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Cable challenges entrenched ABS-CBN.

During the nation's 14-year period of martial law, Philippine television house-holds numbered less than 100,000. Today, the market has exploded to better than six million, with more than 1.5 million TV households in greater Manila. The greatest challenges faced by terrestrial broadcasters are competition from expanding cable systems and the various regional satellites.

In Manila, commercial broadcaster ABS-CBN's Channel Two dominates the competition with a mid-60's share and the bulk of the top 10 weekly programs, Channel 7, GMA, trails along with shares averaging in the teens and low 20's. To date, local programming has dominated viewer tastes with Tagalog-language feature films leading the way, though variety and talk shows have been gaining popularity.

ABS-CBN, the largest and most successful network in the Philippines, is parent company to major cable operator SkyCable, which offers over 40 channels to viewers. Subscribership has topped 40,000 and is expected to continue gorwing, though much of it is in greater Manila. There are over 90 other cable companies operating throughout the country, though most are subscriber-based.

Nationwide broadcasters over ABS-CBN are implemented over the Palapa satellite with better than 71 per cent overage of the nation. Through the use of relay stations, the network soon plans to extend its reach to over 90 per cent.

Channel Two's major competition comes from Channel, 7, GMA Radio/Television Arts, which features talk and variety shows. Competition for ad dollars has increased as media buyers have expressed renewed interest in the Channel 7 fare. The networks thus far seem unconcerned about the pressure from Cable TV. Local regulations forbid cable from originating local programming, and local advertising is also not allowed, making the cable channenge formidable in a local-production driven economy.
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Title Annotation:Philippines
Publication:Video Age International
Date:Aug 1, 1993
Previous Article:Nation seeks import quotas, pushes local production.
Next Article:Self-competition stifling; increased production a blessing.

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