"It's really a Filipino company.  We're confident that we're not doing anything illegal," says Jasper Evangelista, senior vice president for brand management of TV5.

On December 3, television network GMA-7 filed a suit against the newly launched network TV5. The former complained the "unconstitutionality" of having Malaysian investors being involved in the "programming content and airtime sales" of TV5. (Click here to read related article.)

Formerly known as ABC-5, the network now offers 24/7 proramming and operates a brand new transmitter. Its management explained that ABC-5 had entered into a "major blocktime agreement" with MPB Primedia Inc., which is a Philippine corporation backed by Media Prima Berhad of Malaysia.

To further explain this, TV5 CEO Christopher Sy told the media during the network's press launch in August, "ABC-5 is still owned by Tonyboy Cojuanco. Prime Media has simply entered into a blocktime agreement but we do not have equity in this station."

The entertainment media was able to get an update about this said case at TV5's Live Caravan last Saturday, January 3, at the CCP Complex in Pasay City. 

In an interview with TV5's SVP for brand management Jasper Evangelista and TV5's media relations head Pat Marcelo-Magbanua, both said that the said complaint has already reached their lawyers, although there was no official statement released yet by the network.

Despite this, Mr. Evangelista was confident that their network did nothing illegal when TV5 was launched. He said, "If you go to TV5, it's a Filipino company—brand management, programming, and marketing as well. Everybody is Filipino."

To clear the rumors about the participation of the Malaysian company in TV5's operation, Ms. Magbanua explained, "We're actually not [a conglomerate of Prima Berhad]. 'Yon din ang misnomer ng mga PRs [press releases], kasi sometimes they put lang words, e, of what they understand.

"Technically, we have Malaysian investors, parang any company naman in the country can have investors. That's what they have in our company, they invested.  But in terms of management, that's still us [Filipino]—we're self-registered, we're Filipino-run, 'yong ganun. Pero, we must admit that we have the money [from Malaysian investors], but definitely the decisions are made by us."

INSPIRED BY THE REACTION. The network took GMA-7's reaction as a challenge to give something new to the audience.

"We recognized this year is gonna be challenging, of course, magre-react na ang mga players," said Mr. Evangelista.  They have been reacting naman.  Ako, expect that, I look forward to that challenge.  As a station, our competitors, they're there to keep us on our toes and be really innovative with our content."

Evangelista added that instead of thinking about the two major networks as the competitors, they treat them as media that could teach them something new about the industry.

"Of course, [Channel] 2 and 7, our competitors, are there, we're learning from them.  Of course, 2 and 7, sila na ang nag-establish ng TV landscape.  You know, kudos to them because they're now moving dynasty, di ba? Kami naman, we're learning, of course, from their success and also from their failure.  That's where TV5 strategy emanates from—learning from competitors, learning how to do things better as much as possible, you know, giving televiewers something new on their tables. So, we welcome the competition actually."

ALTERNATIVE OFFERINGS. In less than six months since it was launched, TV5 has already reached the third spot in the ratings game. 

"Everybody was inspired that we ended at that high," commented Mr. Evangelista. "When we launched, we were very conservative also. We don't want to oversee naman the market. The objective of the launching of TV5 is be a solid number three."