television industry

TV ads decline, influencer marketing rises: Why it’s harder now for TV shows to make money

Isagani de Castro Jr.

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

TV ads decline, influencer marketing rises: Why it’s harder now for TV shows to make money

TAPE Inc./PIE Channel/CNN Phils. composite

Companies and ad agencies continue to pay less attention to television while putting in more resources to online marketing and social media influencers

MANILA, Philippines – The closure of Television and Production Exponents Incorporated (TAPE)’s noon show Tahanang Pinakamasaya is another sign of a changing media landscape in the Philippines as enterprises that sell goods and services now pay less attention to television and more on online marketing.

On television, ratings often determine how long a show will last. Shows with high ratings, such as ABS-CBN’s FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano and Batang Quiapo, last longer than those with low ratings since they’re able to get more commercials. Shows that don’t rate high often don’t last long, unless subsidized by another business unit or enterprise.

A case in point is the Jalosjos family’s recent decision to axe its noon show, Tahanang Pinakamasaya after just nine months. After showbiz veterans Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon left TAPE on May 31, 2023 and put up a new show on TV5, Eat Bulaga/Tahanang Pinakamasaya on GMA-7 aired fewer commercials. 

That TVJ’s Eat Bulaga! has lasted 45 years is testament to its commercial success. That TAPE’s Tahanang Pinakamasaya lasted only nine months is proof of its commercial failure. 

At its peak, Eat Bulaga! with TVJ on GMA-7 was rating between 10% to 20%, and often filled the limit of 18 minutes of commercials per hour, former GMA consultant Jose Bartolome, now a senior lecturer at the UP College of Mass Communications, told Rappler. 

Before the pandemic, a high-rating, non-prime time show could sell 30-second ad spots from P80,000 to P100,000, but if the show didn’t rate well, it got fewer commercials and the ad rate went down to half, he said. Revenues from these ads went to pay the talents and produce and air the show.

Post-pandemic, TAPE’s Eat Bulaga!, TVJ’s E.A.T. on TV5, and It’s Showtime on A2Z+Kapamilya Channel were in single digits, often unable to breach 5% in Nielsen television ratings as shown in a TV5 social media post above back in July 2023.

On the other hand, Kantar Media’s audience measurement as shown below, in December 2018, prior to the pandemic, Eat Bulaga! on GMA-7 and It’s Showtime on ABS-CBN’s Channel 2 were both above 10%. It’s Showtime’s ratings fell steeply after ABS-CBN was ordered to close its TV and radio operations by the Duterte administration in May 2020. 

DOUBLE DIGITS. Top-rating programs of GMA Network and ABS-CBN rate above 10% on December 14, 2018 or prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2019. TAPE’s Eat Bulaga! on GMA-7 got 11.8% while ABS-CBN’s It’s Showtime registered 14.2%. ABS-CBN Corporate Newsroom screenshot

Bartolome said this is a clear sign that fewer Filipinos are tuning in to television than before the pandemic, especially after ABS-CBN lost its free TV and radio business. Kantar Media managing director Jay Bautista referred to this as the flattening of the TV curve.

When asked whether GMA-7 would become the dominant free-to-air channel without ABS-CBN’s broadcasting, Bautista said: “Yes, because it snatched about 20% of the viewers who used to watch ABS-CBN literally overnight. From a 40% share of viewers prior to the shutdown, GMA currently averages around 60% share of viewing per day. No, because a lot of loyal ABS viewers have turned off their TV sets, which has literally almost flattened the curve of TV viewing across the country.”

Prior to Tahanang Pinakamasaya’s closure, among the three major noon shows, it was also TAPE that had the weakest presence on social media, which helped doom the program. 

TVJ’s Facebook page, for instance, has 2.1 million followers. It’s Showtime has 17 million followers, while TAPE Facebook had 337,500 followers. The celebrities on the stronger noon shows, such as Maine Mendoza on E.A.T Bulaga!, and Vice Ganda and Anne Curtis on It’s Showtime, also help multiply their respective shows’ reach. 

