Filipino broadcast company GMA Network, Inc. (GMA) firms up its nationwide leadership with the recent launches of two additional originating stations in Luzon.
In June this year, the Company opened its originating station in Ilocos thru Channel 5 in Ilocos Norte and Channel 48 in Ilocos Sur, covering parts of Abra.
The Ilocos Station, an investment worth over P100 million, has competitive signal strength that services over 218,000 estimated television households.
In August, the Company launched another originating regional station in Bicol with capital expenditures worth over P100 million. GMA Bicol is now seen in the provinces of Camarines Sur and Albay and will soon be seen in Sorsogon, Masbate, and Catanduanes for a total estimated television households coverage of over 805,000.
The GMA Bicol originating station followed GMA Naga’s impressive bottom line performance as a satellite station since its launch in 2009. GMA Naga consistently delivered double-digit annual net income growth until its recent conversion to a full-blown originating station.
GMA Ilocos and GMA Bicol are increments to GMA’s four originating stations found in Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, and Dagupan, all revenue contributors since the start of regional operations in 2006 till present.
According to GMA Chairman and CEO lawyer Felipe L. Gozon, the establishment of additional regional stations affirms the Company’s aggressive stance in capturing the interest of Filipino viewers from different parts of the country. “We study and customize our response to the diverse programming needs of viewers from different parts of the country. The newly opened Ilocos and Bicol stations service the locals, who are used to using their respective dialects other than Filipino,” Gozon says.
GMA President and COO Gilberto R. Duavit, Jr. shares that both stations are technically capable of producing local programs and are equipped with microwave and satellite facilities. He also says that the stations are equipped with active news gathering systems capable of delivering news coverage within the originating or neighboring provinces that can be aired locally or nationwide.
“We are excited by the opportunity to share more of our programs, both national and soon, local, with our valued viewers in the Ilocos and Bicol regions and look forward to their making GMA a bigger part of their regular viewing time,” Duavit says.
These stations in strategic areas outside Mega Manila have been instrumental in increasing revenue for the network and in growing GMA’s overall viewership nationwide.
GMA’s sustained nationwide ratings supremacy that commenced in 2011 was mainly driven by strong weekday and weekend programming across all time blocks and ratings increments in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.
GMA’s localized programming content is now complemented by respective news and public affairs programs in the Ilocos and Bicol regions.
‘Balitang Ilokano,’ anchored by veteran broadcast journalist Jorge Guerrero, covers a broad range of topics from politics, religion, natural calamities, to regional festivals. The Ilokano-speaking newscast, which airs daily over GMA Ilocos from 5:10PM to 5:50PM, is fast-becoming a preferred information source in the North through good reviews from the online community and trade.
Meanwhile, ‘Baretang Bikol’ brings a local flavor to GMA’s brand of news delivery. Anchored by veteran journalist Elmer Caseles, the newscast will go on-air beginning September 17 from 5:10PM to 5:50PM.
Both newscasts have multi-link systems that make it possible to air live reports from Laoag to Vigan (for ‘Balitang Ilokano’), and from Legazpi to Naga (‘for Baretang Bikol’). The newscasts are manned by trained correspondents, and powered by state of the art broadcast equipment.