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The Eat Bulaga Plateau and How They Can Get Out of It

The Eat Bulaga Plateau and How They Can Get Out of It

Background:
In July 2015, after 36 years in Philippine showbiz, Eat Bulaga ‘reinvented’ their TV show with the Aldub segment. Based on data provided by Kantar Media Philippines, Eat Bulaga was able to more than double the number of household viewers. From a base of 2.5 million households last July 2015, it went up to 6.2 million on October 24, 2015, with the additional 3.7 million households watching on Saturdays (the highest for the week). These are mostly new viewers from the unserved market, and this excludes people watching via appliance stores or neighborhood, as well as overseas Filipino workers.

There are about 20 million total households in the Philippines. With some 15.5 million households owning a TV set, the market potential for noontime TV show viewers is still relatively high as not everybody is watching TV during noontime.

History Flashback:
The last major brand that was able to almost double their number of followers within a 3-month period in the Philippines was Pepsi in 1992. Unfortunately, Pepsi wasn’t able to sustain their efforts, having been affected by human error. This led to the infamous 349 crisis. They could’ve gained more if they extended their Pepsi Number Fever promotions. Coke got lucky as Pepsi sustained a self-inflicted injury.

Back track even further to 1977 and 1978, way before Eat Bulaga was born – John Travolta was the next big thing in Hollywood, starring in now-iconic musicals such as ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and ‘Grease’. He was certainly a cut above the rest as he did more than just the typical Hollywood roles. When he branched out from his usual image and repositioned himself to do other roles, his movies ended up becoming financial disasters. It actually took him 16 years to be considered “cool” again, thanks to 1994’s ‘Pulp Fiction’. He was finally able to garner attention again, for a role that reminded people of who he was in his two early hit movies.

When success is phenomenal, brands and the people behind them may develop over confidence. There is a tendency to feel powerful and unbeatable, until a blunder or a roadblock happens and forces them to zoom out and look objectively from a different perspective. At the moment, people may still be gaga over Aldub, but marketing history (examples cited above) will reveal that they are not entirely invincible. Let me elaborate.

Aldub Decoded:
Two past articles published by myself hypothesized that new viewers were mainly responsible for the rejuvenated Eat Bulaga that we are enjoying now. They were attracted because the show not just added the Aldub love team (albeit accidentally) within the ‘Juan for All, All for Juan’ segment, but values were also injected within the show via Lola Nidora’s antics. Eat Bulaga had defacto repositioned itself as an “entertainment + values” fusion category that became distinguishable from the purely noontime entertainment formula that other networks have been doing. Aldub attracted family-oriented households that felt like they shared the same values and sense of humor as Yaya Dub and Lola Nidora. It wasn’t hard to like because the segment showed familiar themes in Filipino culture. #SaTamangPanahon was popularized when Lola Nidora shared the importance of waiting for the right time to take the next steps in a relationship. It was a sure hook for households who wanted to stress the concept of proper “panliligaw”, something that is not so common in this day and age.

The many values of the Aldub segment not only differentiated Eat Bulaga from its peers, but more importantly, provided relevance versus pain points expressed by noncustomers — instead of going with the same deprecating humor demonstrated by other shows, Eat Bulaga went the opposite route and became a positive icon, beyond the usual ‘saya’ and ‘kilig.’ (Interestingly, Eat Bulaga also went the ‘trash talk’ route once and some of the hosts were even accused of more controversial issues. Imagine this case study as a 360 degree transformation.)

Data Review:
A review of the latest total number of viewers watching Eat Bulaga, as audited by Kantar Media Philippines in November and December 2015 is disturbing, with a rapidly declining base of viewers. From a peak of 6.2 million households viewing last October 24, 2015, when Maine Mendoza, one-half of the Aldub love team, wished ‘sana di kayo magsawa,’ the number has deteriorated rapidly to only 4 million households viewing after a month on Nov 28, 2015; 3.5 million on Dec 6, 2015; 3.3 million on December 19, 2015 and finally at 2.65 million households viewing on Dec. 26, 2015. Eat Bulaga practically lost all incremental customers they gained, losing 3.55 million viewing households in two months while gaining only a measly 150,000 extra fans, despite the numerous product endorsements that aired during the same period.

Critical Changes:
Most followers of Eat Bulaga may remember the two critical events that possibly explain the deterioration in the number of viewers — Maine Mendoza, then better known as Yaya Dub for her initial role as a caregiver (yaya) doing dubsmash, already met Alden Richards in their much publicized event of Oct 24 in the Philippine Arena. Prior to this event, Lola Nidora hindered them from meeting. Secondly, instead of doing only Dubsmash which she was originally known for before joining Eat Bulaga, Maine Mendoza stopped being mysterious, and is now using her own voice. She was transformed from an underdog, girl-next-door caregiver Yaya Dub to a more glamorous up-and-coming talent Maine Mendoza, the love interest of Alden Richards.

