Reviewing the Papal Visit coverage

AS MANY FAITHFUL go back to their normal routines after four days since Pope Francis departed the country, the effect of the visit remains stuck in their minds, mouths and hearts. Not only the faithful got the “Papa Mania” but also the networks. Let’s look back at the five days on how all VHF networks fared in covering the five significant days.


During the Holy Father’s stay, the attire of presenters were donned in Barong Tagalog or as Ralph Domingo called it, they are well dressed for the wedding. The network feed was unified, even to Sports + Action, DZMM TeleRadyo and ANC.

ABS-CBN’s precious assets on the momentous days were eight performers of this network singing to their heart’s content before the Pope, especially non-Catholics. Aside from Jamie Rivera who sung the theme song, “We Are All God’s Children”, The Voice Kids’ champion and runner-up, Lyca Gairanod and Darren Espanto executed the performance of the 1995 song, “Tell the World of His Love” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena and the University of Santo Tomas, respectively. Not only that, the network’s pool of showbiz talents topped the success with the responsorial psalm of the final Mass in the Quirino Grandstand, sung by Erik Santos.

However, Mother Ignacia’s coverage is not pure especially on its credibility. Korina Sanchez, who was supposed to take a break, presented first for the coverage with her first quip that Pope Francis was hailed from a “warm country,” thus, having a “warm personality.”


Like ABS-CBN, they wore in Barong and Filipiniana but only in the studios. Like what loyal viewers of Timog Avenue, credible news is the aim. However, the network used a separate feed for the sister channel News TV caused many drawbacks. Such drawbacks include (1) the carrying of reruns of Misteryo last Thursday while the papal motorcade to the Apostolic Nunciature was ongoing and (2) carrying normal programming of the same channel last Sunday while the final Mass in Quirino Grandstand is ongoing, carrying the big brunt on the main channel instead of sharing it.


TV5’s presenters wore T-shirts from Francis M. Clothing Company, as Domingo heckled as if they were in a political rally. The Reliance network, using the parallel feed with AksyonTV, defied the interior design with informality, similar to Aksyon Sa Umaga, decked with the pictures of Pope Francis. However, the rap music as their TV theme drew much criticism from liturgically meticulous Catholics.


During the start of the coverage, 9TV decked the graphics similar to CNN in the United States, signifying a transition to CNN Philippines next month. The attire is simply in business suits, or as Domingo said that, they are in a seminar. The advantage of 9TV, aside from the credible news, is the control of emotions of journalists unlike the Big Three. The sole disadvantage is the entertainers masquerading as journalists (EMAJs) such as Mitzi Borromeo and Menchu Macapagal.

Media ng Bayan

Viewers may have snubbed Media ng Bayan but like 9TV, they are in business suits. The advantage of MNB is the full-blown coverage for five straight days but the disadvantage, other than simplistic graphics from Adobe Systems and slow broadcasting equipment procurement, is Snow Badua, the sports anchor of PTV.

Nonetheless, all VHF networks will remember these worthy days in the history of Philippine television. They learned something than it happened 20 years ago: the paradigm shift from exclusiveness to inclusiveness just like the Pope’s character. The theme song itself proved that all network are like “God’s children;” they are “all the same” with the purpose to serve.

Which network is best broadcaster?

Which is the worst?

Have any other reasons than what is written?

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  1. Take a look of the numbers. PTV has many viewers when the Pope entered the Malacanang palace and the first mass at Manila Cathedral, other than 9TV, AksyonTV and TV5, according to Kantar Media.

    GMA had a good ratings as well on Nielsen. IDK if ABS-CBN rates well in the latest ratings.

    I agree on one of the disadvantages in the PTV’s coverage, Just focus Snow into the “tsismiserong” sports writer duties, not on anchoring the Papal coverage. Magmula noong nagsulputan ang mga isyu laban sa kanya, nawala na ang kredibilidad.

    1. Crunching the numbers into ratings, the Friday full-blown coverage (the Pope’s 1st full day) would garner 24.1. (14.81 million recorded / 76.5 million viewers)*

      Daig pa sa average ng ABS-CBN at GMA, regardless kung including or excluding papal activities. Speaking of “daig pa,” Visayas Avenue’s rating coverage crushed the top program of the ABS-CBN, “Dream Dad.”

      According to the ratings on their ABS-CBN Social Media Newsroom, “Dream Dad” accrued 22.4 rating. Convert that into million viewers, about 17.14 million watched it — a difference of 1.27 million!

