Philippine Media and Entertainment

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Media and entertainment in the Philippines takes on the traditional roles usually ascribed to media, such as informing, educating, and entertaining the populace. Mass media has also been known to have had a strong influence in the unfolding of the country's history.

Currently, there are several types of mass communications media in the country: print, broadcasting (which includes radio and television), cinema, music through CDs and cassettes, and the internet. These types of mass communications are peopled by dedicated professionals and entertainers who also comprise the backbone of Philippine media and entertainment. Also, media and entertainment people have put up several organizations meant to safeguard or promote the interests of Philippine media and the audience it serves.

Today, most of the media is owned by corporations which earn their revenues through advertising and sales. However, Philippine media has also been known for its activism and nationalism, especially at times when the country needed it.

Media in the Philippines

See main article: Mass Media in the Philippines

Media is defined by Encarta as “the various means of mass communications considered as a whole, including television, radio, magazines, and newspapers, together with the people involved in their production.” The term, in this context, is taken as synonymous to mass media, so called because it is designed to reach the mass of people.

In the Philippines, mass media forms can be divided into three major categories: print, electronic, and special media. The print media includes newspapers (both broadsheets and tabloids) and magazines. Electronic media, strictly speaking, encompasses both analog and digital types of media that use electronic equipment for its distribution. Hence, this comprises radio, television, cinema, and the internet. Special media refers to forms that cannot be classified as either print or electronic. Examples of special media forms are the billboards, t-shirts, balloons that also carry messages meant for the masses. The most widely used media forms in the Philippines, however, are print and some forms of electronic media.

Media has a tripartite role in Philippine society: political, economic, and social. It is the political aspect that media satisfies when it disseminates information, creates and reflects public opinion, and serves as as a watchdog on government. This role is mostly carried out by the different news and public information media forms, both in print and broadcasting, through the varied journalists, reporters and broadcasters of Philippine media.

Entertainment in Media

See main article: Philippine Entertainment

One of the major functions of Philippine media is entertainment. It is mainly through this that media assumes its social, as well as its economic role. The bulk of the entertainment industry in the Philippines is centered around mass media, mainly through print (magazines), broadcasting (radio and television), film, and music.

Philippine entertainment is littered with celebrities from television, cinema, and the music scene, appearing in varied TV shows, movies, concerts, special events, and even in the realm of politics. Some of these celebrities are connected with a specific television network or recording company.

The Filipinos are heavily engrossed in entertainment. In fact, oftentimes, the line between media and entertainment becomes blurred, what with the entry of Philippine TV or movie celebrities into the political arena. Even news reportage can oftentimes morph into entertainment.

Philippine Constitution

The Philippines as a nation acknowledges the power of media, especially due to the role it played in the course of Philippine history. The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines states that it “recognizes the vital role of communication and information in nation-building”. The country also recognizes the basic rights of freedom of speech and of the press. Additionally, in Article XVI, the constitution expressly states that the State should provide for the “full development of Filipino capability and the emergence of communication structures” that can support the “needs and aspirations of the nation.”

Types of Media


See main article: Print media in the Philippines

Print media began in the Philippines during the Spanish era, through Spanish-language newsletters. National newspapers during that era, however, aided greatly to the Philippine Revolution. The first English language newspapers came out in 1898, which ushered in the era of modern media.

Of the print media, the most popular are the newspapers, both broadsheets or tabloids, being the cheapest and most accessible to the public. Several newspapers enjoy national distribution, although each region in the country also has its own regional newspapers. Apart from these, the print industry, through varied trade, educational, and magazine publishers, produces glossy and non-glossy magazines, comic books, pocketbook series, textbooks, trade books, and periodicals.


Among the electronic media forms, radio and television enjoy the highest patronage, with every Filipino home having one or both appliances.


See main article: Philippine Radio

Radio broadcasting began in the Philippines in 1922. Since then, radio has become the most accessible electronic media. Filipinos either own or enjoy its services even in public transportation or areas. Aside from the newspaper, it is the most favored source of information, opinion, and entertainment.

Philippine radio stations broadcast in either FM or AM bands. Some stations, especially in the AM band, broadcast mostly talk or news programs. Music radio stations are usually found in the FM band. Often, radio stations specialize in a particular type of music, such as pop, classical, new wave, or mellow. Radio stations also broadcast either nationally or regionally.


See main article: Philippine Television

The first television broadcast in the Philippines occurred in the 1950s. Since then, the television industry has been considered as a very strong influence on society. There are hundreds of local stations that populate the airwaves, most of them belonging to a broadcast network, the largest of which are ABS-CBN and GMA, also the most popular television stations.

Television networks and stations broadcast through satellite or “free” channels and cable channels. Most channels broadcast in both English and Filipino languages, and programming is mostly general interest. Networks, though, often reserve certain stations for a specific format, such as music, news, animation, children's programs, educational TV, etc. Philippine TV programs range from canned foreign series to locally produced soap operas or telenovelas, fantaseryes, news and information programs, variety shows, game shows, educational shows and reality TV, starred in by a bevy of Philippine celebrities. Most of these celebrities are connected to a specific television network.

The content of television programs is monitored by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), which also assigns ratings to the TV shows.


See main article: Philippine Cinema

Considered as the youngest of Philippine arts, film first appeared in the Philippines in 1904. As a media form, Philippine cinema, at present, is thriving industry. Movies in the Philippines are mostly produced by one of the major film studios. The most popular genre among movies is the drama. However, there is also a big niche for comedy, romance, horror, and historical films. Philippine cinema has also been used to promote or foster certain political or historical insights.

Film stars are among the most popular celebrities in Philippine entertainment. The country also has its share of renowned film makers and films which have gained recognition in several international film festivals.

Currently, independent films are gaining a stronger footing in the industry, with the establishment of groups like Cinemalaya.


See main article: Philippine Advertising

Philippine advertising ranges from print to television commercials to billboards or special media. These ads are commissioned through varied advertising agencies around the country. Often Philippine entertainment celebrities are paid to endorse products.

New Media

See main article: Internet in the Philippines

New media refers mainly to digital media forms such as computers and the Internet. The Philippines is relatively new to this media, officially entering the world of global Internet only in 1994. However, in a span of less than 10 years, the country has made up for it by being avid users of the Internet and digital communications in general.




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