Aldub is still a formidable team to the segment they attract. They helped the ‘Pa Bebe Love: #Kilig Pa More’ movie to not just become a hit during the 41st Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), but also get the biggest opening day gross for all Filipino films. Even the movie title was named after the famous ‘Pabebe Wave’ popularized by Yaya Dub during one of the earlier episodes.

Perspectives:
‘Pabebe Wave’ was a limited run movie in Eastwood, a likely hangout of one of the show’s new viewers. The author watched it in the early evening of Dec. 29, 2015, their 5th showing day, and noticed how the cinema was far from full, and actually very quiet throughout the duration of the movie (except for a few parts).

From the point of view of loyal fans, they will continue to be passionate as themselves / “Aldubnation”. However, from the perspective of new viewers attracted to the fusion category, making them stay will be difficult for they are still longing for the same drama as the highly quoted #SaTamangPanahon. At best, some may still remain as occasional viewers, who sadly, can also turn into lapsed, burnt-out customers.

Most new viewers who originally got into Eat Bulaga because of the fusion category/concept may not exactly be attracted to seeing selected people from a barangay getting prizes from advertisers and sponsors. This was a formula that was done by Eat Bulaga even before the Aldub love team was concocted. Perhaps it was the reason why these new viewers never watched Eat Bulaga in the first place. They may not be attracted to senatoriable Tito Sotto engaging the recipients of these prizes. They may not be attracted to Maine co-hosting part of the show or performing a character where she is not a role model or Dubsmash talent/comedian. They may not be interested in the number of “#weeksary” tweets, even if another tweet record can be established. They may not be interested in the number of likes and shares in Facebook. All these things simply please the existing fans. The new viewers may fall out of the fad because they’ll eventually realize that they became new customers mostly due to a different value proposition, which is now not as strong as before.

In recent episodes, Lola Nidora is seen trying to revert back to their older entertainment + values formula, but it seems like the focus is not entirely there yet. Perhaps an increased consistent effort and commitment will bring back lapsed and non-customers.

Lessons:
At least eight lessons can be learned about the sustainability of market-driving innovation in service, formerly seen in Eat Bulaga. As mentioned above, the numbers have switched — from at peak viewing households of 6.2 million to only 2.6 million. These lessons are:

1. Distinguish market-driven strategy versus market-driving strategy, the former responding to the needs of the existing customers while the latter shaping the needs of new customers. These two types of marketing strategy are not mutually exclusive and can happen at the same time. Embracing true learnings on why an accidental success is key in order not to keep losing millions of household viewers who tried watching but are no longer interested to continue watching Eat Bulaga.

2. New customers are attracted to new features (i.e. Explicit emphasis on forgotten values (like #SaTamangPanahon), role model, unpredictability, etc.) of an offer and will be lost if the priority features they got attracted to in the first place will cease to exist. Over a period of time, these motivators become satisfiers. The problem with that is that it may become a dissatisfier if you remove or change it. New customers, one of the nine different types of noncustomers, tend to behave differently compared to loyal and screaming fans who are less sensitive to changes.

3. Understand different goals. For market-driving strategy, it’s acquisition and market penetration as reflected in the number of new viewers, while for market-driven strategy, it’s satisfaction and loyalty as reflected in comparative ratings. Never fall in love with ratings (market share) alone where a superior rating can still be attained while bleeding millions of new viewers as in the case of Eat Bulaga.

4. Dialogue partners are key. In market-driven strategy, it’s the loyal fans. In market-driving strategy, it’s the noncustomers. This is a usual culprit when brand owners listen to existing customers and assume that what satisfies loyal and screaming fans will also be valid for noncustomers.

5. Market-driving strategy’s first of seven principles — that being better is the enemy of being different. Eat Bulaga has attracted noncustomers by being different and being non-traditional. As the voice of the screaming fans went up, they became more traditional, addicted to market-driven metrics (ratings, number of tweets, number of likes) instead of market penetration and values shared or quoted in market-driving strategy (read two articles ‘Marketing and Strategy Lessons From Eat Bulaga’s Aldub‘ and ‘The Market-Driving Strategy of #Aldub‘)

6. Innovation is about two elements — offering something new but being commercially successfully. Success is about sustainability, the stickiness factor — making people try, retry, and repeat their behavior until it becomes part of their lives. To make Maine Mendoza co-host or do out of character roles at Eat Bulaga is not being different, and for now, not even being better, beyond her new found popularity. Aldub will just become another love team if this keeps up. Unless Eat Bulaga acknowledges the white space in the fusion category of entertainment plus values, they will end up trying to be unique in the same way as competitors instead of being unique in a unique way, a fusion category of their own.

