Friday, May 30, 2014


by Roger Pe
Philippine Daily Inquirer
May 30, 2014

It used to be only the ‘bakya’ crowd loved soap operas. Now that they have evolved into teleseryes or telenovelas and are produced with a ‘Hollywood’ feel, the demographic divide has narrowed.

It is now common for white-collar workers to talk about teleseryes in the office or wherever they hang out. Even ‘donyas’ in gated villages don’t squirm anymore when conversation gravitates towards them.

ABS-CBN’s “The Legal Wife” is currently trying to break GMA 7’s “My Husband’s Lover’s” record as the Philippines’ highest rating teleserye.

Admit it, Filipinos love dramas especially if they’re good. The fondness for the genre reaches dramatic proportions during primetime – when most household members are at home, glued to the television set, eagerly waiting for what’s going to happen to their favorite hero or heroine.

Primetime is considered the most important part of the day when most Filipinos watch TV and advertisers put a larger chunk of their investment to reach more consumers efficiently.

Teleserye hits have spawned memorable lines that turned into monster hits, quoted and parodied by rabid fans that could mouth them at the drop a hat.

“You want war, I’ll give you war”, “Sinira mo ang kanta, binaboy mo pa. You’re nothing but a second-rate, trying hard copycat”, “Nagsi-swimming ka lang naka-diamonds ka pa”, “Baka nakakalimutan ninyo, kung hindi sa akin, hindi kayo makakakain ng corned beef” are just some of the most brutal, bitchy and howlingly funny lines delivered by local telenovela divas.

As technology became digital, teleseryes also became glossier and more polished, production became slicker, camera-work reached cinematic levels. And celebrities? Their star-value also increased and the semi-retired found a new lease of hope for their flickering career.

In the mid 90s, drama on tv became more acclaimed. By 2000s, they became even more powerful, and over the last three years, teleseryes were enough reasons for millions of Filipinos to stay nowhere but home.

Teleseryes have became even more popular than locally produced movies, devoured by millions of Filipinos, which average four to six members per household.

The phenomenom has produced dramatic results - they now command the highest advertising rates on Philippine television, a boon to the networks, a magnet to advertisers. They last anywhere from three months to a year, or even longer, depending on its rating.

Ratings, the magic word

Without a good rating, a teleserye may not exist. Ratings are the lifeline of a tv program and commercials make them breathe.

For advertisers to come in, the country’s two major networks, ABS-CBN and GMA 7 whose rivalry, incidentally, is also worth watching, go on a round-the-clock race for excellent programming. The goal is to entice audiences, build critical mass and top the ratings game to hook advertisers.

Which brings us to the question most marketers and ad agencies ask - which programs and network are the most watched by Filipino televiewers?

Business Friday interviews Gabby Buluran, Country General Manager of Kantar Media Philippines, a non-partisan media analyst, part of Kantar Worldwide, one of the world’s largest research and information networks today.

But before that, here’s a quick look why Kantar is currently the toast of advertising and media networks in the Philippines.
Owned by WPP with 28,500 employees in 100 countries worldwide, Kantar derived its name from the word bushel, an official Egyptian measuring system.

Kantar offers a whole range of business-media insights and audience measurement services through the analysis of print, radio, TV, internet, cinema, mobile, social media, and outdoor advertising.

Later this month, it will release a valuable industry initiative, the latest outdoor advertising expenditure report via OMAG (Outdoor Media Advocacy Group) headed by President Darmo Castillo and one of its founding members, Bing Kimpo.

For television audience measurement, Kantar has a total of 6.315 million homes in rural areas and 8.820 million homes in urban areas across the Philippines, bringing the total of 15.135 million homes nationwide covering 75 million individuals as of the latest census.

Business Friday: Why is research very important in hitting the right market?

Gabby Buluran: Research lessens the guesswork in the market. Properly implemented, research gives a reflection of the true universe. Much like a Cook tasting his soup. He need not finish the whole pot to tell if it tastes good.

BF: What makes Kantar different from long established ratings companies?

GB: Kantar Media is just as experienced as other established research companies in the Philippines. TNS our more known sister company has been doing research in the Philippines for more than 30 years. Kantar Media on the other hand has a management team that has experience with audience and media research since 1995.

Having said that, our biggest difference is our technology called audio matching. It allows Kantar to track digital broadcast and report audiences watching via digital platforms. This segment is growing in the Philippines.

BF: How do you establish credibility in this business?

GB: A long track record of delivering on commitment is what makes one credible. Accurate and timely data over a long period establish credibility.

BF: Why should ad/media agencies and networks rely on Kantar?

GB: Kantar has the right tools, the experience and the commitment to provide the service required by the fast changing media environment. This is true both locally and globally. Modesty aside, Kantar Media has the most seasoned media research team in the country.

BF: How do you penetrate the remotest part of the Philippines to be able to conclude a reliable survey?

GB: It starts with out establishment survey. This study ensures that our sample is comprehensive and spread out (safety of researchers considered) to the remotest area in the Philippines.

BF: Is there any way that a research can be rigged?

GB: Research results can always be influenced by people who intends to do so. Researchers have the responsibility to prevent this from happening. Kantar Media has quality controls in place to monitor unusual viewing patterns and behavior.

BF: It is used to be AC Nielsen that marketers and ad agencies have dealt with in the past. What can you say now that Kantar is making headway?

GB: The past 2 years have been very exciting. From 2 major networks subscribing to the service, we now have more than a dozen paying networks, media agencies and cable content providers subscribing to Kantar data. PANA gets monthly ratings data from Kantar Media.

BF: What is the future of research business in the Philippines?

GB: The fast changing consumers and audiences in the Philippines will ensure a good future for research. They are fragmenting and are becoming more sophisticated. With this changes, research will develop more tools and methods to provide more accurate, timely and relevant insights to their subscribers.

Based on Kantar’s April 2013 data, ABS-CBN, the country’s largest and leading multimedia conglomerate, continues to dominate TV viewing across urban and rural homes nationwide with an average total day audience share of 42% or 12 points higher than GMA’s 30%.

ABS-CBN also ruled the hotly contested primetime block (6PM-12MN), with an average national audience share of 46% vs. GMA’s 29%.