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Sunday, May 3, 2009

TV ads ‘knock out’ Pacquiao fans

MANILA -- Mang Henry, an air-con technician, threw in the towel while he waited for GMA-7 network to air the historic Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton fight.

"I won't watch it on TV anymore. What time is it now? I already heard on radio that Pacquaio won," said Mang Henry in Filipino, declining to give the Philippine Daily Inquirer his last name.

Mang Henry said his excitement to watch the fight on TV waned after he waited for more than an hour for GMA-7 network to air the delayed telecast from Las Vegas, Nevada.

"Nawala ang thrill... Nakakainis [The thrill is gone. It's annoying]," Mang Henry said, adding that the string of commercials got on his nerves as well.

Instead of waiting for the fight, Mang Henry said he returned to work. He was not even keen on waiting for it to be aired on Sunday's evening telecast.

Oscar Dizon, an engineer, spent more than an hour in front of the TV anticipating the airing of the fight.

"Bakit ang tagal [Why is it taking too long]?" he asked.

His son, Raymund, had fallen asleep on the couch, while he waited for the telecast even if he had already seen the fight on pay-per-view earlier in the day.

The younger Dizon simply wanted to see for a second time famed British boxer Ricky Hatton fall in the middle of the canvass, knocked out by Manny Pacquiao in the second round.

GMA-7, the official media partner of the Pacquiao-Hatton fight, finally aired the delayed telecast of the main event at 2:03 p.m., two hours after Pacquiao knocked out his opponent.

It began with celebrity Martin Nievera singing the Philippine National anthem then immediately cut to a rundown of nearly 30 major and minor sponsors.

The telecast noticeably skipped Tom Jones singing "God Save the Queen," Britain's national anthem, and another singer's rendition of the United States anthem,"Star-Spangled Banner".

There were three commercial gaps before the telecast showed Pacquaio enter the arena.

Some gaps were as long as eight minutes and a portion of the introductions to the match lasted for only a minute before another commercial break.

Even after Michael Buffer announced that the arena was "ready to rumble," GMA 7 cut the telecast for another round of commercials.

Finally, at 2:41 pm, thousands of Filipinos waiting at their TV sets got to see Pacquiao pounce on Hatton.

A source familiar with the commercials aired over the fight's telecast told the Inquirer that placements for the TV ads had been assumed for six rounds of the match.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity as she was not authorized to discuss details of the ad placements, said that industry standards dictate that ads would still follow the original placement schedule even if the fight ended at round 2.

She said a likely solution was to replay the two rounds until the original placement schedule was met.

The Inquirer tried to call GMA-7 for its side but as of press time, had not yet received any word from the network.

Whether the fight was seen on delayed telecast, pay-per-view or at the malls, many Pacquiao supporters said it ended much too soon as they wanted to see more action from the Filipino champion -- now certifiably the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.

Pasig City resident Roger Degollado was at the Robinson's Galleria cinema as early as 7:30 a.m. with his two sons to watch the fight.

Along with other fans, they endured a four-hour wait, watching an HBO documentary on Pacquaio and Hatton and the undercard matches before the main event finally went on screen.

"It was all over after a few minutes!" Degollado said, adding that the first round already had fans cheering Pacquiao wildly after his punches visibly disoriented Hatton.

It was a good thing, the Degollados said, they had complimentary tickets for the otherwise pricey match.

It was a sentiment, the said, shared by other fans who watched at the cinema.

"On our way out, we heard people say it was a good thing their tickets were from a major sponsor," said Degollado's son.


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