Television in the Philippines
Television in the Philippines was introduced in 1953. But even before that, a number of academic experiments had been done and replicated by Filipino engineering students.
James Lindenberg, an American engineer dubbed as the "father of Philippine television," began assembling transmitters and established the Bolinao Electronics Corporation (BEC) on June 13, 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.<ref name="pinoytv">Geocities: The Philippine TV History. Accessed January 23, 2009.</ref>
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 brought 70-percent share of BEC stocks,<ref name="pinoytv"/> 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.<ref name="pinoytv"/>
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 fist telecast, Judge Quirino initiated the importation of 120 television sets through the Php 60,000 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.<ref name="pinoytv"/>
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.<ref name="pinoytv"/>
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.
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.<ref name="pinoytv"/>
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.<ref name="pinoytv"/>
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.<ref name="pinoytv"/>
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 and Fernando Lopez. In the same year, CBN brought ABS from Judge Quirino, and merged the two companies under the name Bolinao Electronics Corporation,<ref name="pinoytv"/> 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 natiowide.
1960s to early 1970s
At the turn of the next decade, TV sets became the most sellable appliance in the urban areas.<ref name="pinoytv"/> Also within this period, other VHF TV stations opened. These include the following:
- DZBB-TV Channel, established on October 29, 1961 by the Republic Broadcasting System (RBS), owned by Robert Stewart;<ref name="gma7">GMA Network History. Accessed January 23, 2009.</ref>
- Philippine Broadcast Service Channel in 1961 by the Philippine government;
- DZTM-TV Channel 5, established in 1962 by the Associated Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), owned by the Roces family, the publisher of The Manila Times;
- Radio Philippines Network Channel 9 in 1969;
- DZTV Channel 13 in 1977, run by Inter-Island Broadcasting Corporation (IBC), owned by Andres Soriano; and,
- DZRH-TV Channel 11 of Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC), owned by Manuel Elizalde.
Among the top rated programs in the 60's 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.
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.<ref name="pinoytv"/> 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.
By the late 1960s, news and public affairs programs were pioneered by Channels 2 and 5. The The Big News on ABC Channel 5 and The World Tonight on ABS-CBN Channel 2 were the first news programs on Philippine television.
By 1971, the Philippines, through Radiowealth, had become the third country in the world to manufacture color TV sets.<ref name="pinoytv"/>
Marcos era and martial law
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.
DWGT-TV Channel 4, the government channel, was seized by the Office of Press Secretary Francisco Tatad and the National Media Production Center of Gregorio Cendaña. DZXL-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, Channel 7 was at the brink of bankruptcy, and was forced to sell 70% of the business to a group of investors, who later changed the name from RBS to Greater Manila Area Radio Television Arts, or simply GMA-7.<ref name="gma7"/>
When DZXL-TV Channel 9 of CBN was sold to Roberto Benedicto, he changed the name from CBN to 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.<ref name="pinoytv"/>
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.<ref name="pinoytv"/>
In 1986, during People Power which ironned the rule of Marcos regime,
In Metro Manila, StarCable, G-Cable and Cablelink are the primary cable operators. SkyCable also has provincial affiliates, which carry the former's brand and programming may vary from the one provided in Metro Manila.
In 2006, digital cable was launched. This not only made additional channels possible but also pre-paid 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 Television and has pre-paid variants as well.
|Broadcast television networks in the Philippines|
|Major networks:||ABS–CBN ·TV5 ·GMA|
|State-controlled networks:||IBC ·PTV|
|Minor networks:||CLTV ·CTV ·CBS ·EBC ·PBC ·RJTV ·SBN ·ABS-CBN Sports and Action|
|Religious networks:||SMNI ·CCTN ·INC TV ·Gateway/3ABN ·Light TV|
|News networks:||AksyonTV ·GMA News TV ·RPN (CNN Philippines)|