GMA 7: Behind But Not Giving Up
PENPOINT - Ryan Mark () - January 26, 2008 - 12:00am

Members of E Group had the chance to talk to GMA 7 regional TV head Rikki Escudero in an intimate presscon last Friday, January 18.

As expected, the discussion was centered on the controversial ratings war between ABS-CBN and GMA-7, and AGB Nielsen. Honestly, I’m fed up with the issue. I would rather have the giant networks battle it out in court because it’s now getting uglier and dirtier at the expense of the TV viewing public.

Well, it was good that I was late because when I got to the venue they were done with the topic. But really, it was never my intention to be late; it’s just that I can’t leave work early. No kidding!

Anyway, I have always been interested in the so-called proximity or nearness of the news to the target audience so I opted to inquire from Ms. Rikki on the ratings of their local shows—Balitang Bisdak, Buena Mano and Oi! Show Nato Ni. The good thing with GMA-7 people, and even with its CEO Atty. Felipe Gozon, is that they are always consistent as far as transparency is concerned. Ms. Rikki admitted before members of the press that “we are still behind but we are not giving up,” referring to their status in Central Visayas.

In Balitang Bisdak’s case, Ms. Rikki is convinced that Bobby Nalzaro is still their greatest strength. She did not provide us with figures but said that the show “sometimes lumalapit sometimes lumalayo.” 

In Buena Mano’s case, it’s also behind but it is constantly improving ratings-wise. GMA-7 Cebu’s station manager Ann Marie Tan revealed that from the 2.3% audience when it was launched last October, it’s now 4.5%, with its competitor, Maayong Buntag Kapamilya, having 6.3% based on the latest survey. Ms. Rikki was quick to butt in by assuring there is nothing to worry because the situation is just normal, just like in the case of the national morning show, Unang Hirit, before. She revealed that, it took them four years to beat ABS-CBN’s early morning show, and it was a never-ending trial and error situation before the show gained its present supremacy. She shared that there will be changes incorporated into Buena Mano in the days to come and that should be something to watch out for. But just a teaser, one of the changes would be featuring more local talents and events. Want some more? Find out in Buena Mano every 6-6:30 a.m. He he he.

Ms. Rikki is confident that they would be ahead in the game in due time through legitimate and publicized promotional activities. She said it’s understandable why they have low ratings in Cebu or in other parts of the country. “Ten years kaming nawawala eh. It’s that habit that we are trying to break. Nag-uumpisa pa lang kami,” she opined.

As for its entertainment show, regional head for Entertainment TV, Jocelyn Bautista, said Oi! Show Nato Ni did great in the ratings game. But she explained it had to fold up because they feel it’s about time that Cebuanos would get to see places and lifestyles not yet common to them.

So enter, “Istayl Nato,” which would premiere tomorrow at 10:45 in the morning, which will be hosted by Starstruck Top 20 finalist Chad Burden and my very good friend Bb. Pilipinas-World Anna Maris Igpit, whom I and Models Association of Cebu (MAC) manager Chicoy Tomol, refer as our “anak-anakan.” Of course I will watch it religiously not only because I love Anna but also because I was awed by its Audio Visual Presentation that was shown to the press last Saturday night in a presscon at Lighthouse Restaurant, Countrymall branch. It was promising, with the featured sights and spots really beautiful. Hopefully, the pilot episode itself will live up to expectations.

Meanwhile, Tape Incorporated’s Eat Na Ta every Saturday 11:30-12N at GMA-7 is now showing an increase in its performance in the ratings, based on the numbers provided by TAPE Cebu head Paolo Mercado. From its pilot episode rating of 8.2%, it went to 8.6%, then jumped to 9.5% and the latest rating is at 11.2%. That only shows it’s gaining momentum in Cebu, like the other local programs aired over GMA-7. But Paolo laughed when I asked for the ratings of Edu Manzano’s Game Ka Na Ba which is its competitor, saying there is no comparison at all. So the way I see it, it’s still a long climb for them.

Well, there is no elevator to success as they say—one must use a ladder to get to the top. With that, Cebuanos and the Visayas would again benefit from it because as GMA-7 races to the top, ABS-CBN also will defend its domain. So we can expect only the best shows for us all. Sit back, relax and be entertained, folks!

Just a footnote: The cast of Maging Sino Ka Man will be in Cebu tomorrow for the satellite broadcast of ASAP ‘O8 at the SM covered terminal. It would also be a chance to meet and greet with the stars and fans, altogether. I’m just bit disappointed though, because there is no presscon with the stars as their schedule is just “fly in, fly out.” Grabe pud, just because these stars are among the brightest there is no need for them to meet up with the local press just like in the case of Boy Abunda and Kris Aquino last year. Is this some sort of discrimination? ABS-CBN’s Corporate Communications talaga, may pinapaboran!

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