Pinoy filmmakers thrive online

With more than 30 million Filipinos who access the Internet, it’s no wonder that Pinoy filmmakers, hobbyists, and even TV networks are turning to the web to engage movie buffs and avid viewers. The 2011 Synovate Media Atlas Philippines survey of 5.8 million Filipino respondents indicates about 62% access videos on free platforms like YouTube, giving video creators a huge audience share to showcase their ideas.

What’s YouTube?

Bogart the Explorer
A video-sharing website, YouTube was born in 2005 out of the creativity online geeks on which users can upload, view and share videos. YouTube uses Adobe Flash Video and HTML5 technology to display a wide variety of user-generated video content, including movie clips, TV clips, and music videos, as well as amateur content such as video blogging, short original videos, and educational videos. Most of YouTube’s content are being uploaded by individual registered users, although media corporations and other organizations offer some of their material via the site, as part of the YouTube partnership program. Unregistered users can watch videos, while registered users can upload videos. In 2006, YouTube was bought by Google for US$1.65 billion, and now operates as a subsidiary of Google.

Short films on YouTube

Filmmakers can get paid for their creativity with the YouTube partnership program, while talents like Charice Pempengco, Arnel Pineda, Ashley Rivera, Mikey Bustos, and KZ Tandingan become overnight global sensations.
Real-life couple
Tutorial videos in the style of Mikey Bustos and Petra Mahalimuyak have become popular. Still, other video creators are applying a more creative approach to their content. Musician RA Rivera and University of the Philippines professor and comedian Ramon Bautista started a series of videos called  “Tales from the Friend Zone.” Episodes start with Bautista reading letters from senders who are dealing with relationship issues, followed by a reenactment of the story in film format, and then a relationship advice for the letter sender. The series gained instant popularity with the first episode getting nearly 300,000 views. They produced the fifth episode after only four months on air. “YouTube has a large community of video creators and viewers. Videos are shared by thousands, if not millions, of people every day. YouTube not only transformed the way we create videos, but also opened up a lot of opportunities for us,” said Jam Sebastian of YouTube duo Jamich. “What we achieve with YouTube not only transforms the way we create videos, it really opens up a lot of opportunities for us,” Sebastian said. Short films launched the popularity of YouTube duo and real-life couple Jam Sebastian and Michelle Liggayu, better known as “Jamich”. Their first YouTube video, “By Chance,” received well over 3,000 views the day it was uploaded. They started their YouTube channel in May 2011 and already have more than 38 million views and 104,000 subscribers. The duo is also enrolled in the YouTube partner program where they get monetized for the videos they upload.

YouTube as TV extension

Word of the Lourd
Television networks are also utilizing the web to broadcast their shows for greater viewership. GMA News TV’s “Bogart the Explorer,” which is part of the comedy show, “Hecklines”, has a huge following online with each of the 18 episodes getting 70,000 to as much as 200,000 views. Its most recent video, the Gangnam Style parody, gained more than a million views on YouTube. “Bogart the Explorer” gains a lot of interest because it acquaints viewers with the unique Filipino culture that ranges from everyday Pinoy life like the infamous Metro Manila traffic, to how to get the best bargain at Quiapo, the famous shopping place; to the folklore mythical creature, ‘kapre’, or tree demon. About 200 episodes of TV5’s news commentary, “Word of the Lourd,” are also uploaded on YouTube, each getting as much as 200,000 views even if the show has a wide viewership on prime time TV. “Word of the Lourd” is hosted by Lourd de Veyra, a multi-awarded broadcast personality, musician, and emcee. Each episode tackles a national issue like the State of the Nation Address, the impeachment trial for former Chief Justice Renato Corona, and the floods from the monsoon rains earlier this year.
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