Cutting Cable

In today’s post, I give way to an article released for public consumption by the research group of OMG Philippines. It talks about cable advertising, why some clients are still hesitant to include these in their media plans and argues that there are several reasons why it makes sense to put some investment on this medium.


Cutting Cable?
Relevance of Cable TV Advertising

What makes TV advertising so great is that media planners are able to plan for the best channel and program combinations, and report projected deliveries with the confidence of numbers. This is because of the sophisticated TV audience measurement being provided by Nielsen and Kantar Media. To this day, TV audience measurement is the most sophisticated media metrics, with 24/7 events monitoring and minute-by-minute viewership logging. Unfortunately, too many cable channels spread the limited cable panels (respondents) too thin to come up with a decent rating.

The highest rating Cable program among cable homes reaching 4.6% is lower than the margin of error of 5%* for the reporting household (panel homes), rendering any cable ratings irrelevant and immaterial as far as statistics is concerned. The low turnout in cable viewership casts doubt among some advertisers against the effectiveness of the medium in delivering brand communications to target audience.

Almost always, it finds its way under the scrutiny of advertisers who are having doubts on Cable TV’s contribution being compared to significant deliveries of its “Big Brother” (Free TV), which begs the question, whether to cut-down or totally cut-off cable TV placements. When in contrast, at 24% viewership, Cable TV is far more significant compared to print readership figures – broadsheet 12.7%, tabloid 13.3% and magazine 3%1.

Much as Nielsen offers other variables to make sense of the cable TV figures, throwing in Affinity, Adhesion, Loyalty, etc., we cannot deny that cable TV is a parcel of a total TV plan. We took the point of view of 4 key officers of OMG Philipines, and this is what they have to say on the matter:

  • Lisa Obispo, Head of Trading and Accountability for Omnicom Media Group: “Cable TV can pull down the overall efficiency of media buys, if not carefully planned.” Further, she adds ““When it comes to Cable TV, you have to look beyond the numbers. Communications planning is not about reaching the widest audience – it is about delivering brand communications clearly.”
  • Carla Cifra, General Manager of OMD Philippines: “Media planning is not only about a medium that can deliver the greatest number of impressions. OMD believes that an effective medium is one that serves the need-states of the target audience, and cable TV delivers strong in that aspect via programming that is tailor-fitted to the interest of the audience.”
  • MeAn Bernardo, General Manager of PHD Media Network: “We had to unlearn the old and traditional top programs or shop-list planning. In PHD, we always try make our media plans hard working by placing in channels where we can amplify the brand’s message by finding a good fit between the tone and value of the our message, and the value and characteristics of a particular medium to the audience. In that respect, the clear cut identity and programming of Cable Channels will be very helpful.”
  • Fen Marquez, General Manager of M2M Advertising: Communication planning is not only about garnering TARPs but generating demand for our clients’ brands. Our principle in M2M is to employ key vehicles with strong influence over the target market, and this is where Cable TV can be very reliable. Undoubtedly, Cable TV channels commands strong influence on the variety of interests that our target audiences are engaged in.”

We have identified some facts in support of cable TV in instances when its relevance is being put to question.

  • Pinpoint Targeting: Cable TV allows advertisers to reach target audiences squarely with tailored programming to serve the specific interest of certain niche segments of the population.
  • No brand flood: Cable TV is 45% less cluttered than FTV2. Less brands flooding the TV screen offers better branding and execution cut through for efficient memory hard-wiring.
  • Focused viewing: Cable TV has 12% less break minutes compared to FTA channels2, and break duration is likewise shorter by 50%. This means more content that viewers wanted to watch and less intrusive commercial breaks bringing more comprehension of brand communication.
  • Creative flexibility amplifies message: Most Cable media owners are more receptive to agency initiated executions, and allows collaboration between them, the brand, and the media agency for the most fitting approach.
  • Property ownership: With a ratio of 20:1 between Cable TV’s P28,000.00 versus Free to Air’s P573,000.00 per 30s rate card cost, advertisers are able to claim “ownership” of particular program airing on Cable TV. This allows strong association of the program with the brand, by having a common venue – creating affinity between consumer and brand.

