If the community of content producers, artists, and creative types would care to pause a bit and step out of the herd mentality that is the lunacy of their “solidarity” with embattled ABS-CBN, they will see the vast opportunities that await their craft with the demise of the Philippines’ biggest mass media empire. For so long, ABS-CBN has loomed over the Philippines’ entertainment industry as an enormous reservoir of degenerate content that all but drowned out small independent producers that would have invigorated and substantially enriched Philippine entertainment had they been given access to a level playing field.
It is baffling the way the artists’ community are rallying behind ABS-CBN. For decades, ABS-CBN served as a major roadblock to injections of fresh blood into mass media entertainment. It had made use of uncompetitive practices to prop up its bankable but utterly mediocre talent and used its connections with an entrenched political-industrial complex to maintain its monopolistic hold. By flooding the market with a steady supply of cheap entertainment products, ABS-CBN kept downstream media distributors and theatre chains fat and complacent and unwilling to give space to smaller independent artists and producers.
If anything, freelance and independent artists and performers should be celebrating the disappearance of a major hurdle to the Philippines’ long overdue creative renaissance. Without the market flooded with the slapstick humour of Vice Ganda, the brain-dead bleached girlshows of Kim Chiu and Coco Martin, and the template plots of the McMovies churned out by Star Cinema, Philippine mass entertainment stands a chance of developing into the smarter, edgier, and more sophisticated scene of the sort that could compete with the international-grade products of Korea and China.
The Philippines’ creative scene is literally having the life of it sucked out by big corporate media outfits like ABS-CBN. For the likes of ABS-CBN, entertainment is manufactured rather than created. It regards sees art a business rather than a craft and aims to make the most money from the lowest common denominator. If there is one thing that is holding back the Philippines from taking its place amongst the world’s great outlets for talent in the performing arts, ABS-CBN would be it.
Rather than be all crybaby about the demise of an agent of creative degeneracy, independent Filipino artists and producers should be stepping up and gearing up to compete and fill the void left behind by the Kapamilya mob. It’s time Filipino artists compete on the international scene rather than compete with an unbeatable monopoly that is kept profitable using dishonest business practices that had long been eradicated from the entertainment industries of the worlds greatest entertainment capitals.
The Philippines’ mass entertainment and broadcast industry is facing the dawn of a new era as the sun sets — no, crashes down — on ABS-CBN. This new era should be embraced and not feared. To fear it only means that ABS-CBN continues to win in the effort tilt the market and ensure itself continued access to the cornered market it grew fat on over the last several decades.
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