The Artista Path: Starstruck vs. PBB (A Quantitative Comparison)

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Starstruck and Pinoy Big Brother have proven to be artista-making machines for the last ten or so years. There’s a good chance that the talents you’re currently watching on local primetime TV had their start in either one of these shows. Both shows returned last year, so I wanted to figure out which of the two programs is better in producing talent. Going in, I instinctively thought that PBB was better since they produced primetime talents such as Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson, Robi Domingo, et al. But on the other hand, Starstruck also produced the likes of  Jennylyn Mercado, Cristine Reyes and Paulo Avelino. So maybe there’s more stuff to dig through.

Like any person who likes to “overanalyze” things and have tons of time in their hands, I decided to delve deeper to put my “overanalyzing” mind to rest. So I searched for all the finalists of all the concluded seasons of Starstruck and PBB to check who had a TV, movie, theater or music opportunity in 2015. This assumes that my definition of a “successful product” would be a talent that continues to have an artist career in the entertainment industry (i.e. Starstruck winner Steven Silva had his stage debut while PBB alum Jessica Connelly released an EP  with Filipino producer CRWN December last year)

Disclaimer: Yes, my data came from Wikipedia again. Yes, it’s not the most credible source to get from but it’s the most complete by far. IMDB isn’t different because it’s also user-contributed data (and incomplete). Talent center websites such as the ABS-CBN talent center site is incomplete and not updated. I’d appreciate it if you can direct me to a better source!

THE BASIC STUFF

Basic Data
Table 1.1                                                                                            as of Dec. 17, 2015                                                                     Icons used came from freepik via http://www.flaticon.com

Let’s start with the groundwork first. Although Starstruck started two years earlier, Pinoy Big Brother, has accomplished twice the number of seasons and has went through more than twice the contestants (90 vs. 239). The number of seasons and all can be attributed to the nature of the two shows. Starstruck is a flat-out talent search. Which meant that you need to have the talent and/or potential to even be considered in the show. On the other hand, PBB is a reality TV show about forcing 12+ random people to coexist in one house. As what I’ve discussed in my previous write-up, having talent can raise your chances of becoming a Big Winner, but it’s not a strong requirement to be a housemate. That’s why thousands upon thousands of people audition for PBB, all you need is an identity and a backstory.

So based on this data, what percent of these alums are still active?

ACTIVE ALUMS

 

Current Active Alums
Table 2.1

 

It seems that roughly half of the contestants who came from Starstruck had entertainment opportunities last year! That’s roughly a +30% compared to PBB alums. This goes back to the amount of people coming in the PBB house and not have the talent and staying power to stick in the entertainment industry. And if you look at the spread of alums who are still active, Starstruck has a better spread. This just meant that as long as you get into the final 14 of Starstruck, there’s a big chance that you’ll have an active entertainment career. If you check PBB’s on the other hand, you need to fight through and reach the Big 4 to get a respectable chance to have a steady entertainment career.

What we can get here: Starstruck would have more requirements than PBB but would give you a significantly better chance to have a place in the entertainment industry. On the other hand, it’s easier to be an housemate though it would be more difficult to have a place in the industry.

Next up, a deep-dive on the type of TV and Movie opportunities alums received this previous year.

TV/Movie Opportunities in 2015

Total Opportunities Data resized
Table 3.1

In terms of sheer amount of opportunities, Starstruck alums received twenty-six more opportunities than PBB alums. If divided to all the current alums, a Starstruck alum would get ONE more opportunity than a PBB alum (3.44 vs. 2.40). If you just count the number of opportunities given to Starstruck alums, Arci Munoz and Miguel Tanfelix led the segment with 7 opportunities. 2015 was a big year for Arci, having a lead spot in Pasion de Amor and a special participation role in A Second Chance. And these are just her TV and Movie opportunities. Data excludes her endorsements like being the Ginebra Calendar Girl for 2016.

However, not all opportunities are created equal. Some opportunities have more weight than others. Going back to the Arci Munoz example, being a lead in a teleserye weighs more than just having a special part in a movie. So I added weights to each opportunity to have a clearer picture. In the spirit of full disclosure here are the weights that I used:

Weights
Table 3.2

With this table as your guide, we can see that even in terms of quality, Starstruck alums receive better opportunities than PBB alums. With a 2.4 weighted opportunity advantage, they might have received an additional opportunity in an anthology series or a guest appearance.

And when you factor in the quality of opportunities, Jennylyn Mercado of Starstruck had the best opportunities, be it from Starstruck or PBB alums with 25 pts. She did star in two films (The Prenup and #Walang Forever) plus lead roles in two teleseryes (Second Chances and My Faithful Husband).

In the side of PBB, Melai Cantiveros was one of the contestants in season 1 and a had co-host role in season 2 of Your Face Sounds Familiar. Though low profile, PBB All-in 2nd Big Placer Maris Racal had a prolific year as a supporting actress in teleseryes (Ningning, Oh My G!) and movies (The Breakup Playlist, Halik Sa Hangin).

What we can get here: Overall, Starstruck alums are given better opportunities in terms of quality and quantity. A possible reason for relatively lower opportunities for PBB alums is that PBB’s parent channel, ABS-CBN, actively get talent from other programs. ABS-CBN is known to still produce talent via Star Magic (top of mind, Julia Barretto and Janella Salvador) and through their Goin’ Bulilit graduates (top of mind, Kathryn Bernardo and Julia Montes). In other words, PBB alums have to compete with more talent compared to Starstruck alums. And aside from the really established PBB alums like Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson, most PBB alums are more often given supporting roles or special participation opportunities. Prime example, PBB 737 Teen Big Winner Jimboy Martin is part of It’s Showtime‘s Hashtags dance group along with other PBB 737 alums, Zeus Collins and Jameson Blake.