      At least Channel 4 was crowned for just a day from others.

      *76.5 million is calculated from a document from their website

    2. pati pala ang kantar media , meron din sila resulta sa news channel at, pero nasaan ang gma news tv, , abs cbn sport + action at ibc 13? at ang major networks?

      1. Ayan, alam mo na PTV ay subscriber din ng Kantar. Hindi lang ABS-CBN.

        Madalang lang ibandera ang PTV sa ratings, hindi katulad ng Dos sa kanilang Social Media Newsroom o Siete sa PEP na regular basis. TV5, Nielsen subscriber, kasama sa firm result.

        NewsTV? Sports + Action? IBC? Yan talaga ang problema, sobrang common ang devotion ng firms over the Big Two.

        CNor (muning), kailangan po tayong mag-usap.

  2. Scheduling problems should also be accounted for.

    While Pope Francis was walking towards the altar of Manila Cathedral last January 16, ABS-CBN’s coverage paused for a commercial break. The channel also cut short its coverage to air the final episode of Give Love on Christmas, while the mass there was ongoing! The other networks aired the entire mass fine.

    That day still, Primetime Bida after TV Patrol was harshly delayed, and Faith ended up competing against Aksyon Tonite (which was also pushed back by TV5’s own coverage).

    Meanwhile, at TV5, it aired movies in-between pauses in its Papal visit coverage. Did AksyonTV carried over the coverage while movies were being aired on TV5?

    AksyonTV’s viewership figures for those four days are unprecedented even for the channel itself because it offered nearly uninterrupted coverage, while ANC (a cable channel) aired more commercial breaks and sometimes hooked up with ABS-CBN’s coverage.

    On that day even still, GMA aired the Astig Authority block, The Half-Sisters, and Yagit.

    The next day, January 17, GMA aired almost their entire Saturday morning lineup and 100% of the Saturday afternoon lineup, while TV5 only returned to their #Dearpopefrancis a few times. ABS-CBN got it right in the scheduling department that time, having pre-empted almost its entire daytime schedule, leaving only Sa Kabukiran and It’s Showtime.

    Last Sunday, that day’s episode of ASAP 20 was scheduled to air early at 11:15, but pushed back to its usual timeslot and therefore shortened. TV5 also aired the replay of their own documentary on Pope Francis (forgot the title) on 1pm. What channel anyway showed coverage of the Pope leaving the Apostolic Nunciature for the Quirino Grandstand (in full)? Meanwhile, GMA aired a movie that Sunday before noon.

    (The rest of this comment is based from commentary from multiple sources including FTT, MNP, and some Facebook pages.)

    While GMA’s Papal visit coverage was deemed by certain netizens as “very good”, GMA News TV was problematic programming-wise. GMA’s handling of their coverage is so far very delicate. Some suggest that the listed problems have to do with the majority of GMA’s executives being non-Catholics and their friendship with Bro. Eddie Villanueva of the Jesus Is Lord movement.

    Even Shawn Yao jumped into the #Dearpopefrancis hype train last January 16, probably marking her comeback into the Kapatid Network (but until when?) months after some controversy involving her. TV5’s coverage was also under fire for allegedly subpar quality and Erwin Tulfo having brought certain political elements into the discussion.

    I think that the controversial Korina Sanchez should remain in indefinite leave from TV Patrol and radio.

    1. Scheduling is indeed accountable, Palo. You showed the flaws of the Big 3, unlike those from 9TV and Media ng Bayan that were both covered full-time.

      True that, Korina Sanchez is undeniably the big problem. She couldn’t control herself from basking in the limelight (or should I say, basking in the microphone.)

      Here’s my answers from your queries:

      1. Did AksyonTV carried over the coverage while movies were being aired on TV5?

      I wasn’t able to watch AksyonTV during the movie break of TV5 but presumed that they either carried the coverage or just aired rerun of their public affairs.

      2. What channel anyway showed coverage of the Pope leaving the Apostolic Nunciature for the Quirino Grandstand (in full)?

      Meticulously, 9TV, they were counting the seconds of the Pope on the road. Media ng Bayan (PTV/IBC) also because they are covering it the whole day.

      1. They’re were indeed aired the coverage on AksyonTV in certain times. I hope it will be carried the #newsroomlive coverage of News5 everywhere, instead of the main channel does.

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