October marks the anniversary of the Philippine television industry which first made its mark in 1953. As its own to commemorate the milestones of the Philippine media, (broadcast media in particular) this blog will dedicate this month writing some interesting tidbits and places in broadcast history, past and present.
Long considered as titans in the print media industry with their ownership of Manila Times and the Liwayway Group of Publications to name a few, the Roces family found themselves getting involved in the booming broadcast industry in 1960, thanks to the license given to them by Philippine Congress. Thus, on June 19 of that year, Joaquin “Chino” Roces founded the Associated Broadcasting Company.
Originally starting out with studios along Roxas Boulevard, ABC would also have studios along the former Pasong Tamo St., nearby the head office of Roces’ Liwayway Group Publications. During its first 12 years, ABC was considered one of the top TV networks of the time, and a fierce competitor of ABS-CBN, then already known as the number one broadcast network, not to mentioned it being owned by another influential family in the media industrty as well, the Lopezes.
September 21, 1972 marked an abrupt halt not only to ABC’s broadcast growth but that of the Philippine media as well as then Pres. Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in the country. Not only was ABC and other media outlets ordered shut down, the network’s owner Chino Roces was imprisoned as well as well as other journalists. This would pave way to another role in history Roces would soon make, but that is another story interesting to be told next time.
Marcos would soon by overthrown by the People Power Revolution in 1986, as the new government vowed to uphold the free media that was existent before Martial Law. But unlike the Lopezes who were able to take back ABS-CBN and reopen a year later, ABC would take a longer time to go back in business, so to speak. For ABC’s reopening, the Roceses needed some help and thus turned to a partner, businessman Edward Tan to help in the operations of the reopened ABC. In return, Tan bought majority stake of the company.
So in 1990, ABC would open a new broadcast facility (with studios and transmitter) at a new home in San Bartolome in the Novaliches district of Quezon City. A year later, ABC began to air test broadcasts with Japan documentaries before fully starting its commercial operations the following in 1992.
ABC aimed to challenge the then dominance of the 2 existing broadcast giants that rose after 1986, its old rival ABS-CBN and another longtime rival GMA Network which became aggressive by that time as well. Along with the difficulties ABC had in breaking the 2-network war of the Philippine TV landscape was the change of ownership in recent years. Edward Tan would later sell ABC to the group of Antonio Cojuangco Jr., whose family used to control the country’s largest telecom company, PLDT. In a strange twist of fate, Cojuangco and his group would later relinquish control to the company of the current majority stakeholder of PLDT, the group of Manuel V. Pangilinan, which was completed in 2010.
With a new ownership came a transformation to ABC as it was renamed TV5, AKA the “Kapatid” (sibling) Network. With it came reenergized efforts in the network’s expansion and modernization for the digital era. Perhaps the most visible sign of these efforts is the construction (at this time of writing) of the new TV5 Media Center in Mandaluyong. Envisioned to have state-of-the-art facilities and modern architecture, the TV5 Media Center is envisioned to be the new broadcast home and operations center of the network, though it will still keep the Novaliches complex as its transmitter site and for other broadcast facilities as well.
This new media center is expected to be completed by the end of 2012, so it’s something to look forward to as this new chapter in TV5’s history is still being written.
Acknowledgements as well to Wikipedia
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