It was just two years ago when TV5 under a new and aggressive control of businessman Manny Pangilinan made a grand debut on Philippine television. What happened after the launch made a big impact on everyone in the industry - insiders, players and observers. Not to mention, the network rivals who did not see the cash giant coming. For people behind TV5 began talking to stars and their managers to offer deals that were just too hard to resist. Star piracy became a daily buzz word and order of the day. For truly, they walked the talk, and the industry was jolted like never before. TV5 projected an endless cash flow image to whoever it sees fit to engage in their network.
Stars and their managers were all agog, quick to the draw, sending feelers that they were available for a deal of a lifetime. And who wouldn't be blown away by sky-high talent fees, four to seven times bigger, laid beautifully before anyone willing to be tempted.
And so it went. Stars, both popular and has-been knocked at MVP's door, signed up and were stamped a new name - Kapatid, TV5's new catchword. Soon they were given projects, and cameras began rolling. Everyone was happy and excited. Everything was just too good to be true. TV5 produced shows for their new talents. But it ended there.
After two years, came the painful, horrifying truth: TV5 is losing money - by the billions. The reason is a dead give-away: hardly anyone is watching their shows. Rating is single digit. No audience. No advertisers. Their stars remain unpopular, and worse, those whose stars were still shining prior to the transfer have dimmed soon after. What gives?
With the exception of some: Talentadong Pinoy, Who Wants to be a Millionire, Face-to-Face, the rest of TV5 programs leave a lot to be desired. One viewer's collective assumption says it all: "Shows are stupid, mediocre, shallow, lack creativity and are devoid of quality. TV5 is banking on the idea that all Filipinos are stupid and poor."
Suddenly it dawned on everyone that it's not just the stars that guarantee network profitability. Indeed, some serious thought could have been done prior to executing major decisions. They focused on contracting has-beens at mind-boggling talent fees, but forgot to hire competent minds to run and get the shows going. That was the biggest blunder. No production can make a show succeed if it lacks the skills of brilliant and creative writers, talented directors, and all the right minds that will ensure the quality and content of the program. Otherwise, the show is doomed.
Stars have to be packaged with utmost caution and foresight, to know their professional strengths and weaknesses not just give them projects without thought and study. They should be given regular workshops to further hone and fine-tune their skills. Competition is getting harsher by the day, no one is sacred to be spared.
Rival networks like ABS-CBN and GMA invest so much in their talents and creatives. Not only are workshops done on a regular basis - both the shows and the stars - especially those from Kapamilya are aggressively marketed locally and globally. These translate to not a few endorsements and international projects for the deserving ones.
The planned buying/merging with GMA7 sounds not a brilliant idea if done for the wrong reasons. Doing it to limit and restrain the competition may not be good enough as everyone knows how globally well-placed, unstoppable and aggressive ABS-CBN can be.
What TV5 should do instead is to hire the best minds and pay them accordingly. Along with directors, it's about time that writers, these unsung heroes, are given their just dues.
What about the stars' gargantuan talent fees? I should say that anything or any work that is solely motivated by money will not bring in the best desired results. Proof? It's so close to home, no further proof is needed.
That is why their upcoming star search called Artista Academy with yet another mind-boggling twenty million-peso pot for the top prize sounds like another disaster and embarrassment waiting to happen. Nothing, certainly not the lure of that kind of money can bring out the best talent in anyone, unless talent is properly motivated, nurtured and expertly handled.
We really wish the best for TV5. Mr. Pangilinan has definitely shown to one and all how astute and great a businessman he is. May all his tv investments bear good fruits, in terms of acquiring the best talents and people in the industry.
And these people should better be sure that they deserve to be housed in that P6 billion worth of new TV5 corporate headquarters and studios soon to be completed within the year.