Cable TV spots grew by 90% from 2010 to 2012, compared to only 16% for FTA1, which shows the growing appreciation of Cable TV advertising. The medium continues to evolve adopting new technology like digital and HD reception, pay-per-view programming, satellite facilities, etc.

There is always security in numbers, but in getting ahead, advertisers and media planners need innovative thinking and a lot of guts to take advantage of the unique characteristics of Cable TVs highly-specialized programming, niche targeting feature, minimal ad clutter, and flexibility of executions.

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Radio: Living and Breathing in the New Digital World

For today’s post, I am reproducing a talk I gave during the 38th Top Level Management Conference of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP). The conference was held at Taal Vista Hotel in Tagaytay City from November 14-17, 2012 and had His Excellency President Benigno Simeon Aquino III as  Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker.

The Conference Theme was SWITCH ON, TUNE IN, TAKE OFF IN THE NEW DIGITAL WORLD, which tries to the reality that Radio is now operating in a digital world. The topic assigned to me to cover as  resource speaker was Radio: Living and breathing in the New Digital World.

I am providing a link below to the visual copy of 13-minute talk in two parts:


Or you may also want to check the transcript below:


Good Morning Dear Colleagues.

Thank you very much for inviting me to this year’s conference.

You have asked me to give my thoughts on radioin the digital world.  I have four main points to share with you today:

My first point echoes this session’s theme: Radio is very much a living and breathing medium. The digital world presents radio with new business opportunities. It is up to you the media owners, of course, how to seize and monetize these opportunities.

In this day and age of information technology and cyber superhighways, people are still listening to radio. Sophisticated inventions in data sharing have not eroded the charm of tuning into the medium, not necessarily via the airwaves and the standard radio sets, but via other means of distribution and through new devices.

Radio, continues to offer two things that no other gadget can give: Human Connection & Practicality.

ON Human Connection:

Consider this:

Why is it that whenever we hear our songs being played on-air, they sound a thousand times better? Because the mystery and randomness of radio excite us every time.

Why is it that when radio DJs read our thoughts aloud we feel a certain rush? Because it’s always a warm feeling to know we belong, we are recognized, we are part of something, and we are heard.

On Practicality:

Radio will never die for it will continue to serve specific needs. Tablets can be a good source of news and information, but unless you have a driver, you can’t browse websites while clenched on the steering wheel. With a car radio, you just turn it on and you’ll hear the latest news from broadcasters while you’re traveling from point to point.

In times of calamities, when nothing’s left but a lighted candle and your transistor radio, essential news and announcements can still come to you.

Simple circumstances, but enough to show that radio will stay relevant and needed.

My second point is this, FOR RADIO TO CONTINUE to be a living and breathing medium, IT HAS TO FOLLOW ITS AUDIENCE WHEREVER THEY MAY BE.

Your audiences have started to live a double life: Offline and Online.

They now have the devices to do so: mobile phones, desktops and tablets.

They also have better ways to connect. Wi-Fi connection is widely accessible, and telcos are revamping their networks to provide more powerful data plans.

Gone are the days when a radio station’s coverage is determined by the power of its transmitter and antenna systems. Today’s technology makes possible for radio programs to be heard beyond the borders defined by the NTC, even beyond the country’s borders. It is now possible for radio stations to follow target audiences wherever they may be, anywhere in the world.

Therefore, for radio to continue to be a living and breathing medium, it has to be accessible via this generation’s devices: mobile phones, tablets, personal computers – on top of the usual personal radio sets.  Audiences should be able to listen to radio programs not only via the airwaves, but also via the mobile or online networks.

Moreover, radio programs must not only be made available real time via live streaming but also for later listening via podcasts.

To be sure, quite a number of Philippine radio stations are now present in the World Wide Web. Digital appendages of radio stations have already broken down geographical barriers and time-zones, tapping a new market that could have never been realized in years past.

For example, via the iPhone app Radio Philippines, I could still listen to a Philippine station for my daily dose of news and socio-political tsismis even if I am abroad. And in Manila, I could still tune in.

