It’s an alternative to what’s being shown on the other networks, “he says, adding that the cost of a placing an ad on TV is approaching what the established players change.

Jay-P Bautista, a media buyer at Manila-based Mediaforce Vizeum Inc., says TV5 already is attracting advertisers since the arrival of Mr. Revillame.

The broadcaster, which declines the comment beyond is written statement, is seeking damages of 426 million pesos and an order that keeps Mr. Revillame’s TV5 show off the air. The court, however, allowed “Wiling Willie” to stay on the air pending the outcome of the litigation, which could take months, if not years.

Mr. Revillame says he, not ABS-CBN, came up with the format for “Wowowee!”

ABS-CBN in a prepared statement says Mr. Revillame had more than a year on his contract, which bars him for working elsewhere in the meantime. The network sued for breach of contract and copyright infringement, saying he used some set designs and game formats from “Wowowee!” on “Wiling Willie.”

But late last year, Mr. Reillame dropped a bomb. He asked a court to rescind his contract with ABS-CBN because it was keeping him off the air. He also announced plans to co-produce his own three-hour evening show, “Wiling Willie” on TV5.

“Every time I do something a bit naughty, the ratings go up,” the stubby, mop-haired Mr. Revillame says in an interview.

In 2005 he started hosting his own show at ABS-CBN, “Wowowee,” a frenetic hour of song, banter and games that quickly became a hit but frequently ran afoul of censors.

Over the years his bosses have taken him off the air several times for, in one example, speculating about the sex lives of dwarfs. He’s always bounced back, driven by the loyal audience that revels his crude sense of humor and the promise of large cash prizes. Born to a 15-year-old waitress in the northern Philippines, Mr. Revillame set out to become a jazz drummer but drifted into playing comic sidekicks in low-budget action movies such as “Bobocop,” a play for Pilipino for “dumb.” He later found his way into bit parts on the Philippines’ bawdy, lunch-time TV game shows.

Mr. Revillame plans this year to broadcast several shows from the western U.S., where there are large Filipino communities. The hope is TV5 can build a global webcasting presence.

“The ratings competition is turning into a three-way battle sooner than we previously thought, “says Carissa Mangubat, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, which recently recommended selling ABS-CBN shares and down downgraded GMA stock to “hold” from “buy.”

GMA, which remains No.1, said it “welcomes the entry of TV5” and doesn’t see it as a threat in the Manila market.

In the fourth quarter it grabbed 29% of the weekend primetime audience in the Manila area to be No. 2, overtaking ABS-CBN, which had 23%.

Meanwhile, Manila’s traffic police complain about having to prevent long lines of people from spilling into the streets outside the TV5 studios from where “Willing Willie” is broadcast each night, eager to win some of the cash Mr. Revillame hands out.

We’ve been following Willie ever since he started. Hopefully this time we’ll win something,” says Loida Sevilla, 56, who traveled five hours to the studio.


Post a Comment