TV5 Beats Rivals in News and Production Values During Election Day Coverage
TV5’s vote count
MOST CHANNELS enhanced presentations with the standard polish of TV newscasting, but TV5’s countdown on the night of May 9 was a clear winner.
CMFR noted TV5’s innovative efforts to make their coverage stylish and informative. More important, given the quality of vote tracking, the anchors also made it easy to understand.
TV5 received the same raw data from the transparency server of the PPCRV as all the other media networks obtained.
But TV5 interpreted the raw data and broke down the vote count as these were transmitted. Ed Lingao said the network came up with an application to process and analyze and aggregate the raw data received from the transparency server. This allowed the network to pull out specific data, such as who is leading in a specific locality, which they then visualized through charts and graphs that spread out on a long screen at the back of the set. With the same breathtaking speed of the vote count in all the different TV studios, TV5 alone sparked the feed with interpretative analysis.
The presenters, Roby Alampay, Lourd de Veyra and Ed Lingao prepared for their part by doing reviews of political history, enabling them to connect the dots and provide the context behind the numbers.
Bilang Pilipino-SWS Exit Polls
TV5 also partnered with Social Weather Stations (SWS), which conducted a national exit poll on election day. According to a press release by the SWS, the exit poll asked voters about the votes for president, vice president and senators. The questionnaire used standard demographic questions as to gender, age, education, socioeconomic class, religion, charismatic group, home language “to enable a substantive analysis of the 2016 vote.” The result of the poll was exclusively aired by TV5 and presented with sure mastery by Roby Alampay.
Presented as a pie chart the exit poll conducted in 802 sampled voting centers (at least 50 respondents per voting center for a total of 40,100) took the instant pulse of the voting population, something that could also be observed in the survey results conducted by different survey firms. The exit poll however reflected the actual voting results, as opposed to the pre-election surveys which asked voters their preferred candidates. The result of the exit poll also suggests how the voter’s preference can change come election day
It was also helpful that SWS President Mahar Mangahas was invited as a resource person. His insights provided better understanding of the trends and the numbers shown by exit poll results.
In covering the 2016 elections, the four major television networks (ABS-CBN 2, GMA-7, TV5, CNN Philippines) augmented their visual edge by utilizing the latest technological tools such as touch screen monitors, drone cameras and social media aggregators. But while these were intended to improve the overall production value of each network’s coverage, each of their unique set designs still played a large part in holding and keeping the interest of viewers on their reports.
ABS-CBN 2, GMA-7 and TV5 employed the color scheme of the Philippine flag in the title cards of their respective coverage (Halalan 2016 for ABS-CBN 2, Eleksyon 2016 for GMA-7 and Bilang Pilipino 2016 for TV5). CNN Philippines’ Election Day 2016, meanwhile, used a darker color scheme (maroon and blue) and the Philippine flag’s sun and stars.
When each network’s anchors were not on their feet while reporting what was happening, they were positioned around a discussion table or desk. CNN Philippines and TV5 used round tables, which proved to be helpful in facilitating more relaxed and engaging panel discussions. ABS-CBN 2 and GMA-7 used elongated tables which gave the panel discussions a more formal air.
The sets of ABS-CBN 2, GMA-7 and TV5 were also more spacious compared to that of CNN Philippines.
All the networks, with the exception of GMA-7, used a separate touch-screen monitor in reporting tweets and other social media posts on election day. These networks’ social media reporters controlled what appeared on the screen themselves. In GMA-7’s case, social media posts were pre-selected and superimposed in the space beside the social media reporter, who then read the posts.
ABS-CBN 2, GMA-7 and CNN Philippines also utilized the “word cloud” feature in reporting the most discussed topics on social media.
GMA-7 and ABS-CBN 2 were the only networks to use drone camera shots from outdoor locations. These cameras provided aerial shots to give viewers a sense of crowd size in certain precincts. GMA-7 was also the only network to use a 360-degree camera in the studio, which they previously used in the Mindanao leg of the presidential debate. However, this feature did not offer anything significant since it only gave the TV audience a full view of the studio.
For some reason, the female anchors of GMA-7 were dressed in red on election day, which bled into the same dominant color of the studio background. This made the anchors look like “floating heads” onscreen.
As cued by anchors in the studios, the transitions to field reports were generally smooth for ABS-CBN 2 and TV5. Compared to the three networks, CNN Philippines also fielded fewer reporters who had camera crews with them. Most of the field reports from CNN were made only via phone patch.
A few technical glitches marred CNN Philippines’ airing of footage from off-site locations. GMA-7, meanwhile, had some problems in coordinating with their field reporters. “Dead air” seemed to slow down its anchors during transitions to new segments.
Perhaps the most innovative feature in the coverage was provided by TV5—a “panoramic” screen that served as the studio backdrop. This screen was utilized at all times, featuring a variety of information such as voter demographics, voter preference, step-by-step procedures in the election process, exit survey figures and other data-driven pieces. Despite its constant display of moving images and graphics, the screen was not distracting during shots that included the anchors.
In terms of production value—lighting, props, sound, color scheme and design—which can significantly add to the appeal of TV news reporting, TV5 was way ahead of its rivals.