Monday, May 04, 2009

What got the most screams during the Pacquiao-Hatton fight?

The incessant government TV ads that appeared anywhere they could plug it, from start to finish. And I am given to wondering if the money spent for these TV ads were sourced from government funds and if so, could it be a case for the gross misuse of public funds.

Here in Manila, I started watching the run-up to the Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton on Solar Sports (channel 35 on Destiny) and around 1:00 PM started watching it on GMA7 because my wife had been tipped off that it was at least 30 minutes ahead.

I caught Martin Nievera singing a pop rendition of the Philippine National Anthem, which I thought was actually pretty cool except for the fact that it looked like it was lip-synched. If it was indeed lip-synched, it was probably to avoid the boo-boos of two previous fights where the singer's voice cracked on the final line of the song.

Facebook friends, namely Jojo Terrencio (whom I knew from my Malacanang days), registered their indignation over the rendition of the National Anthem as it apparently didn't match the specifications of the Heraldic Code.

Anyway, putting that aside, I had to contend with a gazillion TV commercial interruptions. The commercials that caught my eye and really annoyed the heck out of me were government sponsored TV ads. It seemed that the entire Arroyo administration was doing a full court press in a propaganda war.

There was President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo with her TV ad saying that GDP continues to rise (a lie); then there was Tesda Director General Bobby Syjuco with his pitch for technical skills education; Finance Secretary Gary Teves and BIR Commissioner Escquivas telling everyone to pay their taxes or something; and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro giving a pitch for disaster preparedness by turning his last name into an acronym for thing you have to do to be disaster ready.

I've been hearing that Syjuco, Teves, and Teodoro are all running for public office in 2010. From a PR and Advertising perspective, you could see that these ads were placed not so much for vote conversion but for awareness. Perhaps, it was also an attempt to associate the personalities involved with Pacquiao's anticipated victory.

Status updates on Facebook said that the Teodoro TV ads got booed in movie theaters that were showing the pay-per-view fight.

What really got me seething was Pagcor Chairman Efraim C. Genuino's ad asking people to support the fight against drugs. And it is the height of irony and lack of circumspection to say that Pagcor is fighting drug addiction when THERE ARE MILLIONS MORE WHO ARE ADDICTED TO GAMBLING!

Pagcor, being the chief regulating agency for all casinos and gambling joints, has either made gambling addicts of millions of Filipinos or continues to fuel their addiction.

And what is this that I hear that Genuino is salivating over a P 6 Billion contract for cancer detection equipment? The supplier is actually offering a 10 percent "commission" or P 600 Million to anyone who can get President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to sign an order to get Pagcor to fund the project.

Anyway, there's really no mystery as to why or how the government got choice TV ad spots in the broadcast of Pacquiao fight.

The owner of Solar is Wilson Tieng whose company has virtually bought RPN9 (a sequestered TV station) and whose son Irwin is a congressman of the BUHAY PARTY LIST. If that isn't a favored status, I wouldn't know what to call it.

Anyway, GMA7 got flak for the annoying commercial load and in a report in Inquirer dot net:

But according to GMA 7 insiders, not a single centavo of ad revenue from the fight went to the network.

GMA 7’s partnership with Solar Entertainment, which holds broadcast rights to Pacquiao’s bouts, is a “blocktime deal,” said network officials, who declined to be named for lack of clearance to speak on the matter.

Bigger than De La Hoya fight

“That means that all advertising revenues go to Solar Entertainment. GMA 7 only gets a fixed amount, commensurate with the air time bought by Solar,” said one of the officials.

A Solar executive confirmed that ads from the Pacquiao-Hatton mainer, as well as from the undercards, delivered the biggest payday ever for the company, which has a lock on the Philippine broadcast rights for the Pacman’s fights up to 2011.

Jude Turcuato, Solar Sports vice president for sales and marketing, said Sunday’s blockbuster duel was bigger than the Pacquiao-Oscar De La Hoya showdown held five months ago.

“It’s not big percentage-wise but we’re coming from an already big base, the De La Hoya fight. The bottom line is this is the biggest,” said Turcuato.

He declined to give exact figures, but said the company definitely made more than P100 million on Sunday.

But one thing that is really going wrong with GMA7 is that nothing is restraining it from overloading any of its programs with commercials:

Not covered by ad cap
“The lower packages were considered sponsorships only,” the source said. “Companies that availed themselves of P10-P15-million packages were called co-presenters or presenters.”

A broadcast industry insider noted that by partnering with GMA 7, Solar could put in as many commercials as it wanted since the Kapuso network was not covered by the ad cap imposed by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP). (See “In the Know”)

Unlike its main rival ABS-CBN, GMA 7 is not a member of the KBP.

So, how much did the government fork out to Wilson Tieng?

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