GMA readies digital TV rollout

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Broadcast firm GMA Network Inc. is set to fully roll out its digital television next month which is expected to be cheaper and will offer more features than its rival ABS-CBN Corp.

GMA chairman and chief executive officer Felipe Gozon said the company would  soon ink a partnership with a telecommunications company that would serve as the distributor of an initial one million units.

Gozon, however, did not disclose whether the joint venture would be with Ayala-led Globe Telecom or the Pangilinan-led Smart Communications Inc.

“They will be the one to distribute. They have the dealership all over the Philippines and I think they are the biggest,” Gozon told reporters on the sidelines of the company’s annual stockholders meeting.

GMA allotted about P700 million for the project.

While ABS-CBN is using the black box for its digital TV service, GMA will make use of a smaller version with the size similar to a remote control or portable wifi.

“It is now being manufactured in China. Our patented digital TV devices will have functions that our competitors cannot offer. This will improve our content which can be accessed through all available platforms,” Gozon said.

Last December, GMA started the first phase of its digital TV which covered Metro Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal, Bataan, Nueva Ecija and Tarlac.

Its digital TV signal will be available in other key areas in Luzon and Visayas by the end of the month, and in parts of Mindanao by June.

Gozon is confident the company will post a better bottomline this year from P2.55 billion in 2017.

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