How about we further dive into these TV opportunities? So we know where the alums get their opportunities

Total TV Opportunity Data
Table 3.3

We can see here in Table 3.3 that overall, Starstruck alums are given more TV opportunities than PBB alums (119 TV opps vs. 86 TV opps). If you go through the opportunities based on quality in 2015, we can see that PBB alums were given equal opportunities to be cast as a lead, support, extended et al.  But if you compare it to Starstruck, alums were given more opportunities as lead or part of the supporting cast. Hell, they had been cast significantly across different roles more than PBB alums. This confirms my guess that there’s just too many people to compete with in roles.

How about in movies?

Total Movie Opportunity Data
Table 3.4

In terms of movies, PBB alums were given significantly more movie opportunities in 2015 than Starstruck alums. However, you can see here that not a lot of alums from both TV shows are given movie opportunities as much as TV opportunities.

What we can get here: Starstruck alums are given more chances for big roles on TV compared to PBB alums. But in terms of movies, PBB alums have more opportunities than Starstruck alums. I guess an additional reason for more opportunities for Starstruck overall is that Starstruck alums are honed better than PBB alums. Again, Starstruck is an artista search. The show revolved around their training to become artists. On the other hand, after getting out of the PBB house, PBB alums still need to have a crash course in acting (most still go through the Star Magic Talent Program) to hone their talent.

With this slightly uneven opportunities, you’d think PBB alums, would leave ABS-CBN to look for better opportunities. Let’s check the channel movement of these alums

ALUM MOVEMENT

Alum Movement Data
Table 4.1

Interestingly, it seems that PBB alums are more loyal to ABS-CBN compared to Starstruck alums. A big chunk of Starstruck alums have left GMA to look for greener pastures. The likes of Arci Munoz and Paulo Avelino, arguably received better opportunities after leaving GMA. And this is the thing that puzzles me with the data. Why would Starstruck alums leave GMA even though they’re given better opportunities compared to ABS-CBN? I have two wild guesses, but these aren’t supported by any data:

  1. Better Working Conditions? Last 2014 to 2015, talents protested for unfair contract practices against GMA. These talents weren’t actors per se, but this gave a glimpse of how things work in GMA. Maybe GMA talents in general are paid less? I’m not sure. Again this is a wild guess.
  2. More Pirate-able: since they’re produced better, Starstruck alums have better value hence better demand from TV5 and ABS-CBN. If you’re in the shoes of a TV5 or ABS talent executive, would you want to risk a contract to an unproven talent that still needs to be taught how to act or an already honed but underutilized talent like a Paulo Avelino or a Cristine Reyes?

What we can get here: Based on my guesses above, people who go through the Starstruck program as talents, have more value than PBB alums since they are more pirate-able.


 

From all that I’ve discussed so far, it seems that my initial guess was wrong. Haha Starstruck alums seem to have steadier and better opportunities compared to PBB alums. Of course this assumes that you want to be an artista because acting is your passion. But what about if we check the popularity of Starstruck vs. PBB alums? Maybe you want to be an artista because you just really want to be famous? So I tried to measure this by checking the social media pages of these alums to check their following in the internet.

Do note that these figures are as of Dec 17, 2015. These stats may have changed over the Christmas break.

SOCIAL MEDIA DATA

Social Media Data
Table 5.1

It seems that PBB alums are clearly followed more on social media compared to Starstruck alums. And by my definition, it seems that PBB alums are more popular (in social media) compared to Starstruck alums. BUT interestingly, Starstruck alums are significantly more active in social media, tweeting and posting pictures compared to PBB alums. We can also get from here is that social media activity of an alum does not equate to a better following. I would guess that external factors like awareness and exposure in media drive the following rather than activity.

Another interesting point here, the top alums that tweet do not necessarily mean the most followed. For example, Enzo Pineda is second in most tweets (26,900 tweets) among the Starstruck alums even though he has 583,000 Twitter followers. Compare those figures to Paulo Avelino who is followed by 1.28M people but has only tweeted 5.6K times. Or in the PBB alums side, PBB 737 evictee Fifth Solomon has tweeted 33K times to his 78.2K followers compared to Sam Milby who is followed by 3.7M people on Twitter but has only tweeted 4.7K times.

CONCLUSION:

So if we go back to my earlier question, it seems that the answer isn’t really clear cut. It depends on your reason in joining these shows. Starstruck isn’t as highly-viewed as PBB but if you want a steadier flow of opportunities as an artist, joining Starstruck would be the better option. But be prepared coming in since it sauditions would be more stringent than PBB.

If you want to be an artista because you want the fame, you might want to choose PBB. By the nature of the show, you are literally exposed to the public 24/7. More exposure can mean more popularity for you. But be warned, than after PBB you would need to heavily compete for better breaks in your career if you ever decide to stay in ABS-CBN (most especially when you don’t get in the Big 4).

In the end, there’s no easy way to get fame and/or fortune. You need to exert the effort and show the desire to hone your skills. And like anything in life, you need to work your freaking ass off.

 

 

(P.S. shoutout to my quant consultant! You know who you are! I won’t mention your name in case there’s something wrong with the data!)

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The Artista Path: Starstruck vs. PBB (A Quantitative Comparison)

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