Deaths of CNN Philippines, PIE Channel

The closure of CNN Philippines last January also reflects the changing media and advertising landscape. Since many of its programs didn’t rate well, Nine Media Corporation couldn’t get enough advertisers to place ads on its shows. 

Nine Media’s capital deficiencies reached P226.2 million in 2021 and P465.2 millon in 2022, which prompted its owners to wave the white flag.

Pinoy Interactive Entertainment (PIE) Channel, which was backed by telco giant Globe Telecom, was in a similar situation last year.

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. 

Last November, Kroma Entertainment announced that PIE would “transition to fully online platforms” starting January 1, 2024, and will drop “traditional TV and cable.” 

New media shift, influencer marketing

Carlo Hemedes, CEO of marketing agency Organic Intelligence Incorporated, told Rappler that many companies are now putting more resources to online marketing.

“The budget between TV and digital have now interchanged compared to five years ago. Even [ad] spend on OOH [Out-of-Home advertising] is much lower,” he said. 

The only exception is radio which, he said, “remains to be a stronghold for key provincial locations.”

(READ: The politics of radio: New station DWPM Radyo 630 is born)

Rappler’s sources in advertising agencies said many companies have “substantially cut their budget” on TV spots to half or even less than half after the pandemic and the closure of ABS-CBN’s broadcast operations. 

They noted that the cost of digital ads is much lower than TV spots. Before the pandemic, a 30-second ad in an ABS-CBN prime time show was around P300,000, while an ad in GMA Network was around P200,000.

They said companies have found “influencer marketing” more “effective and efficient” since it’s cheaper than advertising on TV. On television, viewers often switch channels to avoid commercials, while ads on social media have permanence. It’s also easier to target niche markets online than on television.

Among the Philippines’ top-tier influencers are beauty queens, actors and actresses. They’re paid big money to use their social media power to promote products and services. 

Why Michelle Dee is a perfect fit as Chinabank brand ambassador

Why Michelle Dee is a perfect fit as Chinabank brand ambassador

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach topped the Philippines’ highest earners through sponsored Instagram posts in 2021, according to a report by online financial service provider NetCredit.

Wurtzbach, who placed 41st in the worldwide rankings, reportedly had a calculated earning of $3,669,205 or approximately P216 million. 

Among Filipino celebrities, Wurtzbach was followed by Kathryn Bernardo, who reportedly earned $3,533,360 or around P208 million, and Anne Curtis at $2,936,119 or around P172 million. 

Kim Chiu, Andrea Brillantes, Catriona Gray, Liza Soberano, Nadine Lustre, Alex Gonzaga, and Marian Rivera were also in the Philippines’ top 10. 

There are middle-tier and lower-tier influencers who have lower rates.

Influencer marketing was also at play in the 2022 elections. A study found that an estimated P600 million to P1.5 billion was spent on online political influencers who campaigned for presidential and vice presidential candidates in the 2022 Philippine national elections.

Up to P1.5 billion spent on online political influencers for 2022 PH elections – study

Up to P1.5 billion spent on online political influencers for 2022 PH elections – study

In terms of how much was spent on political influencers per platform, this study said Facebook influencers topped the list, with the total costs ranging from about P311.4 million to P939.4 million. They were followed by YouTube influencers, at around P213.5 million to P460.6 million, and then by TikTok influencers, at around P47.49 million to P94.3 million. Twitter influencers had the lowest amount spent at around P25.7 million to P42.2 million.

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

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' Digital News Report 2023. 

So, expect the hardships to continue for TV shows that don’t rate, as online/influencer marketing continues to rise. –

World’s vlogging capital: Filipinos are number 1 in watching vlogs, following influencers

World’s vlogging capital: Filipinos are number 1 in watching vlogs, following influencers

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!
Avatar photo


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.