Television in the Philippines

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Philippine television" redirects here. For Television networks broadcasting in the Philippines, see List of television stations in the Philippines.

Television in the Philippines was introduced in 1953. But even before that, during the late 1940s, a number of academic experiments had been done and replicated by Filipino engineering students.

Television ratings are compiled by two companies, the AGB Nielsen and Kantar Media. Currently, no industry-based awards that recognizes outstanding television achievements are being given annually. From 1975 to 1978, the Sinag Awards were given by the Philippine Academy for Television Arts and Sciences (PATAS). It was considered the most prestigious television awards of the country during that time and until now, no one have replaced it.[1][2] On the other hand, the Star Awards for Television are the oldest existing television awards in the country handed out annually by the Philippine Movie Press Club and they are voted by the press.


1946-1959: The Early years[edit]

James Lindenberg, an American engineer dubbed as the "father of Philippine television," began assembling transmitters and established the Bolinao Electronics Corporation (BEC) on June 26, 1946. It was named after his wife's hometown of Bolinao, Pangasinan. Three years later, he was the first to apply for a license in Philippine Congress to establish a television station. After a year, on June 14, 1950, his request was granted. Due to the scarcity of raw materials and strict import control since 1948, he was compelled to branch into radio broadcasting instead.[3]

Lindenberg's attempt to put up a television station did not go to waste. Judge Antonio Quirino, the brother of President Elpidio Quirino, had been trying to get a license from Congress that would allow him to put up a television station. The Congress, however, denied him from getting such license for the fear that he might use it as vehicles for propaganda for his brother who was then running for a second term in the Presidential elections of 1953. Because of this, he bought 70-percent share of BEC stocks,[3] which earned him to control the franchise indirectly. He then changed the name of BEC to Alto Broadcasting System (ABS), after the names of its new owners, Aleli and Judge Antonio Quirino. James Lindenberg, was still part-owner, and had served as the general manager of the station.[3]

Before the TV station was formally launched, it faced several obstacles. The Central Bank, for instance, refused to grant Judge Quirino dollar credit from the bank, saying that the said venture was too risky. For this reason, Judge Quirino asked help from his friend Marvin Gray, whose family is a friend of General Sarnoff, who was then the President of Radio Corporation of America (RCA). Through the intervention of Gray, Judge Quirino was able to get assistance from RCA.

Prior to the first telecast, Judge Quirino initiated the importation of 120 television sets through the 60,000 PHP loan that he received from the owner of Joe's Electric, who was, in turn, became the first to be bestowed with the right to sell television sets in the country.[3]

Finally, on October 23, 1953, Judge Quirino marked the first official telecast in the Philippines through the launching of DZAQ-TV Channel 3. With the help of RCA, four men underwent technical training in the United States:

  • Arcadio "Cady" Carandang, who was in charge of setting up a TV service company;
  • Romualdo "Romy" Carballo, who oversaw the transmission aspect;
  • Harry "Slim" Chaney, who acted as a spark plug for the whole operation, and
  • Jose "Joe" Navarro, who learned filming techniques in television.[3]

The ABS studio was a makeshift barn along Florentino Torres Street in Manila. With the transmitter acquired from RCA, the telecasts were received clearly not only in Manila but also in the neighboring provinces. Except for the four engineers who was sent to the US for training, most of the personnel at ABS learned TV operations on the job. The first transmitter for the station was located in San Juan.

DZAQ-TV3 started out on a four-hour-a-day schedule, from six to ten in the evening. Although ABS was able to round up fifty-two advertisers for the premier telecast, selling spots for regular programming had proven to be difficult since buying radio ad spots was more cost-effective for advertisers. During this time, TV sets costs less than an automobile, and TV reception depended on electrical power, which was not always available.[3]

The programs being telecast at that time were usually borrowed films from the foreign embassies, imported old cowboy movies, and actual coverage of a variety of events. When the station ran out of presenting any new feature, stage plays were transported to television. In 1953, less than a month after the first telecast, Father James Reuter, a Jesuit with radio and television training in the United States, produced the first play on Philippine television entitled Cyrano de Bergerac. The said three-hour-long play was done live, and all the talents were students.[3]

In the beginning, Philippine TV networks would buy the rights of airing mediocre American TV programs and serials since it was cheaper than producing local shows. In order to entice advertisers as well as to encourage increased viewership, simultaneous airing of programs on radio and television resorted to promotional gimmicks. Many popular radio shows, including, Tawag ng Tanghalan, Kuwentong Kutsero, and Student Canteen, started their life on TV this way.[3]

In 1955, Radiowealth began manufacturing television sets. Other local outfits such as, Carlsound and Rehco, also started setting up assembly plants. In 1958, the high taxes previously imposed on canned television shows were removed, which made US shows less expensive than live shows. In April of the same year, another TV network opened, and this was the Chronicle Broadcasting Network (CBN), established as a radio medium in 1956 by businessmen Eugenio[disambiguation needed] and Fernando Lopez. In the same year, CBN brought ABS from Judge Quirino, and merged the two companies under the name Bolinao Electronics Corporation,[3] which was incidentally the former name of ABS.