7. Adopt different lenses in marketing – market-driven vs. market-driving, growth marketing vs. defensive marketing, the latter should be anticipated as alert and progressive competitors may decide to pick up the white space abandoned by the innovator. Imagine that ABS-CBN has more resources and a greater market reach and they may fill in the values void within a new segment, after all over 3 million lapsed viewers will be hard to ignore as market potential, learning from three successive incorrect responses (three top love teams guesting, Coliseum event, Pastillas Girl) catering to needs of existing viewers instead of new viewers. Who knows, TV 5 may just get a headquarter mandate to jump in and tap the synergies of their sister companies in media, telecom and related businesses.

8. The right vision makes the difference. No doubt making fans happy is important, ensuring that the show is a stress reliever is a given but having dual vision entails humility to learn and a innovator’s paradigm — sharing more weekly forgotten values explicitly like #SaTamangPanahon to a country where close to half of its households have no parents at home because they are working elsewhere entails not just wanting commercial success but making a difference. A TV show, like or unlike Eat Bulaga, can be so powerful and effective to have the ability to address social issues and influence the mindsets and behavior of its citizens via entertainment. That’s the most exciting market-driving strategy in show business, a true fusion of entertainment and values. Di lang saya at kilig, but Saya, Kilig at Laman!

(For Josiah Go’s seminars in Market-Driving Strategy or Business Model Innovation, please visit www.mansmith.net)

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Josiah Go

About Josiah Go

Bestselling author Josiah Go is the Chairman and Chief Marketing Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. (the leading marketing and sales training company in the Philippines), President and CEO of Waters Philippines (the market leader in the direct selling of premium health durable products in the Philippines) and President and CEO of PT Noah Health Indonesia. He is Chairman / Vice Chairman / Director of over a dozen companies.

15 Comments

  1. Good day Mr. Go,

    I find that you have been attacked by so-called “AlDogs.” This is not the first time it has happened with a high profile personality who had something to say about the said “phenomenon.” Your points are about marketing but as to how the AlDogs are attacking you, I believe they are entirely missing your point.

    I extend my sympathies to you as you deal with this rabid fanbase of non-thinkers. But there’s an article that Abante Tonite published late last year (which also appeared in Astig.ph) that talks about the fanbase’s attitude towards those who they think do not agree with them:

    http://www.abante-tonite.com/issue/oct0815/showbiz_others02.htm#.VqG_zNJViko

    I hope you find that helpful as you deal with these AlDogs.

  2. Values, family, love and clean fun…. that keeps me watching kalyeserye…. numbers does not matter

  3. Probably you are right sir, we will never know if they can sustain the plateau..but, meron secret formula ang ALDUB and EB that only their supporters feel..

  4. oh! Mr Go my analyzes in your “#EVALUATION ON EB/ALDUB” it seems your also using the later names to catch also an attention, remember your marketing strategy to catch customers for your firm “NISAKAY KA LANG SA TREND KARON #ALDUB PHENOMENON.

  5. KATHLEEN IVY Z. BOLOTAOLO

    Maybe the only reliable source of survey at this point is that of Kantar. And of course, the die hard fans will be insensitive to any changes or if there are changes in the impact of Aldub. They also tend to be very sensitive if anything not favorable for them is being laid. From my understanding, the author is just being helpful if you just maintain an open mind. This article can be considered by GMA or EB for their benefit. The reverse is highly emotional.

  6. I am wondering if they factored in the Christmas holiday season. Since the biggest decline was during the period where people are so busy for Christmas. And the whole week of dec 26 EB was running replays. Then I guess December data have so many factors for decline and would not really be a good month to use for such comparison.

  7. iamajavaprogrammerwithnolife

    Yeah i think EB should improve their concept, Nakakasawa rin kasi parepareho lang napapanuod mo everyday sa EB, wala ng innovation. I suggest, magguest din sila ng ibang celebrity kahit every Saturday lang like what they did to Jake Ejercito. Pumatok yun for me. Then come up with a story about “the new celebrity/character na darating pag Saturday ” tuwing weekdays. Atleast di magsawa mga tao. Ako, kahit wala ako pasok at pede ko mapanuod EB, minsan di ko na pinapanood, wala naman kasi bago. Tama nga na nawala na yung mysterious effect ni Maine, nung nagsalita siya. She is much better pag di siya nagsasalita mas expressive siya by her actions only. Atsaka EB, tama lang na wag muna magkiss ang dalawa, kasi maiinis ako pag ngkiss talaga sila hehehe. Wag nyo tanggalin yung mystery. Yun lang!

