Gozon-Valdes on effect of ABS-CBN shutdown: Significant ratings increase for GMA shows
The unceremonious closure of ABS-CBN turned the TV industry upside down. Seventy lawmakers took the Kapamilya network’s light away, but God will help them glow in the dark. ABS-CBN may be off the air (for now, at least), but it will always be on call for the Filipino people.
The network war between GMA 7 and ABS-CBN has been going on for so long. Kapuso versus Kapamilya is already part of our pop culture. It’s very much like the iconic Vilma Santos-Nora Aunor rivalry. What happens now that one of the competitors has been unduly eliminated from free TV? Won’t it make the playing field less lively?
So, in the aftermath of the ABS-CBN shutdown, I thought of interviewing one of the top honchos of the Kapuso network, Ms. Annette Gozon-Valdes (GMA Network board director, programming consultant to the chair/CEO of GMA Network, and president of GMA Films).
It’s quite interesting to find out what’s happening on the other side of the fence. The TV industry is such a small world, so network folk must not burn bridges. As the cliché goes, the people you meet on your way up are the same people you’ll meet on your way down.
The entire show biz community is heartbroken about the ABS-CBN shutdown. Over and beyond being a Kapamilya or a Kapuso, we are all magkatrabaho and magkakampi,
après tout. Here’s my chat with Annette:
Since there’s no more network war between the two major stations, won’t it make TV viewing less exciting?
There will always be competition in the TV industry. In fact, the competitive landscape of TV is fiercer than ever before with the proliferation of multiple channels on many platforms, not to mention the emergence of OTT (over-the-top) platforms like Netflix, iflix, Viu, Amazon, iTunes, etc. Competition is no longer just limited to Philippine content, but now, it’s also content from around the world.
As a Kapuso, what are your thoughts on the ABS-CBN shutdown?
I would rather not comment on this particular issue, but suffice it to say that my heart goes out to all our industry brothers and sisters who have lost their jobs due to the shutdown of ABS-CBN. My prayers are with them.Are there some Kapamilya stars who are sending feelers that they want to join GMA? And if ever, will you take
them in?So far, there are no new feelers and if ever there are in the future, this will be evaluated on a case-to-case basis.
What’s the effect of the ABS shutdown on GMA?
I cannot deny that our ratings have increased significantly.
How is GMA 7 adapting to the new normal?
We’re starting to resume production gradually and with caution. We have extensive guidelines for production in place that we have developed after consultation with medical experts. Inside our premises, safety precautions are strictly observed.
These include temperature monitoring before entry, regular disinfection of work areas, set up of alcohol dispensers and footbaths in each floor, and employees are required to submit a daily health monitoring form prior to arrival.
Field teams were also given protective gear such as face masks, face shields, gloves, alcohol, etc. Also, employees who do not need to be physically present in the office can work from home.
What’s new in the network’s digital platform in the time of COVID-19?
We have recently launched our digital TV receiver, GMA Affordabox, and our digital channel, Heart of Asia.
During this time, our shows and stars have been involved in several shows online. Some of which are online counterparts of their ongoing programs, as taping schedules are currently limited, various virtual talk shows among artists to shed light on how they’re dealing with the pandemic, and interactive shows to cater to fans, which are mainly produced by our Entertainment Group, Artist Center and other GMA teams.
Meanwhile, our news and public affairs group is likewise continuously creating digital content such as exclusive explainers, talk shows, human interest stories and online specials, and a series of current programs to keep netizens informed and inspired, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.
Hypothetical question: What if the franchise renewal of GMA was also denied, how would the network handle the situation?
I am not in a position to speak on behalf of the company regarding this. Although if I am to give my personal opinion, GMA will still concentrate on what we mainly do—to create content for both news and entertainment. So, we will continue that and try to find platforms wherein we can sell our content.
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