GMA Network eyes diversification outside media space

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Broadcast giant GMA Network Inc. is exploring opportunities outside the media space similar to the steps being undertaken by its rival network, its chairman and CEO Felipe Gozon said.

“Yes, there are plans. We are looking,” Gozon said when asked if GMA has plans to diversify its business just like what ABS-CBN has been doing recently.

Gozon, however, declined to disclose yet the potential areas which the company is looking to venture into, saying that the opportunities are still under study.

“But we will do it slowly. We are not bold because we do not want to end up at a loss,” Gozon said.

GMA’s subsidiaries and affiliates are involved in media-related services such as movie making, sets and props construction, film syndication, music and video recording, new media, online gaming, post production services and marketing, which complement the company’s core television and radio broadcasting business.

Its rival network, ABS-CBN, is diversifying into new businesses outside the media space such as food and beverage, customer and merchant e-wallet services, and cosmetics production sectors.

ABS-CBN is also rapidly transitioning into an agile digital company with a growing list of digital properties.

GMA, for its part, is also undertaking its own digital transformation efforts.

Gozon said GMA’s digital device “which will have features which our competitors do not have” would be launched sometime in the second half of the year.

The network is in the final stretch of preparations for the launch of MyGMA Go, its mobile digital terrestrial television service that is targeted to revolutionize content consumption habits by combining digital TV viewing and the fun elements of mobile interactivity.

GMA will launch an affordable and compact end-user device that can act as a digital TV receiver when connected to an Android smartphone.

Complimentary to this device is a mobile application that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store from which users can watch GMA’s exclusive channels and other free-to-air channels without a need for an active internet connection. 

Gozon said the device would be distributed by PLDT.

“It will be exclusive with PLDT. We have a contract already, but the details are just being finalized. PLDT will handle distribution, while we will be in charge of the content and device,” he said.

The proprietary technologies that include hardware and software solutions for MyGMA Go have been patented with both the local and international Intellectual Property Organization, and manufacturing of the end-user devices from China will be done in the late second quarter.

Gozon said the company is initially targeting to sell one million units nationwide.

GMA and PLDT signed last January a technology, content, and distribution agreement that will involve the launch of game-changing innovations that will power the TV network’s digital transformation.

ABS-CBN, for its part, has sold seven million TVplus boxes since its launch in 2015 up to end February.

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