  8. I have nothing against EB, AlDub or AlDubnation. Just that, I do not find it interesting at all. I tried to watch several times, even the #TamangPanahon held in Philippine arena but I was not moved(while my cousins and some of my closest friends were). Maybe because I think that the show did not reach my standards in terms of entertainment.I’m talking about the costumes, props, stage and lighting and the most valuable to me, the production numbers(but I can’t deny the kilig factor the love team causing me, the same with the kilig I am experiencing with other love teams nowadays, in fairness).

    Now, I guess the analysis above is quite reliable to me. During Christmas, my best friend(who is a super fan of Aldub and kalye serye of course) watched the love team’s entry to the metro manila film fest. I was surprised because she was frustrated after viewing the film. Then she told me that while in the cinema, she was expecting for more, then she ended up expecting the whole time. Mr. Go was right.”When success is phenomenal, brands and people behind them develop over confidence. There is a tendency to feel powerful and unbeatable, until a blunder or a roadblock happens and forces them to zoom out and look objectively from a different perspective.”

    I think that’s what happened. Thanks. :)

  9. Dear Mr Go, with due respect to your prestige as a marketing manager and prolific business writer, I beg to disagree with your analysis of EB/KS decline. Good as your write up may appear to be, it is to me can be seen as a bias commentary against Aldub because your main source of information to support your observation is Kantar. Kantar has a direct link to the rival party of GMA and EB. If the information I gathered is correct, at least two bigwigs of this rival party are key persons in Kantar and therefore may have direct hand to its operation. Thus your article to me tends to favor the network which contests the popularity of Aldub to the detriment of the latter because of impression your article may create on your readers.

  10. Dear author, for a chief marketing strategist not sure how you missed out their impact in social media, did it occur to you that maybe those TV viewers before found a more practical way of watching replays Instead of watching live at noon? Just look at Eat bulaga facebook page and their daily recap fetches 500k views on average, their commercials million hits, and Twitter daily hits still a record setting at least 1 million..nothing comes close to that kind of engagement ..you might want to revise your analysis..

  11. Hello Mr. Go,

    For someone who was trying to reach the “common and ordinary” market to get your message across, your discussion of the topic was somewhat beyond our understanding. The language you used may be highly appreciated by people who speak the same language as yours. It could have been more effective if you simply state your “opinion”i.e. as the popularity of EB and Aldub is on a standstill (or probably on the decline). Your marketing parlance “marketing driven” and “marketing-driving” are terms that are not within our experiences, and therefore, they hardly sank-in. But it was flattering to know that someone as popular and well-known as you, sir would spend sometime to make an analysis of the “state of Aldub and EB” at this moment. We shall keep that in mind. Afterall, there’s no harm listening to opinions of others. By the way, since researches do not always use the complete enumeration as sample, how many did you use to represent the entire population of the old fans and the new fans? What sampling procedure did you employ? Thank you po.

    • I beg to disagree. Although I understand that most of you are upset with the facts given in this article, we can’t deny the fact the Eat Bulaga’s ratings, along with its Kalyeserye, is on a decline. What I don’t understand is why people seem to think Kantar is in a secret “partnership” with ABS-CBN, albeit rumors saying the contrary, that is GMA and AGB Nielsen are also in cohort, also exist yet you seem to trust AGB more than Kantar. I am sensing a bias here [BTW, Kantar’s sample is both from rural and urban, while AGB’s is solely urban, so they’re pretty incomparable.]

      Lastly, this is a marketing website, not a gossip/news site. I am actually here to read Mr. Go’s recommendations, which I find quite educational. Regarding the “marketing parlance”, again this is a marketing blog. Nothing is out of place.

  12. have not seen “team replay” from your analysis.
    and the abrupt decline that you may have concluded from the “new ones” are maybe in this “arena”.

    anyway, the market will always come to a “plateau” no matter what the product is, and the problem is not how it will go down since it always will be very hard to sustain any type of success, but how it is reached and managed is an indication of “intelligent” strategy.

    EB, the team of writers behind “kalye serye” seems relevant and jibes very well with the market. but ‘new’ Market is just as liquid as cash, it transform every minute. “old die-hards” are like savings, and they stick and sustain the means for confident living (market-share) :-)

    now, you can only “go-sick” to “diminish” your savings.

    TVJ looks better and more mature in these times, and i am sure, you will need another “Maine” to crush EB down. for that matter, you may also need a “Jose” to really be competitive.

  13. Hi Mr. Josiah,

    Thank you for the review! But for us ALDUBNATION fans we don’t rely on Kantar Media ratings coz even before it was never been friendly to us. Maybe u can check also the ratings of AGB Nielsen especially every Saturday. It is good to have the two side of the two Research firm.and lastly the title of the movie is My Bhebhe Love not my Pabebe love . Thank you and More power

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