Also, podcasts provide me the convenience of listening to my favorite radio shows at the most convenient time.  to provincial radio stations to keep track of developments in my home town.

My only lament though is this: Most of these efforts are not actually initiated by the radio stations, but rather, by enterprising consolidators who make a reasonable business out of streaming live content of various radio stations.


Several years ago, “Unilateral” is the best way to describe the interaction radio talents had with their listeners. This one-way street grounded the basic format of any radio show: play some music, raise a single topic to engage the audience, deliver the news and air some paid commercial spots.

This format has triumphantly endured the early surges of technological inventions, with listeners then calling in or paging in their responses or song requests (remember Pocket Bell and Easy-call?).

There also came the early days of the mobile phones where radio stations entertained “text” entries, but the cost attached to it became a limitation in itself.

These one-sided formats are now becoming less and less attractive as people got overwhelmed by the digital tide. The idea of online communities sprung forth as interaction-based sites prospered across the web, and people got addicted to it.

Radio just had to keep up, and it did quite impressively well. Finding out that their audiences now value closer interactions and the feeling of belongingness, local broadcasters knew they had to tweak the format: utilize not only their station websites, but more importantly, leverage the influence of social networking sites.

The mechanics of doing a radio show now includes the reactions and thoughts of listeners who tweet and post relentlessly, without censorship and free of charge. It’s as if two shows are happening simultaneously: the actual show in the airwaves and the other one on Twitter and Facebook.

Digital not only widens the market, it also enhances the whole radio experience; it gives a new dynamic and life to it. The on-air discussions of listeners’ texts, tweets and Facebook comments have become as essential as playing requested songs. Notably, half of twitter trending topics in the morning are topics from radio shows airing on different frequencies.


We all know this is easier said than done. The secret is to keep your ear to the ground and never lose sight of your audience.  And both advertisers and broadcasters have to respond quickly upon each discovery of an opportunity.

Moreover, what works for the advertisers now, may no longer be what they want to have tomorrow.

We all remember how this evolved:

It used to be plain and simple airing of the advertiser’s 30-second radio commercial. Then, they started discovering other ways of marketing their brands via radio: AOBs, brought-to-you-bys, announcers’ and Radio DJ’s discussions, and events to accompany spots.

Facebook and Twitter have now evolved into some sort of a digital arm of any radio station. On-air promos and ads would always have a “follow” or “like” element into it, encouraging listeners to visit and join the online communities of these brands.

The use of “hashtags” has become a common way for listeners to be heard and recognized by radio shows they regard as communities where they belong. For broadcasters, Twitter’s trending list has become a gauge of popularity.

Moreover, digital savvy advertisers do not only settle for the usual on-air exposure, they now clamor to get digital exposure as well.  And stations with their own websites can take advantage of this reality:  since they can now offer additional media values through their official websites: Page-skinning, Banner Ads, and a lot more unique executions to cater to different advertising needs.


To recap,

Radio is not dead and provided it makes adjustments given the current improvements in technology, it will continue to attract the next generation of listeners and advertisers.

How can the radio station owners ensure this happens?

I pointed out 3 action points:

  1. be where your listeners are, be present offline and online
  2. adjust content taking into consideration social media interaction; and,
  3. show advertisers that you have the audiences and that these audiences engage in conversations relevant to the equities the advertisers’ brand associates itself with.

Some of you have already done all these, but for those who have yet to do this, or are in the process of doing it, we may be able to help.  

Thank you very much and good morning!

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Blog Notes

For the next few weeks, Wednesdays with Nic will be doing some blog cleaning. 

Since the middle of 2012 when  I accepted being the CEO of Omnicom Media Group in the Philippines, I have to had much time to update this blog.

I would like to come back with an improved blogsite, So bear with me. 

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Annoying Little Things: Lessons from 911

English: United Airlines Flight 175 crashes in...
Image via Wikipedia


From My Inbox : Annoying LIttle Things

On this day, two planes rammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York.  The terrorists timed their attack at the hour where people have already started reporting for their day’s work. Most of those who were there on time, did not survive the attack. And those who were late for work on that day were saved from sure death. Let me share with you an inspiring article about some of those who did not arrived at the World Trade Center on time.