With the establishment of DZXL-TV Channel 9 on April 19, 1958, the Lopez brothers controlled both television channels nationwide. On November 14, 1969, DZAQ-TV transferred to channel 2, while its sister station DZXL-TV transferred to channel 4.

1960-1972: Rising popularity[edit]

At the turn of the next decade, TV sets became the most sellable appliance in the urban areas.[3] Also within this period, other VHF TV stations opened. These include the following:

Among the top rated programs in the 1960s were The Nida-Nestor Show, Buhay Artista, and Pancho Loves Tita. Another local show that has had a prevailing top rating is Tawag ng Tanghalan, the amateur singing contest hosted by Lopito and Patsy.

BEC's Channel 3 staged in 1963 the first ever test television broadcasts in color.

On February 1, 1967, the corporate name of BEC was changed to ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation. Also, during this year, Radiowealth pioneered in the production of 19-, 21- and 25-inch models of color TV sets. Moreover, it was favored by advertisers like Procter and Gamble, Philippine Refining Company, Colgate-Palmolive, Del Rosario Brothers, and Caltex Philippines.

In 1969, Filipinos witnessed the live television coverage of the Apollo 11 historic landing. It was the first telecast via satellite in the country and the first in color. Channels 5, 7 and 13 tied up for the said project.[3] In the same year, RPN-9 introduced the longest running and consistently rating sitcom, John En Marsha and the First Family of Philippine television, the Puruntongs. These sitcoms were created by Ading Fernando, and it starred Dolphy and Nida Blanca. It was also the first to start transmissions in full color.

By the late 1960s, news and public affairs programs were pioneered by Channels 2 and 5. The Big News on ABC Channel 5 and The World Tonight on ABS-CBN Channel 2 were the first news programs on Philippine television, followed in that same period by ABS-CBN Channel 9's Newswatch, which with the transfer of channel ownership to RPN-9 in 1969 would stay on for more years.

By 1971, the Philippines, through Radiowealth, had become the third country in the world to manufacture color TV sets.[3]

1972-1986: Marcos era and martial law[edit]

When the Philippines was placed under martial rule, Marcos ordered the take over of media firms. Government troops entered radio and television stations, and they were placed under military control. All media outlets that were critical of the Marcos administration were padlocked and sequestered.

DZXL-TV Channel 4 of ABS-CBN was seized by the Office of Press Secretary Francisco Tatad and the National Media Production Center of Gregorio Cendaña and was renamed DWGT-TV Channel 4, the government channel. DWKB-TV Channel 9 and DZTV-TV Channel 13 were eventually controlled by the then Ambassador Roberto Benedicto, and Bob Stewart’s DZBB-TV Channel 7 was later allowed to operate with limited three-month permits. ABS-CBN was seized from the Lopez family, and Eugenio Lopez Jr., then president of ABS-CBN, was imprisoned. By the latter part of 1973, GMA Network was sold to Felipe Gozon the family lawyer of Stewart because foreigners are not allowed to own businesses in the Philippines, who later changed the name from RBS, to GMA Radio-Television Arts, to Global Media Arts, or simply GMA Network, popularly known as GMA-7.[4]

After ABS-CBN's DZXL-TV Channel 9 moved to Channel 4 in 1969, the Channel 9 frequency was used by the Roberto Benedicto-owned Kanlaon Broadcasting System (KBS). However, when a fire destroyed the KBS television studios in Pasay, Benedicto's people took control of the ABS-CBN studios in Bohol Avenue, Quezon City. ABS-CBN, as a network, ceased operations for 14 years, and its studios became the broadcasting venues of new channels, MBS-4. A year later, Salvador "Buddy" Tan, general manager of KBS, reopened Channel 2 as the Banahaw Broadcasting Corporation.

The two Benedicto stations namely, KBS Channel 9 and BBC Channel 2, served as vehicles of propaganda for the government. In 1980, Channels 2, 9 and 13 moved to the newly built Broadcast City in Diliman, Quezon City. In the same year, Gregorio Cendaña was named Minister of Information. DWGT-TV Channel 4 became known as Maharlika Broadcasting System.

Initially, the Department of Public Information, reviewed everything that was to be aired on radio and TV set up the rules and regulations. Through other government agencies, policies on ownership, allocation of frequencies, station distribution, and program standards were promulgated. In 1973, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas was created, and this agency allowed for self-regulation. A year later, a presidential decree created the Broadcast Media Council.

