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BY THE NUMBERS: From ratings to social media and ad rates, who rules Philippine TV?

In the Philippines, TV network wars are a most colorful rivalry. Just like politics and love teams, people especially the loyal fans of the two competing networks are always up on their feet in depending who the real number one is.

From trash talking in social media posts and fora to casual debates, fandoms will always claim their station’s number one status. ABS-CBN as a whole has long seized from advertising their TV ranking status.

Although their shows are the ones sharing their number one ranking over their rivals, ABS-CBN for the longest time has veered away from publicizing their network ranking.

This is contrary to GMA Network which continues to promote their number one status in their info plugs.

But how do we really measure who is number one and who is ahead of the other?


Philippine TV network wars are often decided upon by the ratings. Not only because that is the most visible and physical proof of supremacy but because a network’s life depends on the ratings of its shows.

But in the Philippines, TV ratings are a bit complicated because the two rival networks are using two different TV survey methods and agencies.

ABS-CBN subscribes to Kantar Media which is using National TV ratings survey compared to GMA Network which uses AGB Nielsen’s NUTAM People ratings.

Kantar’s national TV ratings include Urban and Rural areas which account for more than 2610 panel homes representing 100% of total viewing population of the country.

Currently, ABS-CBN leads in Kantar ratings 44% vs 33% based on the July overall rating report.

While ABS-CBN claimed number one position in Kantar, GMA network also claimed number one status based on AGB Nielsen NUTAM survey.

For their July 2018 overall TV ratings, GMA won over ABS-CBN 41.8% to 37.6%.

AGB Nielsen’s panels are available in Urban areas only and is using People meter.


Aside from TV ratings, TV network rivalry is also measured by their social media influence.

Since majority of the population are hooked on social media especially the millennial audience, TV networks are working hard also to tap this broadcasting medium.

And based on the previous By The Numbers article regarding TV network’s digital warfare, ABS-CBN is leading GMA network in terms of social media reach.


ABS-CBN leads almost all social media platforms except Instagram which is held by GMA.

ABS-CBN topped Youtube, Facebook and Twitter based on the numbers of followers and facebook page likes.


But apart from TV ratings and Social media reach, another aspect that we can take into consideration in knowing the leading TV network in the country is the ad rates and commercial loads.

Based on the Senate hearing involving the anomalous advertising contract between the Department of Tourism and PTV4’s block-timer Bitag Media Unlimited, it was revealed how much ad rates in ABS-CBN and GMA network costs.

According to the Senate investigation, ABS-CBN’s ad rates for a 30-second ad costs 900 thousand pesos for non-primetime and 1.4 million pesos for primetime.

GMA network, on the other hand, charged their 30-second ad at 299 thousand pesos for non-primetime and 500 thousand for primetime.

And if we will base on the volume of commercials, no doubt ABS-CBN is leading since even if they charged higher than GMA they still get most of the commercial loads.

And this can also be connected to which network is the real number one in terms of ratings because brands will put their ads on the most watched programs.

Given the fact that ABS-CBN’s ad rates cost higher but still gets most of the commercial loads, it’s safe to conclude that ABS-CBN is really winning the ratings’ game because as pointed out, brands will put their ads on the network or a show that is a ratings winner.

ABOUT: By The Numbers is a weekly column written by Ron Mia (@rojan88 on Twitter, @akosirojan88 on IG, Ron.Mia on Facebook), a Blogger by night and Data Analyst by day.

The column focuses on analyzing TV shows based on their survey numbers. A detailed, no holds barred analysis of what’s hot and what’s not in the world of television.

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