Saturday, January 20, 2007

TV RATINGS - Break Time

TV RATINGS - Break Time

What's up, duck?

By Conrado Banal III

IT'S a real-life soap opera, featuring the word war between the
country's top television

networks, GMA Network Inc. and ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp., something
to do with "cheating"

by ABS-CBN in the ratings.

Adding drama to what is turning out to be an ugly fight, is another
letter sent by GMA

Network to ad agencies, refuting the claims of ABS-CBN regarding its
surprise upsurge in the

number of its viewers in the cable homes.

Now, the reality in advertising is that the industry has changed. It
is not as lucrative as

it used to be. The budget for media ads, for instance, is being
slashed continually because

clients are going more and more for "below- the-line" promotions.

In other words, the network war over ratings is precisely a fight for
control of the biggest

slice of what may be left of the advertising pie in the future.

Earlier, GMA Network sent letters to various ad agencies, saying it
had lost confidence in

the AGB-Nielsen survey of television home viewers.

ABS-CBN basically narrowed the big lead of GMA Network in non-cable
ratings, due to a big

jump in its cable ratings.

To answer GMA Network's out-and-out accusation, ABS-CBN wrote the ad
agencies that its good

performance in the AGB-Nielsen survey had something to do with a
"technical problem."

ABS-CBN said its low-band frequency (Channel 2), which was the lowest
band among the free TV

stations, caused broadcast "noise," which is less of a problem in
cable. This should explain

why it had a higher rating in cable than in non-cable.

But then, GMA Network claimed it had hired technical experts who said
that what ABS-CBN was

saying was, basically, "baloney."

In cable, for instance, ABS-CBN moved from Channel 6 to Channel 8 in
2003. So how come, if

the claim of ABS-CBN about technical problems was true, its cable
ratings even went down

from 13.3 percent in 2001 to 11.3 percent two years later in 2005?

As for ABS-CBN's claim that its higher cable ratings resulted from
"content improvement,"

GMA-7 wondered why the ABS-CBN ratings claim took place only in cable,
while its non-cable

ratings continued to decline.

Next in the series, surely, will be the answer of ABS-CBN. I'm just
not sure if the guys in

the advertising industry have had enough of this soap
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