GMA sets aside P204-M for capex

- Zinnia B. Dela Peña -
Seeking to sustain the upward trend in its ratings, GMA Network Inc. has earmarked P204 million for its capital expenditures this year to improve its programming and refurbish its existing facilities to better serve the viewing public.

Felipe S. Yalong, senior vice-president of the Corporate Services Group at GMA, said the TV network intends to introduce more innovative and high-quality programs and develop a regional station to further broaden its presence nationwide.

Yalong said the company has already strengthened its presence in Davao and is looking into further expanding its services to other provinces to increase its audience share.

For the first quarter this year, GMA has an audience share of 36 percent while its chief rival station ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. holds 39 percent.

He said funding will be sourced from internally-generated funds. The company has an available credit line of P1.085 billion.

Ronaldo Mastrilis, GMA vice-president for finance, reported that the company is slowly but surely gaining momentum in the network competition as reflected in the network’s financial performance for the first quarter this year.

From a net loss of P600,000 in the first quarter last year, GMA registered a net income of P164 million, thanks to higher advertising revenues. Gross airtime revenues grew by 65 percent from P722 million to P1.19 billion while net airtime revenues jumped 69 percent to P993 million.

Mastrilis said the company’s P164-million net income is still better than the P107 million profit reported by ABS-CBN during the same period.

Revenues increased mainly as a result of GMA’s surge in the ratings game where it was now neck-and-neck with ABC-CBN in the morning (6 a.m. to 12 noon) and afternoon (12noon to 6 pm) timeslots while making some headway in the much-coveted primetime slot (6 p.m.-12 midnight).

Operating income surged by 297 percent to P284 million from P72 million while EBITDA amounted to P397 million or 87 percent higher than the year ago figure.

Operating expenses, on the other hand, increased by 35 percent from P481 million in the first quarter, largely due to the increase in production costs which went up by 71 percent and the 37 percent increase in personnel costs as the company went into production of new programs that have high production values and hired additional personnel.

Total liabilities declined by nine percent to P2.79 billion as against total assets of P6.53 billion or five percent higher than the previous level of P6.24 billion.

GMA, the top station until the People Power Edsa Revolution in 1986, is studying the feasibility of going public next year or as soon as the market improves to further beef up its programming.

It is hoping to topple industry leader ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. from the top spot by producing big budget high-quality soap operas and programs and by continuing to offer lower primetime advertising rates.

The network said it has been successful in attracting more advertisements as corporations have jacked up their commitments by up to 70 percent from last year.











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