Using media for informed decisions

At a time when the media landscape is changing with the introduction of new technologies, systems, and personalities, “we must tell what people should know, help them understand the present issues, and assist them in making informed decisions,” said ABS-CBN News reporter Jervis Manahan.

The RTD guest speakers and participants. Photo by Jerald DJ. Caranza, UPDIO   

Manahan was one of the guest speakers at the roundtable discussion (RTD) Radical Television in the Time of Crises organized by the Department of Broadcast Communication (DBC) of the UP Diliman (UPD) College of Mass Communication (CMC) and was held on Nov. 23 at the CMC Auditorium.

Joining Manahan were Nick Santiago, founder, partner, and commercial director of Arcade Film Factory; Eji Santos (participated via Zoom), software developer and game designer at IUGO Mobile Entertainment based in Canada; and Joelle Yuvienco, voice artist, host, and creator of Paano Kung podcast.

Manahan. Photo by Jerald DJ. Caranza, UPDIO     

According to DBC Chair Alwin C. Aguirre, the RTD aimed to explore and discuss new forms of televisuality, how the audience was changed with this new forms, and how they were being done even during the time of crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

From the website of Rutgers University Press, televisuality is described as “a theoretical term coined by John Caldwell in the mid-1990s to characterize a change in the look and practice of television programming. This change began around 1980 and continues to the present day.”

In the article Televisuality: Style and the Small Screen by Tim Dant, the traditional form of television was “the standard way of capturing live studio shows (music, games, comedy, and variety performances, soap opera) as well as reporting outdoor events including sports, in which the camera simply gave the television viewer the perspective of a spectator at the live event.”   

Santiago. Photo by Jerald DJ. Caranza, UPDIO     

“Trust is very important in news,” Manahan added. “In the present landscape, less and less people are watching TV. Instead, they go to platforms where most people are watching, like TikTok. We need to recapture people. People will trust news more if they know the off-cam preparation of news reporting.”

Manahan has his own TikTok account to reach out to those on TikTok.

Santiago discussed how he started in the advertising industry. “I answered a lot of yeses to a lot of wild options.” He experimented in producing TV advertisements so that their output would stand out among the competition. Arcade Film Factory made advertisements for fast-food chains, telecommunication companies, banks, insurance companies, food products, and beverages, among others.

“We are bombarded with ads every day. Our challenge is being able to grab the attention of the viewers. The holy grail of ads is being shareable, ‘panoorin mo ito, nakuha mo ba?’ Be part of what’s cool and keep being creative,” Santiago said.

Regarding game shows, which is part of televisuality, Santos said “Filipino audience is very specific sa games, at ang masa ng Filipino ang majority na target namin. Isa sa ginawa naming game ay ang Wil to Play, tulad ng isang variety game show sa Pinas.” The mobile app is based on the TV game show Wowowin.”

Santos. Photo by Jerald DJ. Caranza, UPDIO

In studying their clients’ demography, “ang karamihan sa market namin sa Pilipinas ay mga nanay at kababaihan na naiiwan sa bahay. Ang gusto nilang laro ay iyong pampalipas-oras at hindi na nila kailangang mag-isip masyado,” Santos explained.

Mobile apps like this affected the viewing habits of Filipinos. Instead of just being viewers of the TV show, they can now be the players themselves in the mobile game app.

With the advent of video sharing platforms like TikTok, Facebook Reel, and even YouTube, more Filipinos became immersed in taking videos of themselves and sharing it on the platforms.

Yuvienco started her podcasts during the pandemic. “Hugot ang gustong topic ng mga tao. At nakaka-relate sila kaya marami ring nakikinig sa mga podcast ko.”

Yuvienco. Photo by Jerald DJ. Caranza, UPDIO     

“Sa pagiging voice artist naman, gusto ng companies na same pa rin ang method ng advertisements. Dapat ay not direct ad na tipong ‘Buy this,’ pero do things as subtle as you can,” Yuvienco challenged the audience.

The RTD was the culminating activity of Panonood at Pagtatanod: Paggunita sa Ika-70 Taon ng Telebisyon sa Pilipinas, the DBC’s commemoration of 70 years of TV in the Philippines.