May 25, 2024

Krimsonandklover

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GMA’s Affordabox ‘selling like hot pandesal’

2 min read

Television giant GMA Network Inc.’s newly launched digital TV product is seeing a surge in sales while its main rival ABS-CBN remains shut from the airwaves by the Philippine government.

During the company’s annual meeting on Friday, GMA chair and CEO Felipe Gozon told shareholders its Affordabox was “selling like hot pandesal” although he did not provide any figures.

“We are overshooting our targets,” Gozon said on Friday. “Just this morning, I have a request to increase the number of boxes to be purchased.”

GMA said in a separate statement that it had initially planned to sell 600,000 Affordabox units, a plug-and-play device that connects to an analog TV set and allows it to receive digital broadcasts.

The shareholders’ meeting comes amid a major structural change in the media landscape.

ABS-CBN was denied last Friday a broadcast franchise by lawmakers, sealing GMA’s dominance in TV with an estimated market share of about 63 percent. Without its franchise, ABS-CBN has started the mass layoff of workers and the collapse of various business divisions across the country.

Asked by a shareholder about his views on ABS-CBN’s fate, Gozon said “I prefer not to comment.”

Broadcast giants like GMA derive most of their earnings from advertising on free-to-air TV. The shift to digital, howe­ver, is mandated by the Philippine government, which plans to shut down prevailing analog TV by 2023.

GMA’s Affordabox was in response to this policy. But it is a latecomer, having been launched late last month while ABS-CBN’s TVplus entered the market in 2015.

ABS-CBN said it had sold about nine million TVplus devices to date. Those devices can also capture GMA’s digital TV channels.

Gozon on Friday said they plan to launch three more digital TV channels, some within the year. The company has also priced the Affordabox at 40-percent less than the TVplus and with extra features such as video recording to lure buyers.

For regular TV, Gozon said they would gradually add more current content. Like other broadcasters, the company was forced to air reruns due to movement restrictions when strict lockdowns were imposed throughout the country to slow the spread of the new coronavirus disease.

GMA Network’s first quarter earnings fell 19 percent to P583.4 million while revenues hit P3.25 billion, down 7 percent. This was mainly due to the absence of political-related advertising boosted earnings last year. —Miguel R. Camus


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