I was correct with my gut feelings. My friendly butiki, who listens to everything inside the executive offices of GMA7, confirmed that it was the network that paid for everything (repeat, everything) in the so called 'royal wedding'. It was over Php100m on the wedding day alone, not including other expenses in the pre-nuptial activities. This is an eye-popping amount if it is just a wedding expense (as I am one of those who think that a 20m wedding is already stupid and insensitive in a Third World setting, even if one could afford a 500m one). Over 100m, however, is a justifiable amount, even cheap vis-a-vis the ROI, if it is accounted as marketing and advertising expense of a large corporation that regularly spends much more anyway in their ads and promos.
If the network has been able to project that their signature stars are bigger than those from competition, then they would have been able to deliver the message that GMA7 is the bigger kid in the block (don't get me wrong; there's nothing wrong in being number one in a very competitive business). It appears they have achieved this objective, and the network executives are happy. In fact, they are very happy as some foreign media picked up on the event, like the CBS morning show and that already mentioned above, etc. There were also other side messages that were delivered in the process, like they control the other "stars" in politics and entertainment (no less than Pres BS Aquino attended… almost a dozen bishops and priests, and the competitors' signature stars were also there. ….Ateneo and La Salle were also united since the groom is an Atenean; the bride, a La Sallian).. and other corny things and spins, which were debated, but were eventually dropped so that the main message would remain uncluttered.
The unexpected bonus for them were the articles from GRP and how the event went viral in social media, as this extended the discussion of the event beyond the 24-hour news cycle. This came free (though, GRP might want to think of collecting some fee from GMA as it has helped in the PR blitz in a big way. I understand some of the lesser known stars were paid their PF, professional fees, for their attendance in the wedding). GRP, of course, could choose to be untainted by GMA's money; afterall GRP had their own bonus — those who normally don't pay attention to more important issues than a royal wedding finally visited the site. (Ilda should be congratulated.)
We are all caught in the spider web of media, and as I make my comments now, I am very much aware that I am allowing myself to be entangled in the web of GMA7 — they want us to talk about the wedding. GRP and some commenters here know this as well. The point is that if we know we are in the web, we should know how to get out of the web. Unfortunately, it seems a good many don't know this, and it is easy to spot who these were; their operative words in the comboxes: inggetera.. ano ba paki-alam nyo.. it's their own money.. they worked hard for it… this is democracy… etc. Well, knowing what was said earlier, can these comments be considered moot and academic now? (It was not the couple's money; it was a marketing expense of a large company. And, even if one had all the money in the world, one simply can't go against decency, good taste, and all such principles that might enhance, improve, or elevate the culture and society at large.)
We have a good many damned, or dumb, suckers of whatever media dishes out. They buy the media products, events, shows, etc, without even pausing to think. Well, this was expected of the D and E demographics, and that must be why GMA went ahead with the project, even building the anticipation to the event in their daily news. I would like to think it was not expected of the middle class that populate the social media — how could these guys who have all the access to knowledge thru Google and the like be buying a fake imitation of royalty? Ganun na ba tayo kababaw, that all we need is "kilig" and cheezy things? So, does PHL have a bigger problem with the mentality of the middle class than poverty? Would it be able to solve poverty in a more efficient way if it addresses the mentality of the middle class first? Or, did we already know that Education should have been the priority and the focus all this time?
More than the code against extravagance, I think there is a more forceful code, written or unwritten, related to truth in advertising. If you sell a royal wedding, was there truth in it if there was no body in attendance who had a blue blood? Or, is the government afraid of media? Is this the reason why they have allowed Education to deteriorate in quality since media has more influence than the teachers? and investment in schools, teachers, and books would just be negated by the ubiquitous noontime and showbiz tsismis TV shows? Or, are they afraid of a well-educated populace because this would be a threat to the well-entrenched corrupt government officials? and it might as well that media churns out programs after programs on TV and radio that make people uncritical, if not really dumb? Or, is an educated populace simply a threat to anything? Or, is an educated populace the only way PHL could progress?
Even then, congratulations to GMA7 (and ABS-CBN and Channel5 as well) for your fantastic bottom lines, but I ain't buying your lousy products. Still, you deserve your multi-billion profits; you have studied and know your respective audiences well; they will follow you wherever you go. Sige, continue with your ratings war; it is exciting for Pinoys.
But, "Royal Wedding"? I had hope you would have spared even just a billion more to have at least Kate Middleton, or the Sultan of Brunei, as guest — that would have been a real royalty present, not a fake one. It would have kilig to the max even China who might have dropped their claim on Spratleys right there and then. ……. But, a royal #DongYan, go tell that to the Marines.
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