TV5 CEO weighs in on free tv’s ‘competition’ with streaming platforms

Nathalie M. Tomada - The Philippine Star
TV5 CEO weighs in on free tvâs âcompetitionâ with streaming platforms
TV5 president and CEO Guido Zaballero
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Are streaming platforms really competition for free-to-air television?

For TV5’s president and CEO Guido Zaballero, he doesn’t see it that way.

“Maybe the term is not necessarily competition, I think the term is… we need to embrace it as an ecosystem, where there are certain types of content that will really begin in free-to-air, but will eventually find their way to the digital space, streaming and vice-versa,” he said.

“As a whole, you see how other companies have evolved and really embraced the digital space — part of a way to monetize content. So, why fight it? You have to embrace it.”

Asked by The STAR on TV5’s notable steps towards this direction, Zaballero said, “The efforts to expand into the digital space are being undertaken by the entire MediaQuest group, covering all genres such as News, Sports and Entertainment. For TV5, we continue to expand our digital footprint, especially with its News5 arm. As we start rolling out more entertainment shows you can expect more efforts to capture a digital audience for entertainment.”

Team A stars Jerald Napoles and Kim Molina as a married couple in their first sitcom with child actress Gianna Iguiron playing as their daughter.

Zaballero was interviewed prior to the recent launch of not one but two new comedy shows for TV5’s weekend programming — Team A topbilled by reel and real-life couple Jerald Napoles and Kim Molina and Kurdapya starring Yassi Pressman in dual roles. Both shows air Saturday nights, beginning this March 18, at 6 p.m. (Kurdapya) and 9:30 p.m. (Team A).

Kurdapya follows the journey of long-lost twins who reunite in a strange accident after living vastly different lives. Kuring grew up in the province with her abusive extended family, while Daphne was raised in the city under the guidance of her strict father who is the CEO of a publishing conglomerate. Both of them feel unhappy with their current realities, but their unexpected reunion will ultimately change their lives, according to the show’s synopsis. Kurdapya also stars Marco Gumabao and Ryza Cenon.

Team A, on the other hand, revolves around the loving Ambida family of Ian (Jerald), Janet (Kim), and their only child Yeye (Gianna Iguiron). Their happy and simple lives, however, are made complicated by the persistent meddling of Janet’s mother, Violeta Bagsic (Yayo Aguila), and Ian’s father, Arman Ambida (Anjo Yllana). They constantly clash due to their differing lifestyles and financial circumstances.

Said Zaballero of the new shows: “There has always been an audience for comedies. Launching two new comedy shows in the weekend is all part of TV5’s efforts to serve the entertainment needs of our audience,”

Both sitcoms also continue TV5’s efforts to collaborate with other content producers and creators. Team A and Kurdapya, for one, are both collaborations of Viva Entertainment, Sari Sari Channel, and TV5.

Partnering with others is a way of ensuring entertainment variety.

“We’ve really partnered with a lot. One of our major goals is to improve the ratings performance of TV5 and it’s really grounded in our belief that we have to give the viewer more choices,” Zaballero said.

“I think there’s still a lot of space in this market for more entertainment choices. Of course, with the improvement in ratings performance, we do expect also the financial performance of TV5 will improve. That’s going to be a mid- to long-term goal that we can deliver for some profits for our shareholders,” he added.

What he also found out and what has been validated by their audience is that “entertainment is a big thing.”

“The success of Batang Quiapo is one proof that talagang ang lakas pa rin ng appetite for entertainment,” he said.

“We also see that there’s a large appetite for not just news but public affairs and information. That’s a space that we’d also like to contribute to in the market.”

Kurdapya follows the journey of two long-lost twins Kuring and Daphne (both played by Yassi Pressman) who reunite in a strange accident after living vastly different lives.

Besides Viva, TV5 will also continue to partner with others like ABS-CBN, which allows primetime shows of the latter like Batang Quiapo to be aired on TV5.

“The arrangement benefits both parties. I mean we wouldn’t be doing this if there wasn’t anything in it for us. We want to continue that kind of spirit where both of us are able to deliver something for each of our businesses,” he said.

Solely producing their shows is not a priority. “I think in the future. You might see some shows later on this year that would definitely just be on TV5,” he said.

“For the meantime, it’s not going to be a major focus for us. We wanna make sure that we build the expertise first and then leverage the expertise of other partners,” he added.

As for venturing into talent management and development, Zaballero said, “Not this year. To run a full-fledged broadcast network, eventually kelangan talaga may talents ka, so naka-map na rin yan… We realized kasi, especially in this industry, that nothing happens overnight, it’s a very slow, gradual, tedious process. So, we are building the business that way.”

Meanwhile, Zaballero has marked one month this March since taking on the top position at TV5. “I look at it as a challenge. Of course, when I was first spoken to, it wasn’t really expected… But as I got to know the business, as I got to know the people, and I’ve become very aware of what the challenges are, pagtungtong ng Feb. 1, I embraced it. When I officially started, I hit the ground running,” he said.

It’s just been a month but “it feels longer than a month (laughs),” he added.

Prior to TV5, Zaballero served as head of Cignal Entertainment, leading the company’s content creation and production arm, before becoming senior vice president for chief revenue at Cignal TV, Inc.




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