Here are the circumstances of some of those who were lucky enough not to be in the WTC at a appointed time when they were supposed to be there:

  • The head of a major company survived the tragedy of “9/11” in New York because his son started kindergarten.
  • Another fellow was alive because it was his turn to bring donuts.
  • One woman was late because her alarm clock didn’t go off in time.
  • One was late because of being stuck on the New Jersey Turnpike because of an auto accident.
  • One of them missed his bus.
  • One spilled food on her clothes and had to take time to change.
  • One’s car wouldn’t start.
  • One went back to answer the telephone.
  • One had a child that dawdled and didn’t get ready as soon as he should have.
  • One couldn’t get a taxi.
  • One man put on a new pair of shoes that morning, took the various means to get to work but before he got there, he developed a blister on his foot. He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid.

They did not get to the building on time and that is why they are alive today.

Now when you

– get stuck in traffic

– miss an elevator…

– turn back to answer a ringing telephone…

– all the little things that annoy you…

Think to yourself. This is exactly where God wants you to be at this very moment.

The next time your morning seems to be going wrong,

– the children are slow getting dressed,

– you can’t seem to find the car keys,

– you hit every traffic light…

Don’t get mad or frustrated; God is at work watching over you.

May God continue to bless you with all those annoying little things – and may you remember and appreciate their possible purpose.

Author Unknown




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From my Inbox – 50s 60s 70s 80s

How different are the kids of today from those born three to six decades ago?

Well, here is one take of such differences as shared to me via email my a college friend Jose Yparaguirre.


TO ALL THE KIDS WHO WERE BORN IN THE 1950's, 60' s,70's and early 80's !!

First, some of us survived being born to mothers who did not have an OB-Gyne and drank San Miguel Beer while they carried us.

While pregnant, they took cold or cough medicine, ate isaw, and didn't worry about diabetes.

Then after all that trauma, our baby cribs were made of hard wood covered with lead-based paints, pati na yung walker natin, matigas na kahoy din at wala pang gulong. We had no soft cushy cribs that play music, no disposable diapers (lampin lang), and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, no knee-pads , sometimes wala pang preno yung bisikleta.

As children, we would ride in hot un-airconditioned buses with wooden seats, or cars with no air-conditioning & no seat belts (ngayon lahat may aircon na).

Riding on the back of a carabao on a breezy summer day was considered a treat.(ngayon hindi na nakakakita ng kalabaw ang mga bata)

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle purchased from a convenience store (minsan straight from the faucet or poso).

We shared one soft drink bottle with four of our friends, and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate rice with star margarine, drank raw eggs straight from the shell, and drank sofdrinks with real sugar in it (hindi diet coke), but we weren't sick or overweight kasi nga……



We would leave home in the morning and play all day, and get back when the streetlights came on. Sarap mag patintero, tumbang preso, habulan at taguan.

No one was able to reach us all day ( di uso ang cellphone , walang beepers). And yes, we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our wooden trolleys (yung bearing ang gulong) or plywood slides out of scraps and then ride down the street, only to find out we forgot the brakes! After hitting the sidewalk or falling into a canal (seweage channel) a few times, we learned to solve the problem ourselves with our bare & dirty hands.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 100 channels on cable, no DVD movies, no surround stereo, no IPOD's, no cellphones, no computers, no Internet, no chat rooms, and no Friendsters or Facebook…….WE HAD REAL FRIENDS and we went outside to actually talk and play with them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones, lost some teeth and there were no stupid lawsuits from these accidents. The only rubbing we get is from our friends with the words..masakit ba? pero pag galit yung kalaro mo,,,,ang sasabihin sa iyo.. beh buti nga!

We played marbles (jolens) in the dirt , washed our hands just a little and ate dirty ice cream & fish balls. we were not afraid of getting germs in our stomachs.

We had to live with homemade guns " gawa sa kahoy, tinali ng rubberband , sumpit , tirador at kung ano ano pa na puedeng makasakitan. pero masaya pa rin ang lahat.