The 1974 Miss Universe Pageant, the 1975 Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier heavyweight fight, the 1981 visit of Pope John Paul II was shown worldwide, and it made a false impression that everything was doing well in the country. When Benigno Aquino was assassinated in 1983, it was a small item on television news. During his historic funeral procession, GMA-7 was allowed by only ten seconds of airtime coverage.[3]

In 1984, Imee Marcos, daughter of Ferdinand Marcos, tried to take over GMA-7 but she was successfully prevented by GMA executives, Menardo Jimenez and Felipe Gozon. Disappointed with the Marcos dictatorship, Stewart left the Philippines.[3]

1986-2009: Restoration and expansion[edit]

In 1986, during the People Power Revolution which destroyed the rule of Marcos regime, ABS-CBN was returned after BBC, RPN, and IBC were sequestered by the Philippine Commission on Good Government (PCGG), in turn awarded BBC through an executive order, RPN and IBC turned over to Government Communications Group.

MBS Channel 4 later became PTV 4 (People's Television) after the EDSA Revolution, and in 2001, it was known as the National Broadcasting Network (NBN), before renaming back to the People's Television Network in 2011.

ABC returned to broadcast in 1992. In 2008, ABC became TV5.

IBC later became a 100% government owned station in the 1990s by virtue of a compromise agreement between PCGG and Roberto Benedicto, management and marketing were returned to the IBC Board of Directors.

In 1998, ZOE TV was finally launched on channel 11. The channel was blocktimed by GMA Network in 2006, and was relaunched as QTV in November. The channel was again relaunched in February 2011, this time as GMA News TV.

During the middle 1990s to 2000s, many UHF stations were launched such as, SBN 21, Studio 23, Net 25, Citynet 27, RJTV 29, CTV 31, UNTV 37, NBC 41 among others.

Philippine shows began to be exported to other Asian and non-Asian countries. After the international success of Philippine television, Eat Bulaga! was the first Philippine Variety Show to be franchised in another country. Its first franchise is Eat Bulaga! Indonesia.

2010-present: Shift to HD[edit]

In 2010's, television shows in high definition were beginning to bloom. One of the example is Be Careful With My Heart of ABS-CBN, was the first series to be shot in high definition. Following this, several primetime shows, documentary shows, several newscasts and afternoon blocks from ABS-CBN, GMA Network and TV5 were also shot in HD. However, the shows are still being aired in standard definition letterbox while the government still works out the implementing rules regarding ISDB-TV digital TV broadcasting.

Free-to-Air television networks[edit]

Major television networks[edit]

  • ABS-CBN Corporation (ABS-CBN): The oldest television network. On October 23, 1953, the then-Alto Broadcasting System (ABS) launched DZAQ-TV Channel 3, while in Fernando and Eugenio Lopez launched then-Chronicle Broadcasting Network (CBN) as DZXL-TV Channel 9 on April 19, 1958, the Lopez brothers controlled both television channels nationwide. In 1967, the corporate name was changed to ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation for its merging companies. DZAQ-TV transferred to channel 2, while its sister station DZXL-TV transferred to channel 4. Nowadays, ABS-CBN is on VHF channel 2, while channel 4 is now controlled by state-broadcaster People's Television Network after the EDSA People Power Revolution, that was event after these channels sequestered by Ferdinand Marcos' cronies.
  • TV5 Network, Inc. (TV5): Launched DZTM-5 in 1960 by Chino Roces of Manila Times. In 1972, ABC shut down due to martial law by then-President Ferdinand Marcos. But in February 1992, ABC relaunched channel 5 and became the fastest-growing network. In 2008, it became TV5.
  • GMA Network, Inc. (GMA): Launched DZBB-7 in 1961 by Robert Stewart, American journalist of its former name Republic Broadcasting System, then changed its channel name to GMA Radio-Television Arts in 1974. GMA became one of the instrumental during the People Power Revolution in 1986 and became top stations in the country. Now, the RBS corporate name shifted to GMA Network Inc. in 1996.

Government-owned networks[edit]

Digital television[edit]

The National Telecommunications Commission of the Philippines announced that the country will use the Japanese ISDB.

Pay television[edit]

The largest cable television provider in the Philippines is Sky Cable Corporation, a subsidiary of the Filipino media conglomerate ABS-CBN Corporation which owns SkyCable, Destiny Cable, MyDestiny Cable, Home Cable, Sun Cable and UniCable. Sky Cable started digitizing its services to stop further data piracy as well as customized plan and high-definition television. Sky Cable operate provincially through its sister Pilipino Cable Corporation.

In 2006, digital cable was launched. This not only made additional channels possible but also prepaid cable service. Both companies also offer cable internet where cable television is bundled either free or at a discount.

Besides cable, direct-to-home satellite is offered through Dream Satellite TV, Cignal and G-Sat and has prepaid variants as well.

Internet TV may also offered through on-demand or live streaming through and iWant TV.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Philippine Television Awards". Pelikula, Atbp. April 27, 2009. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  2. ^ "25 years, and nothing to show?". in my mind's eye. November 21, 2006. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Geocities: The Philippine TV History. Accessed January 23, 2009.
  4. ^ a b GMA Network History. Accessed January 23, 2009.
  5. ^ [1].