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GMAâs studio tours go virtual
GMA's Studio 7

GMA’s studio tours go virtual

KAPUSO DAY - Angel Javier Cruz (The Philippine Star) - February 21, 2021 - 12:00am

Next month marks the first anniversary since countries around the world entered into strict lockdowns. People were told to stay home, wash their hands frequently and refrain from touching their faces. Masks became part of daily wear and now double-masking was recently announced as a better and safer option for the wearer and the people around him, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the CDC.

Mere weeks after that initial lockdown in mid-March 2020, museums and other tourist destinations announced virtual tours that people could enjoy without leaving the comfort and safety of their homes.

Google Arts & Culture was primed for this long before the pandemic with its 360-degree videos of over 2,500 locations including the Louvre and the Tate Modern as well as numerous national parks in the US.

The annex building

Even the room-sharing app Airbnb got in on the action. Since the tourist market had all but shut down, the popular app shifted from actual guided trips hosted by users into a digital format. Now, visitors to the site could do everything from make tacos with a chef in Mexico City to check out street art in Buenos Aires.

Virtual reality is not new but it certainly helped make 2020 more bearable considering how long many of us were cooped up at home. These virtual tours were like a window to something fresh and new. The website WindowSwap actually does that by allowing visitors to gaze at the view from other living rooms and houses somewhere in the world. The site uses a randomized webcam generator that adds to the element of surprise. It could be a view to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Brooklyn Bridge in the US or the German countryside.

Closer to home, GMA Network has shifted its studio tours — first introduced close to 11 years ago — into the virtual realm.

The station's main lobby

The Kapuso Network launched the GMA Studio Tours to give its stakeholders a glimpse of the world behind the doors of the country’s top broadcast company. It became the first Philippine broadcast network to offer this kind of service to its global audience.

In that same year, the GMA Studio Tours went on to bag an Award of Merit at the Philippine Quill Awards, the prestigious award-giving body that recognizes outstanding business communication practices. Over the years, the tours evolved from being a go-see through the studios, into an interactive classroom away from school with the help of the network’s vast pool of broadcast experts. With thousands of participants signing up each year, the GMA Studio Tours became more than a gateway into the station with a heart; it became a complete learning experience.

In this time of lockdowns and physical distancing, digital technology is an essential platform in the way people do their work and adjust to new ways of life. The GMA Virtual Studio Tours was conceptualized to continue providing educational tours to travel agencies, academe, Kapuso abroad and the general public during the pandemic.

Instead of heading to Quezon City, tour participants can still visit the GMA compound if only virtually. The video features a walk through GMA’s state-of-the-art studios and radio stations as well as the network’s programs, artists and personalities.

There are four studio tour packages to choose from with very minimal fees. The packages feature the basic studio tour with different add-ons depending on the requirements of the tour participants.

Popular among Engineering students is the package which includes a tour of the network’s Technical Operations Center. Another popular package is the one with a meet-and-greet session with a Kapuso personality. In the absence of a physical tour, a surprise “Kapuso guest” will join the virtual tour towards the end for a meet-and-greet and photo opportunity with the participants.

Last one is the package which includes a Speakers’ Bureau (webinar). Here, a GMA employee shares with the group certain aspects of the company’s operations or answers questions about a predetermined topic related to the participants’ academic course in the case of students or areas of interest for non-students.

While nothing beats being there in person, for now virtual tours are the safest option that allows participants to learn and broaden their horizons.

For inquiries on GMA Virtual Studio Tours, interested parties may send an e-mail to gmatours@gmanetwork.com.

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