First, they debunk the belief that TV5 will be a sports network like ESPN. They’re beefing up their current programming soon with a monthly teleserye to be directed by internationally acclaimed director Brilliante Mendoza, called ‘Brilliante Mendoza Presents’. He’ll also direct a 13-part mini series and later, full length films for theatrical release. The teleserye will be themed according to the month when it will be shown, like January will be set in the Chinese New Year, February will be shot in the Baguio Penagbenga festival, March will be about graduation, etc.
Mr. Reyes is told that although Mendoza has won awards abroad, he has yet to achieve commercial success with the “masa” audiences. “It’s okay,” he says. “His shows are already pre-sold to advertisers. So we don’t necessarily aim for high ratings as we’re not competing directly with the two top networks. We’re taking a different path, we’re trying something different. We want to give a chance to indie filmmakers and arthouse films. They will also be available in our digital and online platforms.
Advertising money is also moving from traditional TV to digital, so we need to diversify. We are filmmakers and arthouse films. They will also be available in our digital and online platforms. Advertising money is also moving from traditional TV to digital, so we need to diversify. We are opening up our station to other content partners. If you have a good show, you can pitch itopening up our station to other content partners. If you have a good show, you can pitch it, presen it to us, but it has to be something different and not yet seen in other networks. We want to offer counter programming because we can’t compete head on with the teleseryes and entertainment shows of the two top networks.”
The bulk of their shows will continue to be hit Hollywood TV shows dubbed in Tagalog. “The action series we translated into Tagalog are doing well, like ‘Arrow’ and ‘Nikita’, also ‘Walking Dead’,” says Anne Bengzon. “So we’re also having ‘Supergirl’, ‘Quantico’, ‘Breaking Bad’ soon, and action animation shows like ‘Voltron’, ‘King Julien’, ‘Knights of Sidonia’, ‘Dragons Race to the Edge’ and ‘Adventures of Puss n Boots’. Most of these shows are available only on cable TV and those who can’t afford to pay for cable, they can watch these hit canned shows on TV5 at mas maiintindihan pa nila kasi nga dubbed in Tagalog.”
What’s the financial standing of TV5 after it lost a lot of money these past couple of years? “We’re still losing money, but we’ve taken a lot of steps for cost control. We’ve terminated the guaranteed contracts of big stars as they’re a big drain on our finances. The only one left is Derek Ramsay and he’s having a new show by next year. Jasmine Curtis Smith is still under contract with us and she’s doing more digital shows.”
What about their other stars who moved to other networks, like Ogie Alcasid, Vin Abrenica and Ritz Azul? “We can’t blame them,” says Mr. Reyes. “They just did what they think is best for themselves, what is good for their career, but we still have other stars with us like Mark Neumann, Shaira Mae, Malak So and we’re preparing new shows for them even for our online shows.”
Would they consider getting Kris Aquino who’s now not connected with any network? “Why not? We’re open to anyone as long as we can afford them. But we’ll only do shows that are financially sound and will not cost so much. As much as possible, we want to do shows that are pre-sold to advertisers, like the PBA, the Gilas programs, E Sports, and the Philippines Next Top Model.”
They’re currently involved in the telecast of the coming Miss Universe Pageant. “We’ve partnered with Solar Entertainment to air the show live. We have exclusive rights to the showing of the swimsuit competition on January 27 and the long gown competition on January 29. We also have all the digital rights. The finals and coronation of the new Miss Universe will be held on January 30 from 8 to 11 AM, but it’s not exclusive with us kundi ipalalabas din sa other channels.”
Here’s hoping TV5 will be more profitable under Mr. Reyes as it’s really nicer and better for the television industry to have more active and successful channels other than just GMA-7 and ABS-CBN.