"Network war is not between the two channels anymore..."
This came from TV5's head of creative and entertainment Perci Intalan when asked about the ever-controversial topic among the boob tube fans: the network war.
He wasn't being bigheaded about it. In fact, when he made the pronouncement during the exclusive interview of PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) early this month, his humble overture was, "Nakakatuwa nga kasi ke bago-bago pa lang namin, napapansin na nila kami..."
He couldn't contain his elation over the recent developments in TV5, which has been his home for six years now.
Mr. Intalan resumed, "I think the network war is no longer the same as before kasi, hindi na dalawang nag-uumpugang bato."
Whenever a star makes a major career move, the Manny Pangilinan-owned network instantly gets dragged into the issue.
"Kapag may issue tungkol sa lahat ng artistang lilipat daw, everybody would suspect na kami ang kausap. Bakit hindi GMA o ABS-CBN? Sa 'PEP Alerts' niyo nga, nagugulat ako kasi, ang bilis ng balita. Sabi ko, 'Sino kumakausap? Saan nanggaling yun?'" he observed.
About gaining recognition as one of the TV industry's catalysts, the young executive said with much enthusiasm, "Napaka-encouraging at nakakataas ng morale."
RATINGS. It was first quarter of last year when Talentadong Pinoy was first noticed by the Pinoy viewers, and landed a spot in the Top Ten.
In June of 2009, Midnight DJ and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? ranked number two and three, respectively, within their timeslots.
This year, the station's momentum has not slowed down, and some of its new shows have been showing great promise.
The data of AGB-Nielsen Media Research dated May 8 showed that Talentadong Pinoy gathered a bigger audience share of 28% over GMA-7's Claudine, which generated 21%. The following day, TV5's talent search triumphed over ABS-CBN's Rated K. The difference was only 2%, with TV5 gaining 24% as opposed to the latter's 22%. But it meant a lot to the network that still considers itself as a neophyte in the ratings rivalry game.
For the period April 25-May 22, ten TV5 shows made it to the top 20 morning programs. Amy Perez's Face to Face placed fourth, beating Bayani Agbayani's Diz Iz It, which landed the ninth spot.
The numbers of Vic Sotto's My Darling Aswang indicatedan upward trend during Sundays, from March 21 to May 22. It had already beaten GMA-7's Mel & Joey twice.
Despite the good start, competition still has a long way to go, according to Mr. Intalan.
"Alam naman natin kung gaano kahirap binabangga mo. Hindi lang isa kalaban mo, e...Dalawa e, nag-uumpugang bato, sisingit ka sa gitna, di ba? And we know that, di ba, for every success we have, that means there's gonna be a change sa kanila, which is good. Kasi, yun na nga, nagsi-shake ang industriya kapag meron kaming ginawa at nag-succeed," he told PEP.
The TV5 boss added, "Talentadong Pinoy, for example, biglang magbabago ng program schedule yung mga kalaban namin. Face to Face, nabubuhay ulit ang talk show..."
The entry of ABS-CBN's It's Showtime in October 24, 2009, had most viewers shifting from talk show to variety show. The eight-year-old SiS of GMA-7 went off air on December 17, and was replaced by the variety show Diz Iz It on February 8 of this year.
TV5 chose not to join the bandwagon. Instead, it retained the talk show format, and spiced it up with a "Talakserye" concept.
STARS ON THE MOVE. The youngest player in the field did not just capture audiences, but contracts as well. To date, about ten stars have already chosen to become Kapatid.
The most controversial transfers were that of Ruffa Gutierrez, Paolo Bediones, Mo Twister, JC De Vera, Rainier Castillo, and Tuesday Vargas.
The contract-signing of Dolphy and Maricel Soriano was well-publicized. Comedy Empress Eugene Domingo also inked a non-exclusive contract with TV5 recently.
Does the Kapatid network have that much money to offer?
He replied pensively, "Alam niyo ito, e, ito totoo...People think na big-time ang resources namin because we are part of an MVP company. But at the end of the day, it's a business...So I cannot say we're offering the moon and the stars just without any business plan. Kami, we're very realistic and I don't know who will admit it pero yung mga taong kausap namin also know na ang ino-offer kasi namin is not just the monetary [income], but the career growth...
"Look at what will happen to you pag lumipat ka sa amin kung saan maluwag at kung saan maiilawan ka ng spotlight nang tama, di ba? Kung saan magagawa mo yung kung ano yung magaling ka na walang nakaharang sa daan mo, at walang intriga, di ba?
"Walang intrigahan...People didn't just consider the compensation, but also the new environment, kung saan new chance to build your career, so that's our competitive edge."
Also in line with this approach, TV5 has been designing shows that will become synonymous with the names of their main stars.
Mr. Intalan affirmed, "Look at Joey de Leon, he's always been with Wow Mali forever, and he does so many other shows outside of ABC 5. But when you say Wow Mali, Joey de Leon yun. Nobody else can do Wow Mali but Joey De Leon. Si Lucy, di ba, she did Shall We Dance? and also Sweet Life [in QTV 11], pero saan siya mas associated? Si Ryan, Talentadong Pinoy ang tumatak sa kanya bilang host.
"If the project is right for the artista, magsa-shine siya dun at makikilala, pero hindi mo kailangang i-deprive yung artistang yun ng opportunity to do other projects. Kung puwede makilala sila doon, that's fine"
Is Kapatid going to be more aggressive in "pirating" artists, as people say?
He quickly responded, "Yun nga yung laging ano sa amin, e, allegation sa amin, na nama-mirate talent kami, and I always say, 'You know, hindi ka nama-mirate kung willing din yung tao 'tsaka wala naman kontrata. Wala kang binaling batas at terms..."
But what if the two TV giants impose exclusive contracts on all their talents?
"We are still obviously opening our doors. Alam namin, because of all the people that we spoke to, aware kami na may contract pa. Maybe, they cannot talk to us now. But a few months from now, a year from now, the contract will end, and lahat ng ito na nag-sign up ng bago, sasabihin nila, 'Sorry ha, kasi, you know, nanghihinayang ako because may offer dito sa home network ko.' And my answer is always, 'Don't worry, you can sign a contract, the contract will end, we'll still be here.' There's still going to be an opportunity for us.
"And we're also thinking of building new talents. That's underway..."
REACHING OUT. Another thing that's expected to shake local television is TV5's infrastructure development.
"Yung Metro Manila, okay na kami. Pero yung nationwide, hindi pa. Kaya nga, ang lakas ng loob namin kasi parang hindi pa kami naka-full blast niyan...We already ordered the equipment, we identified the site...Mga taga-PLDT [sister company] ang tumutulong sa atin so alam na alam nila ang mga network.
"Hindi pa kami nakatodo...kaya nga, nung nag-audition kami sa Cebu, takot na takot kami na baka walang dumating. Pero dinumog naman siya, so it's a good sign even though wala pa kaming gano'n ka-strong na presence," he related.
He knows there's still a long journey ahead.
"We are also not under any illusion that we will reach the top. We know that it will take time, we know that it will take time for our audience to be loyal. But what we are happy about is that it looks like they're [audience] enjoying themselves. Hindi nagpa-fluctuate ang ratings, e," Perci, how his colleagues call him, said.
Then he added with a bright smile, "But we're on track, we're really on track."