Winning the war

Bong Wenceslao
Bong Wenceslao

Noontime television programming in the country is back to normal with the court finally deciding in favor of the trio of brothers Tito and Vic Sotto and their friend Joey de Leon or TVJ on the issue of the “Eat Bulaga” title. For the moneyed, like the Jalosjos family that owns Television and Production Exponents or Tape, some legal remedies are still open, but from now on the show that they are producing will be named “Tahanang Pinakamasaya.”

I followed this issue mainly because it pitted TV producers against creators on the matter of copyright and trademark. Following the issue makes one learn about the laws involving copyright and trademark and the bodies in the country that are tasked to settle conflicts involving intellectual property. In the age of social media, this is an important matter considering how technology has been made available to individuals instead of to a select few like what happened in the past.

TVJ might be an old trio but they still are babies on many things, like in running a show under a setup vastly different from the one they faced in 1979. It’s unfortunate that they are already in the twilight of their careers when they split from Tape Inc., transferred networks and set up their own production firm. But they have many experiences that are enough to fast-track the learning process. They have to plot the development of new talents to manage what they will eventually leave behind when they retire.

Which reminds me of the lessons that can be learned from families who are running businesses in the country. There is, for example, this talk about the first generation setting up the business, the second generation expanding it and the third generation leading the business astray and destroying it. TVJ and their successors need to ensure that whatever success they now have won’t be wasted in the end.

There are lessons that TVJ can mine in their conflict with Tape Inc. The possibility is high that the second generation Jalosjos, instead of strengthening and expanding Tape Inc., would instead lead it to bankruptcy. And there is no assurance that TVJ would be successful in tracking the path that TVJ Productions will follow.

In the old days, the TVJ trio mainly focused on the task of making “Eat Bulaga” successful while leaving the business aspect to Tony Tuviera and Tape Inc. They no longer have such luxury now. They have to function as show hosts while at the same time manage a business. That task is difficult especially for three celebrities who are about to retire. But they can have billionaire Manny V. Pangilinan as mentor. Whether TVJ will succeed or not in this endeavor, I really don’t know.

But these are exciting times for the trio. There are still many things to be done but the time is short. In 1979, they were young upstarts eager to succeed in show business. Time was on their side. But now, they are successful hosts trying to leave a lasting legacy to upstarts. Time is no longer on their side. Meaning that the margin for error for them is already very narrow.


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