PTV-4 to turn commercial


State-owned People’s Television 4 (PTV-4) is going commercial after President Benigno Aquino has endorsed its bid to join the competition for broadcast ads.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Monday that  allowing PTV-4 to compete for ads was one of two major changes that the President wanted made in the proposed amendments to the network’s charter, Republic Act No. 7306.

The other change is the infusion of P5 billion in new capital into PTV-4. The amount will come from the  proceeds of the sale of two sequestered stations—Radio Philippines Network (RPN) Channel 9 and Inter-Continental Broadcasting Corp. (IBC) Channel 13—and funds raised from spectrum management fees collected by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) from the broadcasting and telecommunications industry.

“The President’s vision is to transform PTV’s image from a propaganda machine in the past administration to a public service station which provides meaningful and balanced news to the public in the mold of the BBC (British Broadcasting Corpporation),” Coloma said in a phone interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Coloma said there was a need for Congress to amend RA 7306, which prohibits PTV-4 from getting ads and limits its financing to state funds.

“This provision, while aimed at ensuring that PTV will not actively compete with commercial networks, proved to be detrimental as the network failed to sustain the viability of its operations while being allowed to earn only institutional revenues from government entities like Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.) and PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office),” Coloma said.

He said the lack of commercial earnings had depleted PTV-4’s P1 billion capitalization, requiring fresh investment from the government.

The Cabinet’s economic development cluster will complete within the year the privatization schedule for RPN 9 and IBC 13, while both the House and the Senate have already discussed the bills that would amend PTV-4’s charter at the committee level.

Coloma said PTV-4 would use its fresh capital to buy new equipment, improve its broadcast signals, and reformat its programming to at  least 60 percent for  news and public affairs and 40 percent for  socially relevant entertainment, including educational, historical and and cultural programs.

On Monday, PTV-4 launched “Panahon.TV,” a 24-hour weather program that Coloma said would provide the public weather information in plain language.

Panahon.TV is the idea of Coloma and Lina Group of Companies chair Alberto Lina. Coloma said it was their response to the public clamor for weather information they could understand.

Donna Flavier, Panahon.TV executive producer and UBE Media Inc. representative, said the weather program was the result of six months of conceptualization and meetings with PTV-4 officials.

“This is our response to President Aquino’s order for the public to be given accurate and clear information on the weather,” Flavier said.

The first telecast of the program is scheduled for September 10, from 5 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. The program will air from Monday through Friday, with hourly updates from the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) airing on a special segment.

The program will have four regular segments: “Laging Handa” (Always Prepared), for tips and reminders in times of crisis and natural calamities; “Tamang Oras” (Right Time), for trivia and facts about the right time or season for activities; “Napapanahong Kaalaman” (Timely Information), for basic terminologies in weather forecasting; and “Sigla” (Health), for tips and information on how weather can affect health.

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  • randyaltarejos

    If PTV-4 is allowed to solicit commercial ads to earn more revenues from the market, why can’t the administration also consider allowing the Philippines News Agency (PNA) to have its own newspaper so that it can generate revenues from advertisements. As one of its senior editors then, PNA has a lot of news materials that can be used for its own publication. Besides, it already has enough editors who are more than qualified to edit and manage the publication. At present, its revenues are limited to fees paid by local and international subscribers. But these revenues do not directly benefit the PNA employees, especially the reporters who could hardly compete with foreign newswires agencies, due to limited resources.

  • Leon Mansion

    PTV-4 will have to rise above local broadcasting standards if it is to be recognized abroad for its content . This means writing in proper English , improving diction ( that Filipino in BBC badly needs to be sent to diction school) , lightning production transition as opposed to the local penchant for long-winded program titles , mature-looking presentations , and most of all creative program ideas .  

  • shark_ga

    I hope this really comes to fruition so that those of us who are sick and tired of brainless telenovelas have a default channel to go to everytime we turn on the TV. I mean, ANC is good and I actually like it but it’s on cable. GMA News TV’s primetime shows are also good, but on occasion they replace those programs with American Idol and other irrelevant nonsense. What’s up with that?

    Besides news and public affairs, PTV can take a cue from cable channels like National Geographic, Discovery, History Channel, Bio and Asian Food Channel and air programs that are similar to those on these networks.

  • speedstream2

    Not to rain on anybody’s parade but, for starters, even those program titles will not make the grade in the very competitive arena that’s television. Mindsets ingrained through the years will have to be chucked overboard. Getting a slice of the advertising market is not only daunting, but could be a very expensive venture, mainly in terms of capital outlay, talent build-up and creative programs. Here’s hoping the government’s communications can get their act together on this planned PTV-4 makeover.

  • Markus Macarine Madewell

    Its a start (anew). Before the charter channel 4 was doing okay.  It showed the PBA(superb coverage at the time), top-rating US shows, the Regal TV sitcom with Rene Requiestas was pretty popular, Maricel Soriano(‘Maria, Maria”) was there, Batibot was there, Nickelodeon was there, Balintataw(with the PETA) was good drama, PTV4 was quite entertaining.

    To sustain itself and remain relevant PTV ought to merge itself with Radyo Ng Bayan’s newsgathering. Lose the green screen-gawing backdrop yung buong newsroom mismo, mag- propaganda-rama-sa-hapon, move Snow Badua to a full two hours on Sundays. and please please please put the infomercials sa madaling araw, where they should be.

  • dukaponte

    Dapat magkaroon ng public information program ang tv4. Sa ngayon, pag meron mga calamities, ang nakikita ko lang sa tv ay iyong mga relief distribution ng kanikanilang tv network. Naiisip ko tuloy kung ano ang ginagawa ng dswd tuwing meron sakuna. Wala kasi silang public information program.

  • Jpb

    dapat mas informative at educational, di lang puro showbiz. idagdag na rin ang regular emergency updates sa panahon ng mga calamities at magsilbing parang guide sa mga tao kung ano gagawin, kung saan pupunta, kung nasaan mga relief distribution, kung saan kontakin yung rescue.  pero kung puro commercial , ayun puro commercial ang palabas para madami kita – parang promotional telemarketing channel.

  • Jerick Aldrin Ilagan

    Why not they study the public broadcasters like the BBC, Spanish TVE, ARD/ZDF, American PBS, NHK?

    Reform the Charter and assure their neutrality and impartiality.

    And also: Let the provinces establish their own public broadcasters,

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