Viva Valerie!

Vincent (right) and Valerie del Rosario, Viva Entertainment President and Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President for Content Creations and Development, respectively.

The T-Zone could not help but comment during a siblings' interview with Vincent and Valerie del Rosario, Viva Entertainment President and Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President for Content Creations and Development, respectively; that time was when their legendary father, Vicente “Boss Vic” del Rosario kept passing on the press' questions to his eldest son and namesake as he groomed him to be next in line.

The ever amiable “Boss Vincent” used to writhe in embarrassment when people began referring to him as the younger Viva boss, much like younger sister Val vehemently shakes her head at being called “Boss Val” nowadays.

But such is the protocol and progression in the reigning first family of showbiz producers, trailblazers and enablers, who has never allowed any crisis — economic, natural or otherwise — get in the way of their commitment to keep churning original movies, shows, concerts and songs that are for and of the Filipino audience and sensibilities, over four decades and counting today.

Boss Vic is still the genius behind all the media conglomerate's advancements to be sure [he determinedly made Viva Max a booming reality even when his team wasn't fully prepared for the digitization for Filipinos to have entertainment through the pandemic], but it is his children nowadays who get his orders efficiently done on the ground and ASAP.

In the last so many years, the bulk of the work fell on Vincent's shoulders but at this intimate tete-a-tete this week, he was the proud brother introducing little sister Val as Viva's newly minted “content czar” moving forward for on-demand video apps Viva Max and specifically, its days' old spin-off, Viva Prime.

“Yung 'Deleter' ni Nadine Lustre [2022 MMFF's Best Picture and blockbuster hit], it was a tech-horror movie which we didn't know how market and proceed with but Valerie champion that. That's why with Viva Prime, yung imprimatur ni Val is more of the mindset ng kabataan, lalo na sa katulad namin na masyadong traditional. So I think yon yung exciting sa Viva Prime — yung magkaroon ng panibagong content offering na galing from us at magkaroon ng bagong perspective,” explained the ever self-effacing and respectful president and COO of Viva in reference to his sister's entry into the company.

But mind you, SVP for Content Creation Valerie hasn't taken on the critical post owing to succession alone. As her brother proudly announced, his sister is armed with many summer vacations' worth of valuable experience as a production assistant at Viva, from her employee days with ABS-CBN production after college, and finally, a film course from the University of Southern California to tie everything together “and learn how things are done there.”

Therefore, the family and the entire company have every confidence in the boss lady in leading them from the more traditional concepts of film development, production and management into the technology-driven and next-gen creative and leadership styles of the day.

Boss Val isn't smug about her qualifications, just like the rest of the del Rosarios [members of the third generation included] quietly in action behind the scenes of the multi-media empire. Neither is she going by way of false modesty in fulfilling her responsibilities, though, saying honestly, “The pressure [of the job] is manageable because you have the entire family behind you. Kuya's there always guiding and helping out, and dad — Boss Vic — is always there to watch over you if you're going the wrong way or taking the right direction. So in terms of pressure, I'd like to say it's steady but manageable.”

With this, what we — the six million and growing subscribers of Viva Max and the new Viva Prime — can expect of Valerie at the helm of content are originals better attuned to the times.

“I'd like to see a lot of more of — something like 'The Rain in Espana' [the popular Wattpad novel, which gathered 131 million reads, and currently being serialized by Marco Gallo and Heaven Peralejo on Viva Prime]. Yung pang youth. Falling in love, romance type of stories; while on Viva Max, like my brother would say, mga bagong action movies naman, which the industry hasn't done much of as of late.”

After happily designating himself as “stage brother” at the interview, Vincent nonetheless took the opportunity to clarify again why Viva decided to have two streaming apps at this junction.

According to Vincent, it isn't because Viva Max has been forced to embrace the misconception that it's has turned into a streaming app for sexy and risque movies as some say. Rather, the move is more focused on better curating and highlighting the vast collection of Viva movies and distribution rights that viewers still need to explore on Viva Max.

“When viewers say nasaan yung collection ng movies ni Sarah Geronimo, nandoon po yon dati pa sa Viva Max kaya lang natatabunan ng promo para sa mga sexy films na nagawa nung pandemic,” he explained. “As you know in the movie press, we had titles for sila Sarah, Anne Curtis, Bella Padilla at iba pang big stars ng Viva as early as the pandemic but scheduling and priorities got in the way of those.

“Si Anne took a year off [when she got pregnant and gave birth]… Si Sarah naman, imbes na gumawa ng movie, gumawa ng dalawang concerts, but OK rin naman dahil she wanted to focus on her music and, true enough, hanggang ngayon ipinu-promote niya yung album niya na bago, yung 'Dati-Dati.'

“Pero yung pelikula, iikot kami uli ngayon sa kanila para mag-pitch ng materials. But they're all raring to do movies again. Alam nila yung value and importance of cinema sa kanilang career and that dito sa'tin you're not a star unless you're a movie star.”

Beginning with Bella Padilla's new moving coming out next Wednesday, “Spellbound,” Viva Prime subscribers only need to count several weeks before they can watch Viva's cinema exhibitions on the app.

Given all these developments and with the del Rosarios and their loyal and talented team's unwavering commitment to keeping Filipinos entertained with originals with Filipino sensibilities, it looks like there can only be more good things to come in Viva's resolute transition to the ever-changing digital era. Best of all, in the process, this solid determination can only move to empower the local entertainment industry to remain creative, prolific and alive more than ever, thereby providing more dependable jobs for its countless stakeholders.

As I always like to say, let's support the Philippines' very own Netflix — times two now — that's way ahead of so many other countries.

Viva, Viva!

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