Earth Hour

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Caught in A War of TV Networks

I am a member of a Yahoogroup that caters to Filipino professionals from around the world. I don't know how it all started but all of a sudden, two factions are now battling it out in the discussion area.

The main piece of contention? Which network is better: ABS-CBN or GMA?

Maybe I should give a brief background about these two networks. These are two heavyweights in Philippine broadcasting. ABS-CBN claims that it is the country's pioneer network. It started in the 50s but their operations were stopped when then President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law and sequestered the properties of the family that owned the station.

GMA also claims to be the country's first network and unlike the former, it continued its operations even during the Martial Law years. During those years, it was this station that brought to the country such American shows as CHiPS, Three's Company, Man From Atlantis and a host of other good programs.

When Cory Aquino became President through the People Power Movement (I refuse to call it a revolution because my militant friends from UP argue that a revolution involves bloodshed), she gave back ABS-CBN to the original owners. In fact, it's not the only property Tita Cory returned but even other properties sequestered by the Marcos government and she gave it to them on a silver platter. Bad move I should tell you but I should find another time to discuss this.

Since it's return, the ABS-CBN station did everything to drill in everybody's mind that they are the biggest and the number 1 station in the land before and after Martial Law. Since the other stations in the country are government-owned, only one station could challenge these assertions: GMA. And challenge it did.

That leads us to my topic for this post.

I don't understand why the members of our e-group are waging war among themselves over which of these two stations is the best. To be honest, I watch shows on both networks and I must admit most of their content would leave you in a stupor.

The comedy shows are anything but funny and are downright stupid. These shows run for an hour with heavy usage of canned laughter perhaps to induce the viewers to laugh even if the situation is not funny at all. I can't remember any program on these channels that really made me laugh. What more, the production values are so cheap, I am often left with no choice but to switch to the Discovery or National Geographic Channels.

The drama shows? Forget it. You will not cry because of the story. You will cry because you felt cheated of spending one hour of your life on a piece of nonsense

And the newscasts! All I learned in my broadcasting course in college, the reporters in these networks blatantly violate. One anchor speaks in a monotonous voice you'd think a robot would sound better in his place. A reported speaks like she's selling fish instead of reporting the news. And one weather person always appear on TV like he was just blown in by a strong typhoon. I pity my professors, how would they instill in their students proper speech and diction if they constantly exposed to these violations.

To make matters worst, these networks constantly engage in copying each other's program content and trying to upman the rival station. It comes to a point that the viewer is so confused as to what channel he is in.

These are just a few of the reasons I couldn't understand why my fellow members are so emotional about this network wars. I can't see any reason why they would be so fanatical about defending the station of their choice.

I decided that someone should make them snap out of this thing. The egroup was fun until this network war thread cropped up. And so this morning I posted a message on our egroup telling the members to stop the nonsensical discussion. I pointed our that if they are not being paid by the networks for what they are doing, there is no sense to make enemies out of people who otherwise share some of their interest. Besides, to these networks they are nothing but mere statistics that will boost their claim to the top what.

Guess what, I am now their common enemy.

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