We made up games with sticks (syatong), and cans (tumbang preso) and although we were told they were dangerous, wala naman tayong binulag o napatay. Paminsan minsan may nabubukulan lang. We walked, rode bikes, or took tricycles to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them to jump out the window!

Mini basketball teams had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't pass had to learn to deal with the disappointment. Wala yang mga childhood depression at damaged self esteem ek-ek na yan. Ang pikon, talo!

Ang parents ay nandoon lang para tignan kung ayos lang ang mga bata, hindi para makialam at makipag-away sa ibang parents.

That generation of ours has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, creative thinkers and successful professionals ever! They are the CEO's, Lawyers, Engineers, Doctors and Military Generals of today.

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had failure, success, and responsibility. We learned from our mistakes the hard way.

You might want to share this with others who've had the luck to grow up as REAL KIDS. We were lucky indeed. And if you like, forward it to your kids too, so they will know how brave their parents were.

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Political leaders can learn much from Dolphy

  He Entertained Generations of Filipinos                           

Dolphy during an ABS-CBN Trade Event in August 2004

 If there is one artist who has touched the lives of several generations of Filipinos, Dolphy's name would be one of those at the top of the list. He would even rank higher than those who have already been accorded National Artist Awards.

When we were kids, he is one of the two stars we talked about in our households and in our playing grounds – the other one being FPJ. We laughed at his jokes, talked about episodes of his TV shows and saved money in order to watch his movies. We re-tell his jokes and even try to emulate some of his antics.

During my professional life, I had the privilege of working up close with Dolphy. He was a big star at ABS-CBN. His shows topped the ratings charts and raked in a lot of revenues for the network.  He was generous to a fault – he gave cash to extras, to acquiantances and to relatives who wait for him duringthe  tapings of his shows, He earned a lot, but  he also  shared his blessings to a lot of people.

In the late 80s and the 90s, he was Channel 2's most popular and bankable star, His popularity was so high that he could have easily won any electoral contest.  When I read about his famous words : "Madaling tumakbo, pero paano kung manalo?, I cannot help but admire the man even more. His problem was not whether he will win, but whether he can give justice to his elective position if he wins.

Today, the country bids farewell to its King of Comedy. We bid him goodbye and remember him not only with fondness, but also of admiration.

I am also taking the liberty of posting a letter written to the editors  of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on July 3, 2012 by Harvey Keh,  Director for Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship by he Ateneo de Manila School of Government. I think it describes what every politician can learn from the man.

What Every Politician Must Learn from Dolphy

As the nation continues to pray for the immediate recovery of our beloved comedy king Dolphy, his principled stand against running for public office can serve as a good lesson to those who are now contemplating and planning to run for an elective public office in the upcoming 2013 elections.

If one would recall, there have been several instances that Dolphy has been urged to follow in the footsteps of other actors and actresses who have tried their hand at politics. Surely, if Dolphy decides to run for senator or even a higher post, I am sure that he would have a very big chance of winning, given the wide support that he enjoys among our people.

Yet, he has always said in so many words that the problem isn’t really whether or not he will win but what he will do after he wins and assumes a government position. This is a good lesson in humility that many of our political leaders should learn. Up until today, we have many local and national leaders who continue to run in the elections without even thinking whether or not they have the necessary skills and competencies to perform well in these government posts.

Sad to say, many of them run and do everything to win for no reason other than satisfying their lust for clout and power and advancing their own personal interests. It is refreshing to see that in Dolphy we see a man who knows and accepts his limitations and knows fully well where he can really excel at and where he can best serve the country.

I hope that we will have more leaders in our country who will discern and reflect first on their intentions, and whether they have the necessary skills for the position that they aspire after, before they decide to file their certificates of candidacies.

Let us remember that it is not only through government that we can be of service to our country and fellow Filipinos. The life and laughter that Dolphy shared with all of us is a concrete example of sharing one’s life and talents with others.



Really, let all those with political ambitions realize that it is easier to be elected but difficult to give justice to an elective position. Serving the people is not a tea party. It is a responsibility one has to take seriously.






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