MANILA — Despite the government shutdown of its broadcast operations, ABS-CBN on Thursday carried on its mission of being in the service of Filipinos, with the return of its flagship newscast "TV Patrol."
Since its 1987 premiere, "TV Patrol" has reached Filipinos nationwide through ABS-CBN's free TV channel — until the May 5 order that forced the network off air.
Two days after the halt of ABS-CBN's TV and radio broadcast, "TV Patrol" announced it would continue delivering the news, but through the network's other platforms, starting that same night.
By 6:25 p.m. on May 7, the iconic music of "TV Patrol" opened the program on ABS-CBN News' official website and pages on Facebook and YouTube, ANC, and the streaming service iWant. Overseas, it also aired live via The Filipino Channel.
For Filipinos who have long relied on "TV Patrol" for information, Thursday night meant trading their television viewing for streaming through their smartphones, tablets, or computers.
In photos tagging "TV Patrol's" social media pages, viewers shared their home setup for keeping up with the news. One family had a phone screen on their dinner table, while others had the YouTube livestream on their smart TVs.
Those images accounted for a mere few of the millions of Filipinos who tuned in as "TV Patrol" returned.
On Facebook, the newscast's stream reached 7.5 million views just within hours. Its concurrent viewers, or the number of people watching at the same time, peaked at around 218,000.
On YouTube, the livestream had over 73,000 peak concurrents, with a total of 720,000 playbacks, as of writing.
What's seen as a historic transition of the Philippines' prime newscast no doubt accounts, in part, for the strong viewership of "TV Patrol" online on Thursday. "TV Patrol," prior to ABS-CBN's broadcast closure, had been the consistent No. 1 news program nationwide, rarely ranking lower than 3rd on the list, according to Kantar Media.
The comeback of "TV Patrol" was similarly celebrated on Twitter, as the program title ranked atop the list of trending topics in the Philippines, with comments ranging from "revenge" memes to those emphasizing the vital role of media especially during a public health crisis.
Here are some of them: