When Noel Lorenzana was appointed new president and CEO of TV5 in June, network chair Manny V. Pangilinan gave him a terse marching order: “Turn things around.”
Struggling to stand on an equal footing with industry giants ABS-CBN and GMA 7, TV5, more than three years since Pangilinan took over, is still reportedly operating in the red. The company is said to have lost P2.8 billion in the first half of 2012 and P4.1 billion in 2011.
Lorenzana, former executive vice president and head of wireless consumer business at Smart, said the Kapatid network aims to stop the financial bleeding in four years—or sooner. It’s a tall order, but one that he readily welcomed, said Lorenzana, who replaced lawyer Ray Espinosa.
Lorenzana said one of the first and most crucial steps in revitalizing the network is crafting shows that have relevant content but which, at the same time, are “exciting, potentially different, and will push entertainment to the edge.”
“We want programs that will spark dialogue on certain issues; shows that are entertaining, educational and will make people think,” Lorenzana told Inquirer in a recent interview after a lunch hosted by TV5 at the Luxent Hotel in Quezon City.
He said TV5 was set to focus on what he called “counter-programming.” This means offering something different from what the two other networks air in given time slots. “It’s about giving the viewers choices or alternatives,” Lorenza said, adding that the station would beef up its primetime block before patching up the holes in their morning and afternoon lineups.
At this stage, he admitted that the network still didn’t have the capability to go toe-to-toe with ABS-CBN and GMA 7’s more established programs.
Lorenzana explained, “It will be unwise to join the fray… we have to focus on our own strengths.”
This month, TV5 will be launching eight shows for its weekend late afternoon-primetime blocks. “Showbiz Police,” “Tropa Mo Ko Unli,” “Killer Karaoke,” “What’s Up Doods” and “The Mega and the Songwriter” premiere on Sept. 14; “Pinoy Explorer,” “Wow, Mali Pa Rin!” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” on Sept. 15.
“I think we have prepared a strong lineup of shows that are fun and informative,” Lorenzana said. “People deserve to relax and wind down in the weekends and that’s what we’re hoping to achieve with these programs.”
No show biz insider
While he’s not exactly an insider in the entertainment industry, Lorenzana’s extensive work in the advertising world entailed monitoring TV shows, dealing with celebrity endorsers, and even producing movies to endorse particular products.
Lorenzana was the president of the condiments company NutriAsia. He had also worked with Unilever in various capacities.
Show biz scribes were surprised to learn that the 2006 Star Cinema movies, “First Day High” and “Close to You,” were both Lorenzana’s brainchildren, designed to boost sales of a deodorant brand and a toothpaste brand, respectively.
That, Lorenzana pointed out, was something he wanted to do for TV5 as well. “We would like to work with brands in terms of providing content that would eventually become part of pop culture,” he said.
According to Lorenzana, TV5’s target audience is the younger crowd—teenagers and twentysomethings who are able to easily embrace new program concepts. He also pointed out that the bulk of advertisers have the youth in mind.
He added that having a formidable roster of stars would naturally follow when TV5 had proved that it could create excellent programs.
“We have a lot of promising young talents… But sometimes, for these newbies to make it, they need the support and guidance of those who are far more established,” Lorenzana said.
Needless to say, aiming for No. 1 is out of the question at the moment. “First you have to be productive; you have to earn the right to grow. Once you’re financially healthy, then you can go for No. 1,” he said.