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Business

GMA Network profit doubles to P1B in 2003; 50% growth eyed this year

- Zinnia B. Dela Peña -
GMA Network Inc. reported a 162-percent growth in its net income last year to P1.05 billion from only P402 million the previous year, driven by the success of new shows and higher advertising revenues, a top company executive said.

Felipe Yalong, GMA Network senior vice-president for corporate services, said the network continues to edge main rival ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. in terms of net income, despite having fewer sources of revenues.

GMA, the operator of flagship VHF TV station Channel 7, said its revenues grew 48 percent to P6.24 billion from P4.23 billion. Operating expenses, however, went up 25 percent due to higher production costs and talent fees as the network improved its programming through the introduction of more innovative shows. The company also allocated higher budget for last year’s existing programs to keep up with competition.

GMA-7 added it paid P500 million in income taxes or 1.5 times higher than what it remitted in 2002. This is on top of the P492- million value-added tax (VAT) that the company has already paid the government.

The network’s reported figures for 2003, however, may still vary depending on the adjustments that may result from the on-going closing of the books of accounts.

Yalong said GMA-7 is eyeing a 50-percent increase in its net income this year as it expects higher revenues from its TV and radio operations as well as its international channel, which will be launched in the coming months.

The network is now in discussions with a foreign cable operator to jumpstart its planned international expansion in North America.

GMA-7 will also re-open its UHF channel and will produce two to three movies this year.

The company will likewise continue to upgrade its production facilities to further broaden its presence nationwide. GMA-7 is particularly keen on expanding its services to Davao, Iloilo, Cebu and other key strategic areas.

These expansion initiatives are in preparation for the network’s initial public offering and in line with efforts to compete head-on with ABS-CBN.

GMA-7 has a network of 45 VHF and two affiliate stations nationwide, and can be seen in a number of households in Asia, Australia and Hawaii via satellite. It can also be heard on the airwaves through dzBB-AM and dwLS-FM in Manila; dySS-AM and dyRT-FM in Cebu; and in 27 RGMA radio stations throughout the country.

AUSTRALIA AND HAWAII

BROADCASTING CORP

CEBU

DAVAO

FELIPE YALONG

GMA

ILOILO

NETWORK

NETWORK INC

NORTH AMERICA

YALONG

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