Monday, January 17, 2011

AXN, Southeast Asia's Best in 2010

Richard Herrera and Richard Hardin in The Amazing Race Asia Season 4
FINALLY back to our regularly scheduled programming after quite a lengthy absence and some technical difficulties. Let’s start this year right with some of our thoughts about 2010. Sure, I know a good number of people (okay, myself included) who would say that it wasn’t exactly a great year for them from a personal standpoint.

Be that as it may, 2010 still gave us a good number of reasons to smile and be proud as a Filipino. There’s Manny Pacquiao, who clinched his nth world title by decisively defeating Mexican challenger Antonio Margarito. There’s singing sensation Charice Pempengco who had a memorable guest appearance in the top-rated musical series, Glee and pretty much stole the opening episode from lead star, Lea Michele. And while everyone did not agree with the actual outcome, the conduct of the country’s first automated elections was at least regarded by the majority of the voting populace as generally smooth and clean.

And then there’s Richard Hardin and Richard Herrera of Team Philippines who finally took home the bacon in AXN’s reality-based competition, The Amazing Race Asia. Since the show’s second season, Filipinos have always been regarded as the competitors to beat especially after the consecutive runner-up feats of previous participants. But it wasn’t until 2010 when our team finally made it all the way to the top.

As for the cable channel that brought TARA 4 and other exciting shows into our living rooms, winning has been pretty much everything for quite sometime now. With an average of 10.2 million viewers every month in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines from January to October 2010, AXN is once again the number one international channel in Southeast Asia.

Home to some of my favorite shows like the CSI franchise (Las Vegas, Miami, New York), Chuck, Numb3rs, Damages, Reaper, Criss Angel Mindfreak and the newly-rebooted Hawaii Five-O as well as reality sensations Top Chef, So You Think You Can Dance, Wipeout and yes, The Amazing Race Asia, among others, AXN continues to offer plenty of reasons to stay tuned.

The Malaysians certainly did as AXN beats its closest competing English network in by 24 percent in the primetime ratings. Out of the 14 first-run shows that AXN aired in 2010, 10 premiered at the top of the ratings chart. In Singapore, AXN is also ahead of all English pay-TV channels in Singapore in primetime ratings among cable 15+ audience, Ditto with us here in the Philippines as AXN leads in the English general entertainment category among cable 16+ audience, quite an impressive feat given the ultra-competitive nature of our local market.

Ricky Ow, Senior Vice President and General Manager of SPE-Asia, cites the recently concluded TARA 4 as one big reason for AXN’s success this year. Another is the remake of Hawaii Five-O starring Australian sensation Alex O’ Loughlin (Moonlight, The Back-Up Plan) as the new Steve McGarett and Scott Caan (Ready To Rumble, Ocean’s Eleven) in his recent Golden Globe-nominated role as Danny “Danno” Williams. Since its season premiere last November, the show has been a big hit particularly in Malaysia and Singapore.

The new Hawaii Five-O
“It is precisely because of the outstanding support from our Southeast Asian viewers, cable partners and sponsors that we have been able to expand our AXN family of channels, which today includes Animax, AXN Beyond, Sony Entertainment Television, as well as ONE,” Ow acknowledges. “With this expanded suite of channels, we will be able to cater to even more viewers, provide greater variety and deliver a diverse range of programs to suit the whole family’s viewing preferences. We have enjoyed a good year, and it is my promise to all our viewers that 2011 will be even more exciting.”

Well, I for one am looking forward to the fulfilment of that promise, especially since both AXN and my new HDTV-ready LCD TV are indeed giving me plenty of reasons to stay tuned.