..“I honestly don’t know yet. It can go either way at this point because there are still many outstanding issues to be resolved.”
This is what GMA Chairman and CEO Felipe Gozon said regarding the network’s reported sale to TV5.
The network executive explained that he hasn’t met with TV5 owner Manny V. Pangilinan on the matter and that there are intermediaries and advisers at work instead.
“They approached us. They wanted to buy. We are not peddling our shares,” he added.
Gozon admitted that though that there was an aborted transaction and a memo of understanding was signed, “It didn’t happen for reasons not attributable to us. That was very early on when we weren’t number then. That’s why the price was so low.”
Deal or no deal however, GMA 7’s regional expansion plans are pushing through.
“It should not stop us from improving the chances of the company to make more money and anyone who will own the company and control it later will benefit from what we’re doing,” he explained.
Leading the regional expansion efforts are Ilocos and Bicol, where Gozon reported spending more than P200-M.
The GMA originating station in Ilocos airs the homegrown newscast “Balitang Ilokano”, which airs daily over GMA Ilocos from 5:10 to 5:50 p.m. The Bicol counterpart is “Baretang Bikol”, which starts airing daily, 5:10 to 5:50 p.m. starting Monday, Sept. 17.
Why Ilocos and Bicol?
The said regions’ improved economy, says Gozon, can no longer be ignored.
The expansion includes buildings, technical facilities, manpower, relay stations and others.
GMA VP for Regional TV Rikki Escudero believes the ultimate winner is the televiewer.
“For instance, our Cagayan de Oro satellite station captured the extreme flooding that happened there. We were able to report immediately, and I’d like to think this helped sa kamalayan ng mga tao sa buong bansa.”
She added that the network recognizes the power of social media and is beefing up its Facebook and Twitter sites. All the programs, she states, have social media links. More people, especially OFWs, Escudero added, can now watch local festivals through livestreaming.
GMA President and COO Gilberto Duavit Jr. explained that these regional events can be uplinked to live news events for increased viewership.
Recent disasters due to climate change have also made the network expand fund-raising efforts through its Kapuso Foundation. Gozon reports that the Foundation now serves Davao, Iloilo and Dagupan.