television industry

PIE Channel drops television, to go fully digital in 2024

Isagani de Castro Jr.

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PIE Channel drops television, to go fully digital in 2024

DIGITAL. PIE Channel, a partnership between Globe Telecom's Kroma Entertainment and ABS-CBN, drops its television channel and will go fully digital by January 1, 2023.

Screenshot/PIE Channel Facebook

(1st UPDATE) With many young people no longer watching television, PIE Channel, a partnership mainly between Globe's Kroma Entertainment and ABS-CBN, goes fully digital by January 1, 2024. Its game shows will continue online.

MANILA, Philippines – In another sign of television’s decline in the Philippines, especially among the youth, the company behind Pinoy Interactive Entertainment (PIE) Channel has announced that it will no longer be shown on television and will instead go fully digital starting 2024.

PIE channel is a “TraDigital” venture between Kroma Entertainment, ABS-CBN Corporation as content provider, Globe Telecom Incorporated’s 917Ventures, and Broadcast Enterprises and Affiliated Media Incorporated or BEAM TV. Kroma Entertainment is also backed by telco giant Globe Telecom.

In a statement on November 24, Friday, Kroma Entertainment, the company behind PIE, said it will “transition to fully online platforms” starting January 1, 2024, and will drop “traditional TV and cable.” 

Cable companies that include the PIE Channel in its offerings have advised their customers that the channel will no longer be available by December 31, 2023. 

When it started, PIE was described as the “Philippines’ first multi-screen, real-time interactive channel” that was a “new revolutionary TV and digital channel.” 

“Rooted by the love of Filipinos for television throughout the years – starting from traditional and evolving into digital – we thought of reinventing the way they get to be entertained. Why settle for just watching when they could be participating, enjoying, and even winning!” Kroma Entertainment says of PIE, on its website.

Kroma entertainment describes itself as a “TraDigital” entertainment company. Its “tradigital” project lasted only a year and seven months. PIE Channel was launched in May 2022. 

“The partnership for PIE is between Kroma Entertainment and ABS-CBN. Kroma and ABS-CBN will continue to partner for PIE as we evolve on digital,” a source in Globe Group of Companies told Rappler on Tuesday, December 12. “Please watch out for our new offerings by early next year.” 

PIE has several games where people can join games and raffles daily. PIE gives away over P1 million per month combined for all its games. 

PIE caters mainly to a young demographic, as indicated by its game show hosts such as Kapamilya stars Robi Domingo, Luis Manzano, Melai Cantiveros and Jennica Garcia.

After the channel was launched last year, ABS-CBN said PIE “allows viewers to watch TV shows, join all-day contests, build following, and even steer the storyline of a teleserye across multiple screens, including TV sets, laptops, desktops, and mobile devices.”

“On PIE, those in the audience are not just viewers but a well-engaged community that plays an active role in storytelling, game shows, and talk shows,” ABS-CBN said. 

Among the games shown on PIE Channel are:

Tamang Hinala, hosted by Luis Manzano from 5 pm to 6 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. This is a celebrity reality mystery-game show where a player can win by correctly guessing the culprit in a given mystery. It gives away P50,000 total prizes every weekend. 

Watchawin, hosted by Robi Domingo from 6 pm to 6:45 pm, Mondays to Fridays. This is an interactive game show where viewers watch content and use their keen attention to detail to answer questions to win prizes. It has over 100 weekly winners. A jackpot prize of P10,000 is given away every Friday to studio players and online viewers.

Ur Da Boss, hosted by Melai Cantiveros from 6:45 pm to 8 pm, Mondays to Fridays. This is another interactive game show where a guest or the Trabahador (worker) is made to do Job Order challenges  that can increase cash prizes. The show gives away over 100,000 in cash weekly. 

PIE Channel drops television, to go fully digital in 2024

Sinong Manok Mo, hosted by Jolina Magdangal and Bayani Agbayani, from 6 pm to 7:30 pm, Saturdays and Sundays. This is an interactive game where viewers choose their “manok (favored bet)” – either “pula (red)” or “puti (white)” – in various games for a chance to win cash prizes.

PIE Channel drops television, to go fully digital in 2024

Mukhang Perya, from 5 pm to 6 pm and 8 pm to 9 pm on weekdays, is an interactive game involving perya or carnival games.

PIE Channel drops television, to go fully digital in 2024

Those who patronize PIE games are called KatroPIE. To qualify, they have to sign up to a PIE account that asks their full name, date of birth, gender, GCash number and password. 

Kroma Entertainment thanked their KatroPIEs for their “active participation” in their game shows, interactive teleseryes, talk shows, chat, social platforms, and on-ground events, adding that their community “has always been the driving force of PIE.” 

“Your engagement across our digital platforms, marked by high interaction rates, has laid the foundation for this exciting new chapter,” Kroma Entertainment said. 

On its website, PIE Channel’s moderator has advised their KatroPIEs that the game shows are on pause, and that it will be showing replays in the meantime. 

“Hello mga KatroPIE! Pahinga muna sa mga PIElaro dito sa PIE, sa ngayon balikan at i-enjoy muna natin ang mga magagandang palabas sa ating replays. PIElabyu mga KatroPIE!” a moderator’s post says.

(Hello KatroPIEs. We’re taking a break with our PIE games here in PIE; for now, let’s enjoy our nice shows via replays. Love you KatroPIEs!)

As of posting, PIE Channel had 208,000 followers on Facebook, 139,000 subscribers on YouTube, 13,100 followers on X (formerly Twitter), 172,000 followers on TikTok, and 8,931 followers on Instagram. 

Kroma Entertainment also thanked ABS-CBN and Globe Telecom’s venture building company, 917Ventures. “Their support since May 2022 has been integral in shaping the PIE experience, blending traditional media with our digital platforms, offering Filipinos a unique, interactive, multi-screen entertainment experience,” it said.  

“As we embark on this digital journey, we’re excited to continue delivering engaging and entertaining content for our audiences. Your continued support will fuel our commitment to bring innovative, interactive, and even more accessible entertainment,” Kroma Entertainment added. 

A television industry observer told Rappler that PIE Channel’s market is “very niche,” which makes it hard to get advertisements for its television shows. Advertisers prefer high-rating shows for placements, which PIE Channel has failed to attain since it started in May 2022.

However, its official Facebook page, for instance, has had ad partnerships, among them with SM for its kids’ talent search competition SM Little Stars 2023.

Although television is still the most important medium in the Philippines, its audience has fallen as more people turn to the internet for news and entertainment.

Television as a source of news in the Philippines has declined from 66% in 2020 to 52% in 2023, according to Reuters' Digital News Report 2023.

“Online and social media remain the most popular sources of news in the Philippines with our more urban sample, while TV and radio news remain important for those who are not online. TikTok has grown the fastest among the social media platforms, accessed for news now by 21% compared with only 2% in 2020,” said Yvonne Chua of the Philippine case in Reuters' Digitial News Report 2023. – Rappler.com

(Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story contained a typo error which said that PIE Channel will no longer be available in free television and cable by Dececember 31, 2024. The correct year is 2023.) 

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Isagani de Castro Jr.

Before he joined Rappler as senior desk editor, Isagani de Castro Jr. was longest-serving editor in chief of ABS-CBN News online. He had reported for the investigative magazine Newsbreak, Asahi Shimbun Manila, and Business Day. He has written chapters for books on politics, international relations, and civil society.