GMA-7: "Disparity in cable and non-cable ratings is a legitimate issue."


GMA-7 reiterated its earlier statement about the abnormal ratings behavior of cable and non-cable ratings. The Kapuso network was giving its reaction to the pronouncements made by ABS-CBN yesterday, January 24, that the disparity can be attributed to the blurry reception in some areas of Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

In an official statement, GMA-7 said that it has been complaining to AGB Nielsen asking for a reason for their low ratings in household with cable TV versus their high rating in non-cable homes.

"It is to be noted that when GMA Network was not a strong competitor of ABS-CBN, the cable and non-cable ratings of both GMA and ABS-CBN consistently exhibited a normal behavior in the past.

"The abnormal ratings behavior of GMA's programs in cable TV homes started to happen only when GMA Network began to compete head-on with its rival station five years ago, and when GMA Network began to beat ABS-CBN in Mega Manila TV ratings. At that time, AGB and Nielsen were providing separate ratings for TV programs. And the cable ratings disparity happened only in the AGB results and not in Nielsen's. In 2005, AGB and Nielsen merged their TV ratings services in the Philippines," their statement said.

GMA-7 said that the disproportion did not happen five years ago. It was only when GMA-7 had overtaken ABS-CBN in the ratings in Mega Manila that the disparity began.

The Kapuso network said that clear reception on cable cannot be the reason for the high ratings of ABS-CBN. GMA-7 said that they continue to receive complaints from Sky and Home Cable subscribers of weak or bad signals on cable due to distortion or degradation of signal.

GMA-7 said they have consulted a third-party technical expert to ascertain the claims made by the Kapamilya network. ABS-CBN explained that the reason for their high cable ratings was that among cable homes, the connection through cable takes away the vulnerability of ABS-CBN's reception to noise.

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According to the technical expert, it is the responsibility of the cable service provider and its engineers to make sure that the reception of a cable TV channel is clear.

"It is a fact that GMA Network's competitor owns and/or controls the dominant cable operators in the country. Thus, it is the one who has both the means and opportunity to know where the people meters are installed by AGB Nielsen among cable TV homes," the statement emphasized. ABS-CBN is affiliated with Sky Cable, which is part of the Lopez family's group of companies.

GMA-7 said that it has sought an answer from AGB Nielsen for the disparity in the cable and non-cable TV ratings and they have yet to be given an explanation.

Below is the full statement made by GMA-7 in reaction to ABS-CBN's explanation:

"Contrary to what ABS-CBN said in its statement to the press today, the disparity between cable and non-cable ratings in GMA's programs is a legitimate issue in the move to clean up the ratings survey.

"Since 2003, GMA Network has been complaining to AGB Nielsen why the ratings of GMA Network's programs are so low in cable TV households but so high in non-cable TV homes, a situation that does not happen in ABS-CBN's programs.

"It is to be noted that when GMA Network was not a strong competitor of ABS-CBN, the cable and non-cable ratings of both GMA and ABS-CBN consistently exhibited a normal behavior in the past.

"The abnormal ratings behavior of GMA's programs in cable TV homes started to happen only when GMA Network began to compete head-on with its rival station five years ago and when GMA Network began to beat ABS-CBN in Mega Manila TV ratings. At that time, AGB and Nielsen were providing separate ratings for TV programs. And the cable ratings disparity happened only in the AGB results and not in Nielsen's. In 2005, AGB and Nielsen merged their TV ratings services in the Philippines.

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"ABS-CBN said in its official position paper that it presented to the trade in 2006 that the reason for their high cable ratings was that 'among cable homes, the connection through cable takes away the vulnerability of ABS-CBN's reception from noise, especially in instances when ABS-CBN is assigned to a channel 8.' ABS-CBN was referring to the movement of their cable channel assignment from channel 6 to 8. GMA Network consulted with a third party technical expert to seek his opinion on that claim and the following was what he said:

"'No VHF (Very High Frequency) be it low, mid, or high-band is immune or not susceptible to interference, thus making it imperative for the cable industry in the present to undergo a study to ascertain that a channel is 'clean' enough to be operated in.'

"Engineering surveys conducted have also yielded that interference varies in different portions of Metro Manila. It is on the Cable provider's shoulders to limit amplifier cascades to attain a decent carrier to noise ratio resulting in better picture quality.

"In summary, the Cable television provider and its engineers are the ones responsible in seeing to it that a specific Cable television channel is clean enough for a commercial television station to operate in, thus making everyone operate on a level playing field.

"ABS-CBN did not reply to the rebuttal made by the expert consulted by GMA Network. After a long silence, ABS-CBN now says that the disparity between cable and non-cable ratings is due to their reception problems on Free TV and that these problems are eliminated on cable TV where their signal is clear. GMA Network believes that the highly erratic or fluctuating behavior of ABS-CBN's cable ratings, particularly in the suburbs, cannot be logically attributed to their clear cable TV signal.

"It is not true that GMA's complaints of interference in cable TV have no basis because GMA has received thousands of complaints of signal distortion and degradation from Sky and Home Cable subscribers who have executed affidavits. The complaints ranged from snowy and/or blurry to black and white reception; wavy/shadowy image; zigzag/moving/diagonal/vertical/horizontal lines; noisy/distorted video; weak audio; and weak or no signal. These complaints prompted GMA Network to file a case before the NTC, where it is now pending.

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"It is a fact that GMA Network's competitor owns and/or controls the dominant cable operators in the country. Thus, it is the one who has both the means and opportunity to know where the people meters are installed by AGB Nielsen among cable TV homes.

"Until now, AGB Nielsen has not provided a satisfactory explanation to the highly illogical, very low cable ratings of GMA's programs as compared to the unusual and unexplainable very high cable ratings of ABS-CBN's programs. "


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